While walls are obviously the easiest and most recognisable way to define a room, we can venture into other elements to demarcate space. If we are to work with space devoid of walls, we need to be able to achieve the exclusivity of various rooms and still enjoy an open and airy feel. Here are some elements that we can use to achieve that with beauty and glam:
“The need to create clear cut visual properties to separate one area from another cannot be overlooked if we are to arrange spaces in a methodical and eye-appealing manner in open floor plans,” Andrew Alvin Katongole, an architect with Arch Design, explains.
For example, a slightly raised floor in one section of the room, this intervention will create a distinction between say, a living room and kitchen yet also make the transition smooth and appealing. This idea is great when clearly marking out the kitchen from the rest of the room.
Henry Twahirwa, director at Sleek Construct Ltd, says you may use a set of down-lights to create a basic lighting layer coupled with several down-light layers to demarcate spaces.You can also get more creative by using a dramatic chandelier above your dining table for organisation and appeal.
What better material than glass when thinking of transparent divisions? Thomas M Niwamara, a Built Environment Researcher, says: “Not only does it allow easy flow of light but also visual and textural contrast in a room comprised of elements such as stone, concrete, and wood.”
Glass, particularly, the transparent kind, allows for partitions or sliding doors to perfectly help in partitioning without opaqueness. This preserves the open and airy appeal of open spaces. These partitions can be unmounted to give one the actual feel of an open space when need arises.
Niwamara points out that a false ceiling accessorised with the ideal down-lights will create a room within a room effortlessly. You could also work with beams; carefully placed in a particular area of the room to not only set boundaries in a given area but also draw attention to it.
“Not only are they convenient, they also add sophistication and elegance to your interior,” Niwamara says. These come in various patterns, styles and hues; the choices are varied.
To avoid monotony, you may change your area rugs according to the season or event at hand to create a wow factor in your home. For example, a light and breezy patterned rug will do your living room immense good while a more formal looking one will do for the dining area.
Twahirwa points out that using colour for instance, various colours of throw pillows in the living room, dining chairs having distinct colours or rugs with multicolours can help in creating rooms in an open floor plan.
One may also choose to match rugs with wall hangings to create a trendy yet vibrant look. Nonetheless, to achieve a great look in your house, using single neutral colours such as ivory, beige, shades of white on the walls is ideal because open floors require one uniform backdrop.
Varied tile colours can help to differentiate space. For example, using a different colour of tiles for kitchen from that of the dining area.
Different flooring types
Create a room with two flooring types. Katongole says flooring in varying materials, colours or patterns will help in dividing your space into smaller segments.
This design hack will work best between the kitchen and dining areas in various ways such as, marrying tiles, concrete, carpet, and solid wood depending on the intended look and feel. These flooring differences, say, carpet or wood, create an acoustic feel to the space.
Stylish shelving units
Niwamara says these are functional yet do not impede the flow between rooms because they are also open. An example of this could be a modern shelving unit dividing the living room and the dining room. Another great way of using shelving units is by having them as half wall units, with the tops being slightly above waist height to serve as display areas for pictures. However, the shelves should not be the imposing kind that will make the space feel closed in.
Niwamara says a fold-out privacy screen or a movable screen is a great space-savvy solution for small apartments or if you desire a physical room divider that is not fixed and easy to move.
They can be custom made or purchased complete and can be wooden, steel, plastic or living screens such as climbers or bamboo.
Artfully arrange furniture
Niwamara says furniture placement is great way of creating separate zones in a spacious, open area. With that comes the need to carefully group decor to fashion small individual islands to highlight a clear purpose. He saysyou can also use the back of your sofa as a simple divider.
Add vertical layers
“If your children share a bedroom but are in need of their own space, consider dividing their sleep area vertically using double decker beds, rather than dividing the space halfway with single beds, Katongole suggests.
Twahirwa says these can be positioned in an area that would otherwise have had a wall.
Work with your bed-head
To create boundaries in your bedroom, Katongole advises that you can position your bed and headboard away from the wall. For example, while giving a masculine look to a bachelor’s room, a tall, solid upholstered headboard can help separate the sleep area from the work area.
“Hanging drapery from your ceiling is a great yet easy way to split spaces, Thomas M Niwamara, a Built Environment Researcher with Gido+Shifo, says.
Go for heavy drapes to provide total privacy or sheer material if you want to create separate sections without compromising the room’s light, airy ambience when the curtains are drawn.
For a look that is fresh and fun, select a patterned, textured or brightly coloured curtain, as it will act as a feature wall when closed.