Is it time to close the door on open plan living?

Around a decade ago, open plan homes were all any interior designer could talk about. Home buyers became more interested in buying open plan homes and homeowners frequently refurbished their homes to make them more open, knocking down many walls in the process.

Open plan living is no longer a new thing, but that doesn’t mean that it’s unfashionable or unpopular. It became a staple of interior architecture, and something that caused a shift in the past few years in homes across the world, in all kinds of sizes and budgets.

But now that movement is changing again, and plenty of homeowners and designers are wondering if open plan is the lifestyle haven we had all imagined, or if closed plan is actually the way to go.

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The premise of open plan living is to have very few dividing walls between rooms. You’re removing what would traditionally be rooms and turning those into areas of a larger room. What this gives you is a room that flows better, improves channels of communication, and removes restrictions on your lifestyle – it allows individuals, families, and couples to let themselves dictate the atmosphere in the home and not be boxed in by walls and certain rooms.

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Design wise, you can have a lot of fun with open plan. Essentially you’re only decorating one room, but you’ll have areas within that you might want to keep separate by using different colours or textures. This could to keep your dining space away from your living area, but without any formal structure. Open plan design provides a much more informal style of living.

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One of the criticisms of open plan living is that it can look sparse. If this is your particular worry or challenge, add more texture and shape where you can. Adding small but brighter features such as door handles or hinges can be quirky, interesting and light reflecting without being detrimental to your smooth minimalism. Have a look at our choice of interior and exterior door handles for inspiration.

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With closed plan homes, the argument against them was that you’re constantly boxed in and your lifestyle is restricted by traditional values of living. But right now there’s a renaissance for more formality in the home. People understand that there is hard work involved in any lifestyle, and that it’s okay to reserve a space in your home for working and a space for relaxing. Understandably, we’re all humans and sometimes we all need some space. Whether that’s total privacy or just a quiet space to unwind alone, open plan can’t always provide that, which is important to both couples and families. If you’re working or studying, could you cope with the distractions of other people entertaining and cooking in the same room? It’s different from family to family.

Our verdict? Do what’s best for you. There is plenty of room for open and closed plan homes, and everything in between. As long as you have fun with it and it works for your lifestyle, you can’t get it wrong.

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