The past few years (read: COVID and beyond) have brought many trends to the fore. Home offices are immensely popular as more of us move to WFH and hybrid models – as are intentional, purpose built spaces, luxe laundry, utility, and mudrooms, and organic, relaxing retreats right inside our own front doors.

A staple that many believe we are “quietly quitting,” – as Architectural Digest puts it – is the open concept. But before you start erecting walls every which way, hear us out. The open floor plan is not dead. It’s not dying. It is alive, well, and contributing to elegant, beautifully designed households fit for your life.

What’s the What With Open Concept?

We all want more time with our loved ones. Suddenly, the pandemic hit, and we had all the time with our loved ones. When “home” became work, school, the gym, the movie theater, the restaurant, and the… everything… We also yearned for privacy, our own space, an oasis from the chaos. We became about the boundaries!

But does the desire for separate spaces, private nooks, and cozy corners mean we can’t have open space as well? No! Can you have your cake and eat it too? Well… What’s the point of cake if you can’t! And what’s the point of home if you cannot fully enjoy and utilize it for all of your lifestyle needs?

Creating Separation In an Open Concept Design

Open concepts deliver a number of benefits: they help facilitate traffic flow, optimize natural light exposure while managing energy use, and maximize each gorgeous square foot of space. Still, though, it is helpful to create a sense of separation to differentiate areas within the home. How?

Living the Island Life

Islands are a natural – not to mention versatile and gorgeous – way to create separation in an open floor plan. It forms a barrier between chef and guests, preventing the dreaded scenario of too many cooks in the kitchen! It clearly distinguishes the work area from the eating/socializing area. To further enhance this distinction, you may opt for comfy counter stools, a beverage cooler on the outer side/end so guests can help themselves without entering your “realm,” or even a second island so one is for food preparation/staging and one is dedicated to lounging and chatting.

Separate with Ceilings and Architectural Features

Your architectural features add personality and style to your home; they can also help define your spaces. When it comes to an open floor plan, for example, the kitchen/dining area may have a standard ceiling which leads into a vaulted ceiling for the living area or greatroom.

Another option is to include a two-sided fireplace. This creates that separation and sense of different spaces – but they are tied beautifully together with a single focal point. There are any number of options available when integrating architectural details into your design and achieving your goals.

Play Zone Offense

Along the same lines, you can use your layout to do the work for you. A door, closet, or other space, for example, can become a natural break between rooms, helping define them as their own unique entities.

You can also arrange your furnishings and area rugs to complete the mission. A sofa can separate living areas from kitchen Simply orienting furniture (e.g. turning living chairs with their backs facing the dining area) can be a tremendous help.

When you create functional divisions – or zones – you give each space a purpose. While they flow together, they are unique unto themselves.

  • How can this home grow with me? Say you have young children now, and a playroom and homework stations are a must for your family. Wonderful! These are practical, and inviting, purpose built spaces. But what happens when the kids grow up and your needs evolve? Your house can grow with you!

Divide(r) and Conquer

Room dividers are a functional, and versatile, option when planning your open space. Think expansive glass panels, sumptuous drapery, a lush vertical garden wall, seamless sliding panels, a pony or knee wall, or a custom art installation. The possibilities are endless.

Some dividers are relatively permanent while others can be tucked, folded, pushed, or hidden aside when you want to open up your space.

Prioritize Privacy, Comfort, and Convenience

As Kenny Rogers said, “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” In this case, know when you want open and know when to run – away from other people to find solitude and quiet! It’s ok, and completely possible, to have private spaces coexist with open spaces. The home office, the pantry, the mudroom, the gym… All of these can be distinct, separate spaces that aid in flow, organization, cleanliness, ease of use, style… and that allow you a little you time.

Building Your Forever Home

Trends come and go. G&G Custom Homes strives to help you bring your unique vision of home to life and build spaces that meet your lifestyle and personality goals.

Ready to talk? Connect with our team.