Breaking up an open plan living space

At Home Tales, we offer a variety of home improvement solutions to homeowners that are looking to upgrade the look of their property. This ranges from loft conversions to home extensions in London. We have designed plenty of ground floor extensions for our clients, which have frequently been utilised to create an open plan living space.

Open plan living

We have found that open plan living has become incredibly sought-after in modern day housing, adding value and interest to a property. An open plan space can be defined as a room with no structural walls or doors to divide the area. This creates a large social living space that flows well and is practically synonymous with modern house design.

Wall paint/wallpaper

Colours and texture can be used to effectively set up zones in a large open space. To define an area, contrasting wall colours can visually separate a comfy living room from a formal dining space. The images above show a study corner which has been reinforced by blue wall paint or pink wallpaper. We can observe that it not only defines the space, but it also changes the atmosphere. The blue study can be portrayed as calming and formal, whereas the pink study demonstrates a more uplifted and creative space.


In addition to wall colours, the use of art can be utilised to set the tone for a particular section in your room. There are many types of art that you can distribute throughout your home, from film posters to expressionist paintings. As shown above, a muted oil painting would be great for a formal dining space, but you can also opt for a graphics poster in a home office or consider a minimalist colour block print for a minimalistic living room. Sculptures work amazingly in an entrance way or on a dining room table.

Positioning furniture

An age-old trick for dividing up an open plan living space is to position large furniture to suggest a separated space. A corner sofa facing away from your kitchen is great for spreading focus in an open room. Alternatively, you could have a standard sofa with an armchair in the same position, creating a path which separates the living room from the kitchen. The path could be further enhanced by a skylight or a window placed on the adjacent wall.

Lighting/ skylights

As we have mentioned in previous blog posts, lighting is everything when it comes to design. When choosing the type of lighting you would like, you need to consider the intimacy you want to project onto a particular section in your room. In an open plan kitchen and dining space, you may want your dining space to be quite formal. In this instance, you could install recessed downlights so that there are no obstructions or distractions in that area, which can also be used in a kitchen.

By the kitchen island, you may want an informal setting to cut your food, have a quick cup of coffee, or eat breakfast at. In this case, low hanging pendant lights would be great as it makes the space seem cosier and relaxed. The temperature of your lightbulbs must also be considered, which you can read more about in our blog post that addresses how to uplift your home in the colder months. Furthermore, skylights are an eco-friendly, cost effective way to sustain the same result.

Broken plan living

Broken plan living is similar to open plan living but it involves physical dividers to separate sections of the room, without the use of structural walls.

Changes in ceiling height

Having changes in ceiling heights in a large open plan room can create a sequence of different spaces without any changes to the flooring or decor.  When installing a ground floor rear extension, you have the option to choose the roof height, making this solution the most suitable for those planning a new extension. A high ceiling would make your home appear grander, making it great for a family living space, whereas a lower ceiling makes a room smaller and more intimate.


Adding curtains softly breaks up your space in comparison to structural walls. A curtain will provide visual privacy but allows for air and sound fluidity through the room. If you think a curtain may be too obstructive, a sheer or cut-out curtain may be perfect for you. In contrast to curtains, installing large panes of glazing can be a sophisticated solution that blocks out sound, yet allows for visual coherence. This adds architectural interest to a property which in turn will add value.

Sliding doors

Technically, installing doors would be transforming your open plan space into separate rooms. However, we have added this to our list of solutions as sliding doors are fantastic for those that like the option of switching between open and closed plan living. To make use of the whole space, you can open the sliding doors. With sophisticated construction, you can make the door frame hidden so your guests would never notice the doors were ever there.


For a small space, the technique of using storage to divide a room is often observed i.e., in university accommodation. It is a space efficient solution, especially in an open plan living space where it is common to have a lack of storage due to the absence of internal walls. Consider an open shelf unit behind a sofa to further distinguish your living room from your kitchen.

We hope we have helped you in planning the layout of your open plan living space, we understand it can be difficult to know where to start. If you are considering any home improvements in the future and want to discuss your project with us, a member of our team would be happy to talk to you on the phone at 0207 043 2378. You can also email us at or book a free telephone consultation with us here.

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