Jan 31, 2022 | Anoushka's Blog, Interior design and decoration

For many years now open plan living has been a preference for homes. Kitchen, dining and sitting areas usually all combined into one large room creating an open and spacious feel. However, living with an open plan footprint isn’t as easy as it looks, especially if you don’t like to see the clutter of everyday life. I’m getting more and more requests to change up floor plans to provide other options outside of the open plan spaces, such as TV rooms, family rooms, separate study, and entertaining areas.

So, if you do have an open floor plan, how do you get the most out of this? There are a few things you can do in and around furniture positioning, joinery and lighting to carve out functional spaces for all the family.

Area Rugs

The best and most cost-effective way to clearly separate out your zones is through rugs. Always with one in the lounge area, placing at least the front legs of all of your seating on the rug this helps to bring the whole area together as a cluster. And then if family usage permits one under the dining table is advisable.

Randwick project: An area rug here clearly defines the lounge from the dining

Seating placement

By creating conversational areas with your seating you will further carve out good usable areas for entertaining. For instance, sofa’s facing each other, or chairs directly opposite sofa’s, or a couple of sofa’s and 2 chairs in a u-shaped placement if you have the space is optimal.

Riverview project: U shaped seating plan creates areas for conversation in an open plan space


Create zones through your lighting. And here I’m talking more architectural lighting. By up lighting ceilings (if you have interesting features), washing walls with light in certain areas (to highlight artwork or brighten a darker end of a room), and placing task lighting where you need it (above the kitchen island) you will naturally create welcoming spaces to be in.

Riverview project: Task lighting over dining and kitchen to clearly define spaces. Dining on a dimmer to create ambience.


I focus big time on joinery in large open plan rooms. You can create screens with joinery and even include storage. Also adding joinery around a fireplace and/or TV further helps to separate out that living space. Drinks prep areas are great for separate out the dining space, and so are floor to ceiling library shelves. Tie in the finishes with either the pieces in that specific space or overall with the kitchen joinery.

Randwick project: Joinery around the fireplace and TV helps to define an area of function

Dining placement

If your space permits, placing the dining table between the kitchen and lounge is always a great way to set up the space. This gives the meals area and lounge area a great visual pause point, and further separation.

Lindfield project: Dining positioned between living and kitchen creates clear separation

I hope this helps as so often I get clients with these big room and not quite sure how to treat and furnish them.

Happy decorating!

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