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60 secrets to making open-plan work for everyone




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Once you’ve decided on a layout that works for you and your lifestyle, it’s time to think about zones and furnishings. It might sound obvious, but visualise the space as a series of rooms. Imagine where walls would be located and use this as a basis for furniture arrangement and zoning. Assign each space with a purpose, in order to maximise every inch of interior space.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


If you want to create carefully defined living areas within a free-flowing space, don’t be afraid to give different functional zones radically different personalities. In this contrasting scheme, the kitchen features moody grey plaster-effect walls, dark wood furnishings and coordinating appliances. Meanwhile, the adjacent lounge offers a completely different ambience with its bright white walls, light pine shelving and colourful statement furniture.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Use furniture to zone off an airy open-plan space in need of structure. This modern living area is divided into thirds thanks to carefully arranged fixtures – the breakfast bar separates the kitchen and dining zones, while the sofa creates an intimate seating nook that’s distanced from the busy culinary space.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


If you prefer modern open-plan living spaces with no walls or room dividers, there are other ways you can create a subtle distinction between functional areas. In this light-filled multiuse room, the sleek kitchen and dining area sit at floor level, while the floor has been lowered to create a cosy sunken TV area – a modern take on a mid-century conversation pit.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


An open-plan room is often a busy space with lots of foot traffic. Keep floors and walkthroughs clear by choosing slimline sideboards and fixing the TV onto the wall. As audiovisual technology moves on, television sets are getting thinner and lighter so they are much easier to mount. Narrow, unobtrusive furnishings are a particularly good idea if you have young children around.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


If you’re extending your home or knocking down or repositioning walls to create a whole new open-plan space, think about making it L-shaped. It’s easier to break a room up if it isn’t a standard square or rectangle shape. An L-shaped room will allow you to create a hidden eating or sitting space in a corner – this layout tucks the kitchen neatly away when required.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


A clever way to create temporary walls, curtains are affordable and very easy to install. Add a curtain track to the area of the room you’d like to screen off and hang made-to-measure curtains or voiles to get the right floor-to-ceiling length. If the zone is in the middle of the room, choose a double-sided design that looks good from both sides.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


When planning your space, think about creating a scheme that complements your lifestyle. This plain rectangular room has been transformed into an inviting hub that’s perfect for family life. Two sofas are socially positioned in an L-shape, while wall-hung storage will keep a busy space organised from day to day.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


When your kitchen is part of a larger living space, it’s regularly on show to visitors. It’s not ideal if guests can see your socks spinning around in your washing machine, and you don’t want your white goods to make such a din that you can’t hear the TV, either. Go for integrated machines that can be hidden behind cupboard doors and buy the quietest possible models. Integrated fridges, freezers and dishwashers will also make your kitchen look sleeker.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The great thing about an open-plan space is that it can be easily rearranged to set a whole new scene as and when you need. If you want your room to be really versatile, invest in furniture with wheels. This coffee table, for example, can be easily pushed against the wall within seconds. It’s also possible to purchase sofas, dining tables, bookshelves and even island units that are on castors.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The beauty of an open-plan living area is that it allows you to watch over young children playing and older kids doing homework, while you kick back and relax or get on with other tasks. Consider including a playmat, study desk or even a games zone in your layout. To avoid the space being completely taken over by toys and tech, invest in boxes or baskets that can be tucked away out of sight.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


It’s wonderful to be able to cook and entertain simultaneously and an open-plan space allows you to do that with ease. What you don’t want though is for the whole room to smell of whatever you’re cooking, so it’s important to equip your kitchen with a high-powered extractor to whisk all those odours away.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


If you have the same flooring throughout, rugs are a cheap and easy way to help zone your areas. As a guide, the rug should be no wider or narrower than the furniture that’s placed on it. Always make sure there is a small border of flooring visible at the edges, which will create the illusion of more space too.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


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