Broken plan living makes imaginative use of the limited space we have available in our homes, creating dedicated space for different activities but retaining a sense of openness and flow so that we can have time alone yet still be together.
Now we are spending much more time at home with our families, it’s more important than ever to create a sense of separation within our open plan living spaces. A broken plan layout could offer the practicality and privacy we will need for life after lockdown, with a thoughtful sub-division of space to provide areas designed for different activities.
The theory sounds great, but you may be asking yourself how you can achieve the broken plan look in your home. We recommend starting out with a list of activities that currently take place in your living area, such as working or studying, cooking and eating, exercising, playing and socialising.
Draw a plan of your room and consider where space could be allocated for each activity and how you can define each zone. For example you may wish to use a fireside niche as a quiet zone or place sofas facing the garden so that you can relax whilst watching the children play.
Your home may have different floor levels such as a step down into the kitchen which might suggest the ideal place to introduce a division with a half wall or glass balustrade. Alternatively, you can create visual separation with modular furniture or semi-permanent partitions.
Using different floor finishes is a simple way to create definition and add interest and texture without blocking light or views. For example, you could choose your favourite floor design and then lay this in different laying patterns. Perhaps you might select a wood design plank in a straight pattern in one area, then contrast with another zone by turning the laying direction by 45o or using a smaller tile in a herringbone pattern. Alternatively, you could combine the main flooring with a contrasting geometric tile design in a key zone such as the kitchen area.
Let light flow
A convenient compromise between open plan and small separate rooms, broken plan living allows you to maximise the natural light in your home, connecting you to the outside world and all the wellbeing benefits of sunshine and nature.
Screening such as open shelving, half walls or glass screen doors are ideal for dividing up an open plan space as these will let light flow into the centre of the room. For darker days and long winter evenings, don’t forget to plan enough light fittings to ensure you have sufficient general ambient and task lighting for each activity zone.
Add interest with colour
A neutral colour scheme will help you create an elegant and cohesive look across your broken plan living area, but it’s also a good idea to introduce different design elements to give each activity zone its own sense of individuality.
Choosing a colour scheme with one main neutral shade and a number of contrasting accent shades will help add interest and personality. Colour is known to influence our emotions so choosing the right accessory shades in each zone will support wellbeing in our daily lives. For example, you might like to combine a cool grey neutral shade with pops of optimistic yellow or energetic red in spaces where you want to inspire action or introduce shades of nurturing pink or calming blue where you want to chill out as a family.
With family members all at home together noise levels can rise to uncomfortable levels, especially for anyone trying to concentrate or relax. Choosing materials with acoustic benefits can help you achieve a more peaceful atmosphere and prevent nerves becoming frayed.
Our floors are all surprisingly quiet underfoot, but did you know that our loose lay and rigid core ranges come with a built in acoustic layer which can reduce noise levels even further? These ranges are particularly useful if you are decorating an upstairs room and want to protect a peaceful ambience on the floor below.