How to Create Zones in an Open Floor Plan

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How to Create Zones in an Open Floor Plan

Open floor plans have been popular in the design world ever since they first appeared on the scene. It’s no wonder why; these wall-less home layouts offer an abundance of light, a free flow of air, and a much easier time engaging with others in the space. The open, airy feeling can even make a space feel bigger. 

Despite their advantages, open floor plans do have a few downsides. Many people are spending an increased amount of time at home and finding that these open floor plans don’t always work for their day-to-day routines. With no dividing indicators, the kitchen, living area, and home office might meld into one big room, inviting unwanted chatter or scattered children’s toys into the office or hazardous traffic through the kitchen. 

These obstacles in the functionality of open floor plans don’t mean you need to start constructing walls that will disrupt that airy feeling. Creating zones can quickly and easily solve these problems. 

Why You Should Create Zones

Creating zones is like creating separate rooms without walls. Instead of one large area, zones allow you to differentiate sections set aside for certain uses. The dining area suddenly becomes separate from the living area, and the kitchen has borders without solid boundaries. These zones help separate each section and activity, keeping it in its place. This allows for a level of privacy and organization while still keeping that open, airy feeling of an open floor plan. 

Ideas for Creating Zones in an Open Floor Plan 

Furniture Placement: One of the quickest ways to create zones is to change your furniture placement. Instead of treating the open floor plan like one big room by placing the furniture along the walls, get creative with placement and don’t be afraid to place furniture in the middle of the space. 

Use furniture to create smaller areas, such as using a sofa as a divider between the living space and the dining space. Do this by facing the sofa towards the living space with the back towards the dining space. This naturally creates a barrier and a sense of two separate spaces. The same can be accomplished with a pair of sitting chairs.

Traditional living room with sofa facing pair of chairs; MGSD; zones for open floor plans

Bookshelves, consoles, tables, and other furnishings can be used in the same manner. The taller the furnishing, the more separated the zones will feel. A great way to keep the zones separate while still keeping the airy feeling is by using an open bookshelf or other open shelving units. Light and air can still pass through, keeping the space breezy. 

Rugs: Area rugs are another easy way to mark off different zones. By placing an area rug down, you instantly create the feeling of separate spaces. Use rugs to mark lounging areas, as they add to the warmth and comfort. Place the furniture on and around the rug to further indicate a separate zone. If your space is large enough, try adding multiple rugs to create more than one zone. 

Dividers and Curtains: Dividers and curtains can help create a bit more privacy, acting as a moveable wall. Dividers and curtains can be light, airy, sheer, or thin if you wish to keep the space more open. On the other hand, dividers can act as moveable partition walls and thick curtains can create closed-off, cozy areas. 

Color: If you wish to create zones without the use of physical separating elements, color is a great option. Try using one dominant color for each zone to easily make that space stand out from the others. Just be sure the colors are cohesive with the rest of your home, as colors that clash too much will be very obvious in open floor plans. 

Open living space with dining room and sofa; MGSD; zones for open floor plans

Plants: Plants not only add visual interest to a space but can be used to create zones as well. Large, tall plants can act as living divider walls. Indoor planter boxes can be used as pony walls. Even hanging plants can be used as dividers simply by hanging them from the ceiling. 

Plants in entryway of modern home; MGSD; zones for open floor plans

Zone Your Space

Open floor plans allow an abundance of air and light to enter a space. These open plans are loved by many, but their functionality can sometimes present a few issues if you don’t feel like seeing and hearing everything all the time. By adding zones to your open floor plan, you can easily separate different spaces and different activities, keeping your home cozier, more private, and more organized. 

With an array of options available, you can modify just how much light and noise each zone shares with the other zones. A zoned open floor plan is like a house with moveable walls, offering the best of both worlds.  

It’s possible to create zones that maintain style and flow in your home. For guidance and advice, our design team at Michael Gainey Signature Designs offers in-home consultations. 

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