Should I go for an Open Plan Layout?

Home extensions completely change the dynamic of your home. Whether you are adding a small side return or opting for a large wraparound extension, the additional space will transform your property and way of living. When you extend your property, it’s impossible not to reconfigure the area around the extension. You need to properly connect the new extension to the host property, so some level of reconfiguration will be required to do this. Most of our clients take the opportunity to make drastic changes to their entire ground floor. Others make minor modifications to keep costs down. Either way, the removal of internal walls, the introduction of glazing and the reconfiguration of your functional areas (kitchen, living and dining) will completely transform your property. 

A kitchen extension in London won’t just affect your kitchen. It will affect your living and dining area too. You might want to include additional items into the specification, such as a ground floor WC, a utility area, or a home office. Whatever your requirements might be, here at Home Tales we work with you to create a beautiful, space-efficient design, that ticks all your boxes and sticks to your budget. 

One design dilemma that we frequently discuss with our clients is how open plan to go on the design. If you do want to go for an open plan design, another design hurdle to cross is how to implement it. We thought we would run through some of the pros and cons to open plan design, as well as some tips on how to do it. 

What is open plan design? 

Open plan is very much what it says on the tin – it’s creating a design that is open plan. In typical period properties, the functional areas of a ground floor are very much segregated, with a living room to the front of the property, a dining room in the middle room and a small kitchen to the rear. Each of these critical ‘functions’ of day-to-day life has been physically and visually separated, by being defined to an enclosed closed room. Open plan living removes the physical barriers (walls) and enables the functional areas to merge into one larger area. It’s important that the functional area still has a defined ‘area’ within the room – for example, you cannot put a sofa in the middle of your kitchen! Each functional area still commands its own space; however, the visual barriers are broken down, creating a larger, brighter area. 

Things to consider 

Open plan design is a wonderful design option. It helps natural light penetrate throughout the property, creating the illusion of a brighter, larger area. Most families find that it suits their day-to-day life, as it’s far more sociable and helps families interact more. In modern day living, the kitchen is much more of a family-hub, often referred to as the ‘heart of the home.’ Open plan integrates the social aspect of cooking and ties in other functions, such as living or dining. You can integrate two zones, in which case most of our clients opt for kitchen and dining. If you prefer, you can even integrate three zones, kitchen, dining and living. 

It’s worth pointing that open plan design can be more expensive, as you might require additional steel support to remove load bearing walls. Our client in Merton demonstrated open plan design beautifully with this open plan ground floor. We extended to the side and rear or this property, removing an old conservatory in the process. In addition to the extension, we removed all the internal walls on the ground floor with exception of the hallway wall. This created this incredible flow of space, encompassing kitchen, living and dining area into one large room. Notice that the areas are still ‘zoned’ and defined. Pendant lighting it a fantastic way to zone an area, as it re-enforces the visual separation of one area with another. 

Skylights are another fantastic way to zone an area, as demonstrated in our SE19 project. 

Our client in SW18 decided to separate the front and rear of the property, placing a spacious WC between front and rear, accessible via the hallway. The wall separating the front and middle room was removed to create one large living area, complete with ‘snug’ in the corner for movie nights. The formal seating area then sits towards the front, as it would traditionally in a Victorian property. The kitchen and dining area are integrated into one room, although the island and dining table are clearly defined to indicate where the kitchen area stops, and the dining area begins. 

Archways are another brilliant technique used in open plan design. They offer partial segregation to an area, without blocking it off completely. This helps to keep a visual connection between functions, allowing natural light penetration to flow between the two areas. With that said, the kitchen is still very much within a defined ‘zone’. 

If you are considering a home extension or renovation, contact our team today on 0207 043 2378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. We would be delighted to talk more about your scheme. You can also book a telephone consultation via our online live diary here. We look forward to speaking with you. 


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