Is ‘Broken Plan’ the New ‘Open Plan’?

In recent years homeowners and property developers have embraced the trend for open-plan living spaces, viewed as a more communal living environment that encourages interaction and conversation amongst occupants. Structurally it can bestow a room with more natural light, improving views and creating more spacious surroundings.

There are many benefits to a more open-plan lifestyle. However, challenges can arise when different areas become direct competitors. For example, an acceptable level of TV volume is fighting with noise in the kitchen from dinner being made, or movement around the living room is distracting personal tablet viewing at the dining table.

Of course, you could always retreat to your bedroom, but that completely misses the point of open-plan living!

To achieve a more harmonious balance, a ‘broken-plan’ environment can provide more natural divisions and the feeling of personal areas. Through the use of bookcases, glass-sliding doors, split-levels, fireplaces or half dividing walls, zones can be created that don’t break the flow of the space but allow lines-of-sight to be interrupted and noise dampened.

Next 125 designer kitchen in broken plan arrangement

In this kitchen / dining space, the Next125 kitchen area is defined by the fireplace positioned in the centre of the room. The doubled-sided wood burner acts as a focal point for the room, creating two doorways between the dining table and kitchen. With casual dining space available in the kitchen via the bar-top arrangement, the dining space is elevated to a more formal area for special occasions.

Maintaining natural light levels is often a key consideration. By understanding the movement of the sun, the locations of dividing elements can be positioned to minimise the impact on light penetration into the property. Glass sliding panels, such as those by Rimadesio, can quickly create separate areas within a space without reducing the ambience.

Rimadesio contemporary-interiors glass-sliding-doors Furniture Bath Swindon Winchester London

The trend for creating personal spaces within a larger, communal, area looks set to continue. The goal might be as simple as to break your line-of-sight to pots and pans cooking on the hob or to reduce the chatter from children playing around the sofas. Whatever your objective, sometimes we all simply desire 5 minutes peace to enjoy a cup of tea without distractions, visual or audible.