Whether you currently live in an open concept home, or you’ve removed walls to combine some of its space, you might find yourself in need of some room definition. Without it, you might find an oversized room overwhelming and chaotic.
Thoughtful choices in furniture placement, paint colour, and other considerations will give you that desirable open and airy space – but with subtly defined areas, each functioning differently.
Furniture and rug placement play an important role in defining a space. In a great room or den, for example, choose a focal point and work around that. You may choose to place two sofas facing one another, perpendicular to a fireplace. Add a large area rug and this space whispers cozy and conversational. If you have a good sized foyer nearby, consider a smaller, matching (or coordinating) rug to further identify the separation of these two areas.
If the back of one of those sofas creates a ‘wall’ facing you as you walk in, try placing your sofas in an L-shape, with the open part facing the entryway. This configuration warmly welcomes visitors. Experiment with different furniture placement until it feels comfortable.
You may choose to use the back of the sofa to your advantage if you need to separate this conversational area from another space. If the area is large enough, you may choose to separate your cozy living room from some booth-style seating used for playing games. A strategically placed console table behind the sofa also works well for this purpose. By separating the space naturally this way, you clarify the purpose of each area.
Another idea to consider is the strategic placement of a backless bookshelf used as a room divider. Filled with your favorite reading material, it separates but doesn’t close in the space because of its open design. Other room dividers include half-walls or ornamental screens.
Still another option is hanging curtains made up of beads. Growing up, our neighbor had them between her laundry room and kitchen. Years later, my own daughter chose to use a curtain of beads in lieu of a door to her room. This creates the identification of space but does so in a way that is open and inviting, and showing personality.
Alternatively, a friend of mine converted a long rectangular finished basement into a den. She placed her den furniture in a U-shape at one end, flanking a beautiful stone fireplace. The entrance to the room on one of its long walls was off-center, and so the doorway made for a natural and subtle delineation. The larger area was reserved for the den seating area which was a cozy space defined by the furniture, and included a television wall-mounted above the fireplace.
The other smaller end of the long room was used for storage. She hung a beautiful linen curtain on hooks that slid along a track at that end of the room. Between the curtain and the back wall, she stores her Christmas tree and holiday decorations. Because my friend chose a curtain the same colour as the walls, it goes unnoticed, which was her intent. This inexpensive room divider serves a practical purpose, and yet is beautifully incorporated into the room’s overall design.
Another definition of space is accomplished with floor and ceiling details. A change is signaled by a difference in flooring where you transition from one area to another. Careful here, though, as it can also break up the continuous and open flow between rooms.
It makes sense to change from a wood floor to perhaps a cork or tile floor in the kitchen. You might not want to change the floor between the living room and dining room, however. Depending on your floor plan, make flooring choices wisely so you don’t visually break up your home.
Incorporating a design element into otherwise similar flooring in two adjacent spaces will also create subtle definition within that area. Laying hardwood planks in opposite directions or adding a border design around part of it is one way to do this.
Ceiling features also subtly separate rooms within your home. One beam (or many) strategically placed may be all that’s needed to separate a living room from an adjoining dining room. A large medallion installed around the ceiling-mounted light fixture also accomplishes this in a less obvious way. And adding a chandelier over a dining table clearly separates this part of the open room from the flush lighting elsewhere in your home. Don’t underestimate the impact your lighting choices make.
Tray and coffered ceilings add dimension to an otherwise flat surface. Besides their beauty, they are often used by architects and designers to subtly separate spaces. Contact Mike at D4 Construction for a free estimate if you think this is something you’d like to consider doing in your own home. He’ll come out and help you make smart design choices for your house. Best of all, you’ll be assured of exceptional and professional work. You can reach Mike at 250-572-4812.
Even your choice in doors will make an impression as to the use of the room. If you feel you need a door, but at other times will benefit from openness (think office turned guest room), pocket or French doors might provide the solution you need. French doors certainly provide quiet while allowing light in from the rest of the home. With the addition of curtains, you can offer an overnight guest the privacy they will appreciate. A pocket door offers more privacy, but without allowing light in.
Columns within the home provide support, but are also added to distinguish one space from another. Often flanking the entry to a great room or dining room, columns are decorative yet practical ways to create a hint of separation while maintaining the open feel of your home.
Finally, don’t forget about the walls! Whether you choose paint or wallpaper, subtle changes in the shades of the colour you choose send a message to your brain. The message? There’s some kind of change happening here, even if it’s not spelled out. You may even choose to paint one part of a larger space, and wallpaper the other. But even just changing the shade of the same basic colour allows you to tie it all together, while creating separation.
Defining – or redefining – space within an open concept home or large room doesn’t have to involve walls or contract work. But it might, if you choose to enhance doorways with an arched design or have pocket or French doors installed.
There are so many ways you can use design to define specific areas of your home. If you’re unsure of your options in your own house, don’t forget – Call us at D4 Construction and ask for Mike. After all, this is what we do every day!
We’d love to see your before and after pictures should you decide to make any of these changes, no matter how small. Send them to us and they just might show up in a future issue.
Remember that no job is too small or too large for Mike at D4 Construction. He and his crew are friendly, experienced, and professional. Give him a call to arrange for a no-obligation consultation today: 250-572-4812.