Tuesday Aug 11th, 2020


Hey all you open concept floor-plan fans...this one's for you! 

There's a lot to love about open-living layouts. But they can definitely be tricky to decorate! Whether you're building or remodelling, chances are an open concept layout is on your wish-list. I understand the appeal...living & dining areas feel relaxed and contemporary while making smart use of space and light. However, with no defined borders (or zones) and an unobstructed view through the entire room, open-plan spaces can be very tricky to decorate. Designers seem to agree the following 3 mistakes are commonly made by people when decorating an open concept space. Hopfully these quick tips & solutions will help you avoid them in your open concept home.

Problem #1. No Boundaries in the Open Space 

To be functional & visually appealing, an open concept space needs to be zoned into separate spaces, while still having a sense of visual continuity among the zones.  

Solution: A simple way to define individual area is to begin by placing the sofa across the room to split it in half. Adding an area rug under the sofa and a floor lamp or tables beside the sofa will continue to define the living zone. Next, you can create continuity among the kitchen, living and dining spaces by using the same flooring throughout the entire space. Don't be tempted to tile the kitchen floor!

Tip: Add interest to your open concept scheme by incorporating vertical layers. Several designers agree the best way to do this is to create different layers of height by using potted plants, pendant lights & floor lamps..

Problem #2. Too Many Different Styles

Mismatched furniture and decorative accessories can overcomplicate an open concept space making it look too busy. Different decor elements that you use in an open-plan space must "speak" to one another as though they are from the same family, without feeling forced or too matchy-matchy. 

Solution: Choose a style that you love that will work throughout the open concept space. Select furniture & accessories that vary in colour and material & texture, yet still compliment one another visually. Different shades of the same colour and use of various textures will help achieve the cohesiveness the entire space requires.

Tip: Open concept spaces tend to be noisier than closed-off rooms. Add softening elements such as rugs, curtains & throws to help reduce noise levels.

Problem #3: Poor Furniture Placement

Badly positioned furniture is a huge common mistake that many people make in open concept spaces. The issue comes down to decorating principles. Many designers agree that the rules are different when decorating an open-floor plan space versus decorating a closed-off room.

Typically, a sofa or storage unit would be pushed up against a wall to maximize floor space. However, doing so in an open concept space can make things feel cold and sparse - kind of like a wide open sea.

Solution: Be open-minded about the placement of your sofa as it's usually the main piece of furniture in the living zone. Try one of the following furniture placement suggestions:

  • put the sofa in a spot where there are no walls behind it, like the middle of the room, which will help define zones within the space
  • consider having two sofas opposite one another rather than just one
  • consider having one sofa with one or two armchairs rather than a traditional 3-piece setting 

Tip: If you're buying a new sofa, consider one with a low back that will allow for a clear sightline through the space and be sure it's the right size for the room(!) If you're using existing furniture, use only essential pieces so things don't feel cluttered. If the space is tight, consider swapping out a large coffee table with a smaller one that has a glass top. Lastly, if the space is super tight, consider replacing the coffee table with compact glass side tables that won't dominate the space, but can be pulled out in a pinch (to double as a coffee table if need be) once company arrives.

I hope you found this information useful and inspiring in terms of making the best of your open concept space!


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