There are many reasons why an open-plan living room design might suit a particular home. It might be to create an open environment conducive to connecting and socialising with all the family. It could be the ease of keeping an eye on little ones playing or watching TV while you cook, or even creating additional light in an area by tearing down walls.
Once you’ve got the open space, how do you make the most of it? VISHA NELSON from The Cinnamon Room gives us her list of do’s and don’ts for living room layouts, which she adheres to when working with clients’ homes. Her experience at transforming a wide-open space into a cosy home environment has given her great insight. Here she talks tips to help guide you through the process.
Don’t shove everything against the walls. This is the instinct in a traditional living room layout, and it often works very well, but in an open plan, it can make things look sparse, temporary and ungrounded. Provide structure by creating focal points based upon the functionality of each space. Area rugs are perfect for this in defining areas! With all that space, move your furniture away from the walls to create a natural flow around functional spaces and create a more intimate feeling in your space.
Do anchor any floating furniture with a rug. You can plan a space perfectly, but without a rug to provide a “home base”, you’ll always be wondering whether you should move things around. Large pieces, like the sofa and the dining table, can look adrift without a rug to serve as an anchor.
Don’t forget to vary the lighting. If you stick with the standard overhead lighting, you’ll be missing the cosy vibe that lower light sources can provide. Floor and table lamps work well, but bringing in ambient lighting like tealights and lanterns does wonders to add visual interest and a feeling of intimacy and warmth so often missing in a large open-plan space.
Do create zones. With an open plan living room design, you need to think about how different areas will be used and then lay them out for success. Again, a well-placed carpet will create both boundaries and pockets of space. A round rug can create a small reading or conversation nook, while the more commonly found rectangle rug will frame a living or dining area well.
Don’t be afraid of colour. If you’ve been eyeing a vibrant piece of furniture then go for it! A statement piece can work double-duty to give unique character to a zone while also providing an opportunity to bring in some accent pieces in complementary shades. Simply balance it with neutral tones in the carpets, and then tie it all together with some art or accessories. Likewise, if you fall in love with a colourful rug, pair it with a neutral sofa and choose some accent cushions to bridge the colour families.
Do bring in layers and textures. This is especially for those neutral lovers out there. An all-neutral colour scheme can be wonderfully zen, but it falls flat when you forget to layer and contrast. A variety of textures, materials and shades will give your home so much richness and depth. Our rugs in leather, jute or cotton are a great place to start: their interesting textures added to our signature features such as geometrics and metallics will give your neutral design scheme a unique look. Remember, neutral does not need to be dull!
Don’t match your carpet to your floor. You’d be surprised how often this happens by accident! Contrast is the key to an effective floor treatment. You want to see that beautiful rug, don’t you? If you’re sticking with neutrals, ensure the rug sufficiently contrasts with the floor when choosing a floor treatment.
Do remember it’s not an exact science. Use these tips to guide you but choose what you love and find what feels right for your living room layout. We’re always here to help at The Cinnamon Room, so give us a call to discuss any decorating dilemmas you might be facing and we will be more than happy to assist you in achieving a home you’ll love being in always!
This article first appeared in the May 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!