With a knack for weaving cohesive style throughout an open floor plan, Emily Bergsten of Fluff Interior Design uses accents, furniture, and lighting to imply distinct living areas within one space. Visit Emily’s Styleboard to find purposeful pieces that define and unite.
An Eye-Opening Look at Undivided Space
Open floor plans are great, right? Designed to accommodate a busy lifestyle, they work well for families who want to spend time together, yet still need separate spaces in which to cook, live, eat, and work. They allow one parent to put dinner together and another to pay bills at the kitchen table, while one child does homework at the bar and another builds a LEGO® castle in the living room. It’s great to be able to see what’s going on from one room to the next and to be able to engage with each other while you’re each doing your own thing.
Yes, open floor plans are great! Except when it comes time to decorate and then, sometimes they’re not so great. We get many calls from clients who are stumped about how to make their spaces flow seamlessly into each other while each retains its distinct purpose of kitchen, living, and eating area.
When working with a client to design an open-concept home, we always begin by defining the spaces with furniture, lighting, and area rugs. Each area serves a distinctive purpose, and you communicate that purpose by the type of furniture the space contains. Statement lighting and area rugs can also help create definition and add personality.
Extend Your Style Theme
In order to keep the spaces cohesive, we recommend continuity in style when it comes to the pieces used throughout. For instance, if you’re choosing rustic furniture for the living room, you need to continue the rustic feel into the kitchen and eating area. Or, if you have a streamlined, modern vibe going on in the eating area, you need to stick with a streamlined, modern vibe in the family room. This is not to say that you can’t mix furniture, art, and accessory styles … you definitely can, and we actually recommend that our clients do exactly that! But, the overall style of the spaces should be continuous from one area to the next.
Carry On with Color
Keep developing your cohesive open-concept design by carrying the color palette throughout the space. Fluff recommends that the same color palette be used in each area rather than treating the various spaces like separate rooms. We sometimes vary the color emphasis between the spaces while keeping the palette the same. For instance, the living room might have 70% blue accents and 30% green, and we might flip-flop that in the kitchen and eating area by doing 30% green and 70% blue. (We’re not THAT structured about it, but you get the idea.)
So yes, open floor plans ARE great. If you carefully define the spaces and use cohesive design elements and a consistent color palette throughout, you’ll be able to take on the challenge of creating a high-function and high-style space for you and your family to enjoy.
– Emily Bergsten, Interior Designer for Fluff Interior Design