Open plan living: A passing trend or the future of Aussie home design? | Cowra Guardian

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It’s becoming increasingly common for modern turnkey homes to boast combined living, kitchen, and dining spaces.

These large, multifunctional communal spaces have become a favourite of many homeowners and property investors alike, as open floor plans have been proven to keep homes feeling nice and versatile.

For renters in particular, open floor plans can yield a wealth of interior design options, ensuring that all their smaller furniture items – like end tables and floor lamps – won’t be likely to feel out of place regardless of where your next lease may be.

There are, however, definite disadvantages to open floor plans too, with a lack of privacy being front and centre for most Aussie homeowners.

If open floor plans are here to stay, however, it’s well worth considering just how to make the space work for you.

In doing so, you and your family will be able to assess whether or not a home with an open floor plan may be in the cards for you in the coming years.

How to get the most out of your open floor plan

Getting the most out of your open floor plan will naturally mean being able to use the space in a way that benefits the whole family.

This essentially means that the perfect open plan design scheme will differ from household to household and will largely be influenced by your family or household’s shared interests.

There are some basic design principles and a handful of open-plan hacks that you can follow to help get the ball rolling on your home design, however.

Creating different zones in your open living space

The best method for ensuring that your open living space caters to all members of your household is simply to allocate room for all the purposes that you’d like the room to take on. You can achieve this by arranging furniture in a way that clearly cuts the room into different ‘zones’.

Generally speaking, open plan living spaces are supposed to be free-flowing in their design, with furniture and décor arranged in a way that ferries your guests from one section of the room to another without even revealing that the room has been segmented at all.

Whilst centring furniture around a television set or other defined focal point will demonstrate the purpose of a space rather clearly, you can keep your space open and free-flowing by using rugs to section your floor space rather than large furniture, or provide alternate light sources like floor or table lamps that only illuminate select areas of the wider space.

Creative storage to minimise open clutter

Open floor plans can be quite prone to clutter, especially if your space is multifunctional simply because décor and items can be moved around easily and find themselves being placed on tabletops across the other side of the room.

Effective storage can also be a concern in larger living spaces because large bookcases and other storage design elements like open shelves can only be placed along walls.

As walls are likely to be quite wide and far apart in open living spaces, using these shelves for storage can prove to be rather pesky as those items are less likely to be accessible.

This is why the best storage options for open plan living spaces are generally furnishings with built-in storage like storage ottomans, benches, tables fitted with drawers, or even modular storage options to ensure your interior space stays nice and versatile.

These creative storage options will allow you to access all the most essential accessories and other items you may need throughout your open living space without having to walk across other ‘zones’ or even to the far side of the room.

Embrace your extra space

With the rise of minimalism over the past few years, decluttering has become a bit of a buzzword. But minimalist design isn’t just a trend either. In fact, the minimalist discipline has come to transcend interior design, becoming an entire ethos for people from all walks of life.

Many homeowners across the globe are embracing the mental clarity that comes with maintaining blissfully sparse interior spaces. Open plan living spaces themselves are actually favoured by dedicated minimalists, simply because of their free-flowing atmosphere as well as the increased natural light availability that these spaces tend to have.

The best way to make the most of your open plan living space is simply to embrace any open space that you’re left with once you’ve finished placing all of your furniture and decor.

Let your space speak for itself as best you can, and you’ll find that your open living space feels warm, fresh, and inviting year-round.

Popular interior design styles for open floor plans

You don’t need to be a minimalist to make the most of your open floor plan, however. Alongside minimalism, there are also a plethora of other interior design styles that may be highly valuable to draw inspiration from when designing your home’s open living space.

As many contemporary modern Australian homes are designed with an open living space, most contemporary modern design schemes will feel right at home here. Clean, monochromatic furnishings made from natural materials will provide your open plan living space with a crisp and effortlessly chic atmosphere.

If you’re a fan of the bohemian style, all the extra floor and wall space that accompanies having an open living space will allow you to spread out an eclectic array of rugs, as well as hang a vibrant collection of tapestries, prints, and other wall art.

You may even choose to install hanging lights throughout your open living space fitted with coloured shades to really tie all the bohemian elements of your space together.

If you’re more of a traditionalist at heart, you’ll be happy to hear that traditional or French contemporary design schemes and other more romantic period-style design schemes can also be used to add a sense of luxury to your home’s open plan living space.

The options for designing your open plan living space are truly quite expansive if you want them to be!

Is an open floor plan the right choice for your family?

With how particular these modern living layouts tend to be, there’s no denying that open plan living spaces don’t work for all families.

There are, however, enough Aussie families out there who have been embracing all the benefits and advantages of this increasingly common floor plan.

So are open floor plans a passing trend? The short answer here is no. The long answer is that connected living spaces have demonstrated an ability to connect us.

Larger living room spaces encourage families to share a common space in peace and can effectively bring your household closer together.

Open living plans can encourage families to eat meals together simply by providing a clear line of sight from the kitchen to your home’s dining space.


Whilst this unique floor plan does undoubtedly come with its fair share of caveats, a well-designed open floor plan can make for stunning, modern interiors. With this in mind, it’s likely that open floor plans will continue to pop up both across the greater Sydney area as well as nationwide.

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