This article appeared in the January 2022 New Homes and Ideas Magazine
By Laura Koshel, LK Design
Photos by Catherine Nguyen
It was very interesting to watch how home designs and interior design trends changed during the pandemic. After spending more time working or studying from home, many homeowners realized that some of the spaces in their homes needed to be more flexible. By now, most of us have adapted a home office or at least a work area in their home.
New construction is catching up fast to our new lifestyle. At the recent Parade of Homes, a few interesting trends emerged. In some cases, offices are being created instead of formal dining areas. Breakfast areas are being enlarged to create space for a larger dining set to accommodate family gatherings.
Needless to say, the formal living room is all but gone from new construction. If you have a formal living space in your home that is not utilized, you may consider closing it off with a set of doors or a sliding door to create a much-needed office or study space.
A few other new trends that have appeared during the pandemic are more dividing walls, additional doors, and built-in offices in bedrooms. More value is being placed on functional outdoor spaces for gathering and entertaining safely with friends and extended family.
However, the open floor concept plan is still a predominant layout in most new homes.
Our clients often report feeling “stuck” when it comes to decorating their large, open spaces. They may have their furnishings and decor items already selected, but are challenged with “Where to start?” Deciding how to arrange everything in a large, open floor plan can be overwhelming. How do you unify everything? In what way is each space going to be used? And how do you make everything flow, feel welcoming, and even cozy? So many questions!
If you are contemplating how to design your open floor plan, the following tips can help you get started:
Consider the overall layout of your space
- Identify zones, such as eating areas, seating areas, and traffic flow. Traffic areas are important to keep in mind since they will help create and set the boundaries of each zone and determine what size furnishings and floor coverings you need. Four feet is a good width for most major traffic paths in the home.
- Other important architectural obstructions to account for are door swing directions and door clearances (when doors are open). For example, a rug may get caught under an open door, so it’s best to measure everything beforehand.
- Once the zones in your home are defined, you can consider incorporating area rugs. They can serve as an anchor to unite all the different areas.
- Now, you should have a fairly good idea where to place all of your major furniture pieces. For your seating area, would one sofa and two chairs grouped together work, or would a sectional be a better solution for your family?
- Group your sofa and chairs together so that they face each other to make the area feel more inviting and intimate for your guests.
To define the family area in the image below, we used an upholstered sofa and two chairs, a textured rug, and a beautiful round wood table.
Think about the overall style, color palette, and finishes
You may want to approach your open floor plan as one cohesive story: Do you prefer your space to be monochromatic or do you prefer a selection of neutrals with splashes of color here and there? What is the style you are going for? Keep in mind that many styles can be blended nicely so you don’t have to strictly adhere to just one.
When decorating an open-concept space, it is important to remain consistent with colors and finishes. Your color scheme should unite all the spaces, and you can achieve that by using the same or complementary color of paint(s) throughout your space. Make sure the styles of furniture and wood finishes you choose are complementary.
- Use an accent color in your accessories, throw pillows and rugs.
- Think about incorporating various textures throughout the space, for example: braided rugs, woven rope chair seats, wood detailing on the furniture, and textures on ceramics.
- Let’s not forget your finishes as well. Floors, kitchen cabinets, backsplash and countertops are called hard surfaces. They have a lot of visual volume and need to be considered when you think of wood, metal, and other finishes for your furnishings. Will it create an organic blend of finishes or a contrasting one?
The lighting layer
Lighting is often left for last or overlooked completely, but it can be particularly important for everyday tasks.
Once you’ve decided on the large furniture placement, it is easy to decide where side tables and lamps will go. Dimmers are a great addition for lighting since they help you control light intensity throughout the day in various areas.
It might be a good idea to have outlets added to your floor if they aren’t already. That’s especially relevant for an open-concept space because the walls are usually further away from the furniture. The floor outlets help you avoid having to use (and hide) long extension cords.
Mixing metal finishes in your space
Interior Designers hear this question a lot, “How will the finish of our light fixtures work with the hardware of the cabinets and doors?”
While this topic deserves its own article, you can choose to select one main metal finish and complement it with others in smaller quantities. Just like paint colors and wood stains, metals can have warm or cool undertones, so make sure they don’t clash.
Think about the foyer
Entryway decor is sometimes overlooked and your overall décor theme should be carried into this space as well. Hang up a classic round mirror above a simple console table. Then layer accessories like vases, a lamp, and a few books.
- Use fresh flowers to add ambiance and brighten up the area (and to delight your guests!)
- Incorporate your favorite photos
Don’t forget your outdoor living spaces
You can carry your overall theme into the adjoining outdoor spaces. For example, if you have a screened porch or patio area, it should reflect the style and feel of the indoor spaces by using similar colors and patterns.
Hopefully, these tips help you to achieve a living space in your home that is both functional and stylish. Will the open floor plan become a casualty of the pandemic? Only time will tell. But we are sure it’s not going out of style because people have always loved spending time together in one big space, and that’s not changing!
At LK Design, we take the overwhelm out of the interior design process. We will help you create a beautiful home that you can be proud of and that fits your needs as well as your lifestyle. We proudly serve the Triangle area. To find out more and to book a free call*, visit www.lkdesign.net, call (919) 389-6444 or email la[email protected]. Scan QR code to follow LK Design on Instagram.
*Editor’s Note: In the Winter 2022 Issue of New Homes & Ideas magazine, it was incorrectly stated that the LK Design consultation is free. The initial phone call is free. There is a charge for an in-home consultation as this is a detailed and in-depth appointment.