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Open plan living: some people love it, some people hate it. The Marmite of interior design if you will. The Real Homes team is pretty divided on it – some of us believe open plan makes for a lovely sociable space, plus it’s handy to have the fridge nearish to the sofa by for frequent snacking. The other half believe open plan is just a ruse to convince you are living in a stylish space when actually you are cramming up to three rooms into one smaller space and not having a separate kitchen and living room is tricky to style (despite agreeing the closeness to snacks is a pro).

Anyways, regardless of your feelings on open plan, they can be difficult spaces to decorate and arrange, since there is so much going on and it has so many purposes. So we have come up with five looks that show you exactly how open plan should be done…

Oh and more living room ideas, make sure you check out our gallery, a lot of those can be adapted for open-plan spaces. 

1. Choose a simple kitchen design in an open plan space

When you look across your open plan space, you want it to have a flow, and for it to be cohesive. This living area works well as the kitchen is very sleek and simple, and the Skandi table, Harlow and Charlie chairs, due to their light oak design also work in the same way. They visually balance out the dark grey sofa and armchair in the living area, and the rug and cushions pull through the mid-grey and pale pinks from the kitchen and dining space. The turmeric cushion, throw and rug are the accent colours that set the living space apart from the rest. 

2. Use matching materials to link the spaces in open plan living 

This Metz kitchen/dining room shares many design features and this is why it works aesthetically. The main one is the oak wood worktop, dining table and benches, they also add warmth to the scheme. The black units and windows give a modern feel that really suits the contemporary setting. Choose accessories in bright shades together with a few patterned cushions to prevent the space from looking too dark. 

3. Zone your kitchen 

This living area is a great example of how to zone areas. The Vivid kitchen has been designed to sit in the middle of the living space and the dining area, the shelving wall is a partition so to speak, and it works really well. The green units again define the kitchen and the black fixtures and fittings in the whole space are carried through to the dining table in the form of the chairs. Brass is also a common thread – the taps, edging under the worktop and candlesticks on the table. 

4. Create a focal point in an open plan space

More often than not, converting to an open place space will give you oodles more light – no walls to block it out right? And it’s great to choose the same flooring throughout so you have a continuous flow between the living areas. We love how this relaxing space has the focal point of this fabulous lampshade, which essentially signals that this is the dining zone. The warm wood worktop from the Linear Edge kitchen teamed with the dining area links to the coffee table, it’s simple, yet very effective. 

5. When space is tight trust in Ikea 

We’re not all blessed with huge airy living areas and often one small room has to be everything and more, and this is where Ikea always comes in. They are the masters of navigating teeny spaces and making them work successfully, this open plan space is no exception. So if your kitchen is basically the living area as well and you have to eat dinner on your lap then so be it (who needs a dining table anyway) – but you can choose nifty storage ideas like the BROR trolley that acts as another surface and hang your plants from their NIKKEBY rail! 

Read more:

Gallery: Nordic style interiors: 7 secrets to bringing dark and dramatic vibes home (Real Homes)

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