It’s highly likely you’re living in one, and your neighbours probably are too – and their neighbours, for that matter.
Open-plan homes have become the people’s choice in recent decades – a development that has necessitated some creative thinking.
As well as an enhanced sense of spaciousness, open-plan layouts foster a greater sense of connection among the members of a household and are excellent for entertaining, plus fewer interior walls means more natural light.
Sometimes, though, pockets of that abundant space can end up being wasted. Put a stop to that with some clever tactics for putting every bit to good use, not cluttering your home but improving its functionality through the well-considered use of colour, texture, furniture and lighting.
The book nook
Let’s start in your living space. You may have a central seating area, but how about turning that disused corner into a snug with a comfortable armchair you can quietly read in? Create zonal definition within a neutral colour scheme by painting the walls in a contemplative counterpart, such as perennial favourite Resene Quarter Duck Egg Blue, calm-and-misty green Resene Pale Leaf or dusty umber Resene Soothe.
Cosy textiles such as linen cushions, or a woollen throw will further invite relaxation, and you could extend this sentiment to your walls with a textured design from the Resene Wallpaper Collection to provide both colour and depth. Visit your local Resene ColorShop to see the latest releases in their wallpaper library.
A ceiling treatment is a high-impact way to give a corner its own identity. You could keep your walls as they are but apply Resene SpaceCote Flat in a dramatic grey like Resene Nocturnal for a luxe look or go for a bold geometric ceiling print created using paint and stencils or paste up cut out motifs from a graphic Resene wallpaper design.
Business and pleasure
A study nook neatly housed in your living area is a hack that lets you clock up extra hours while keeping up with the everyday play. A built-in desk will truly maximise the space, or bargain hunt for a second-hand desk and chair to update with paint, opting for a distinct colour or one that ties in with the rest of the room.
Wipe it with a clean dry cloth, then apply Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer for an even finish followed by Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss or Resene Enamacryl gloss tinted with your chosen hue.
Separate your study zone from the rest of an open-plan space with:
- A bank of freestanding open shelving in a chic shade, such as pale green Resene Edgewater or Resene Colorwood Driftwood timber stain. Shelving forms a low-key partition that also works as storage for essential professional accoutrements and display for decorative objects.
- A curtain you can draw around your nook when you’re working and fling it open when you’re not. Choose a fabric that looks good from both sides – an ethereal sheer or heavier weight to mitigate noise such as the Harmony Voile or Evolve designs from the Resene Curtain Collection.
- A screen you can fold away if wished. Timber or rattan room dividers are a natural fit for a neutral colour scheme, but could also be customised with Resene paint or timber stain in the same way you would a desk, above.
Take a seat, light the lights
Modular seating is ideal for allowing spaces in an open-plan living area to do double duty, providing visual cohesion. An L-shaped sofa will define for your main relaxation area, and you could reconfigure additional modules with some easily moved chairs to form a separate conversation zone – with or without a coffee table on castor wheels that’s also a cinch to reposition. Matching ottomans and oversized cushions are great for children to move from A to B.
Lighting is an easily manipulatable way to set distinct moods. Affix a wall light near your desk or a pendant light over your snug. If beautifying a rice paper or fabric lightshade with Resene testpots, use the paint sparingly lest it gets too wet and rips the paper or loosens the glue.
Keepsakes and curios can imbue open-plan areas with individuality. Take your time to collect pieces that are meaningful to you – scented candles, ornaments, vintage vessels, dried flowers and foraged treasures such as shells and feathers – and arrange them on shelves, sideboards or tables using the designers’ golden rule of odd numbers (three, five or seven items) to get the best balance. A tray can be an additional way to pull a vignette together, perhaps crafted from metal or given a metallic finish using Resene FX Metallic paints in hues such as Resene Solid Gold, Resene Rose Gold or Resene Allusive.
What’s in store
Storage can be at a premium in open-plan homes. Remedy the issue in a generous master bedroom by installing a half-wall that can become a headboard on one side and cupboards on the other, painted in a hue that complements your décor.
If storage for children’s toys is lacking, paint timber cubes or wooden boxes in playful pastels like Resene Tuft Bush, Resene Snowy Mint and Resene Onahau. If there’s a disused void under your stairs, you might wish to store them here and turn the space into a children’s craft station with a desk painted in a pale primrose like Resene Shalimar.
Deck the hall
Though not the traditional long hallways you find in closed floor-plan homes, open-plan homes generally include thoroughfares that are ready for anything. Make yours a fun extra play area for the kids by painting a hopscotch court on the floor with Resene Walk-On tinted to your colours of choice. Or, add a vintage bench seat that can fit baskets or containers beneath it to stow away shoes or accessories painted in a different colour for each member of your family. Then, paint or stain the timber in the Resene hue of your choice, then top with flat cushions or an upholstered squab.
- Colour code individual zones within an open-plan space, but include key accents from your home’s overall palette as a unifying constant.
- A change in flooring can be useful to announce a shift in purpose or set a new mood. Use a rug to herald the transition from social to solitude or paint a concrete floor with Resene Walk-on tinted to the hue of your choice.
- You could also turn redundant space into an indoor garden with potted greenery. Pots are easy to customise with your favourite Resene colours. To transform terracotta into something more your style, add a coat of Resene Aquapel and Terracotta Sealer inside and out and allow to dry, then brush on two coats of your chosen paint, allowing it to dry between applications.
For more ideas for your home, visit your Resene ColorShop or view the latest decorating ideas and inspiration online, resene.co.nz/latestlooks.
This article was written by Resene for Newshub.