Open Concept Design : Finding the Connection

When asking someone what their dream home looks likes, majority of people will say:

“I want to be able to see the everything from the kitchen”  

“I want to be able to see right to the back of the house from the front door” 

“I want an open concept” 

Open concept floor plans became popular in the 1990’s. By opening up the floor plan (even in an older home) it instantly made it look more modern…even if the décor wasn’t.  

When you are able to see the whole home from any given spot, it creates a very grand look and feel. It makes the home feel bigger than it actually is and it is an ideal floor plan for a family with small kids or for someone that likes to entertain.  

It all sounds great on paper but there are some challenges when it comes to actually designing an open concept space.  

What many people do when they are designing their home, they design room by room. They look at the living room, dining room, kitchen, office etc and design it as a room. And although that makes sense, that isn’t the only thing to think about when you have an open concept floor plan. 

open concept, neutral, repetition, repeat, interior design

Believe it or not, what many overlook when they are designing an open concept floor plan is that you see all rooms at once. Afterall, that is the whole goal. But too often, people will focus on one space (or room) at a time and forget that it is actually an open concept and you see everything in relation to each other – Your kitchen has to tie into your living room; You living room has to be cohesive with your dining room etc. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the whole floor should look like one big room. You still want to create your spaces – your kitchen, living room, dining room etc. – but you want to use design elements to tie each room together so it flows together, consistency. How do you do that?  

Repetition is the simplest way to join spaces and create a cohesive look. When you see an element reappear in each area of the home, the mind connects it and registers it as being joined.  

Have you ever seen one of these word images where there are missing letters or misspelled words? But when you read it, your mind fills in the missing pieces without you even realizing it. The mind is a powerful thing – it learns and makes assumptions based on what it’s be taught it the past. Repetition in design is one of those assumptions. 

mind games

What do I mean by repetition in interior design? Repetition can be achieved in a number of ways. 

Through Colour 

Try repeating colour from space to space in different mediums. Maybe you have teal bar stools at the kitchen island. Then the area rug in the living room has a touch of the same teal. The powder room then has a teal wallpaper accent. And in your office, some teal accessories on the shelf.  

colour, repeat, teal, open concept

Through Materials 

Find ways to use the same material in different areas of the floor plan to tie the design together. This could be by having the same wood from a decorative wall piece in the kitchen also as the coffee table in the family room. Or the same marble from your kitchen backsplash as your washroom vanity counter top. They will look unique to their space but when you stand back, it will be tied together into the overall design. 

Through Graphics 

Repetition can also be done through shapes. For example: your kitchen backsplash, living room area rug, curtains in the office and wallpaper accent wall in the hall could all have the same geometric pattern to them. Even if these are all done in a different colour or material, the fact that you see the repeated pattern will give the illusion of them being the same. 

Through Shape 

Try repeating architectural elements like archways and beams. Mirroring these elements will add to the overall flow and feel of an open concept floor plan.  

Simply Through Repeating 

Or, simply, find a material that you love and use it in other spaces in the floor plan. For example – Your kitchen cabinets could also be used as the bathroom vanity or in the office as a built-in. Maybe you use the same cabinet handles from the kitchen on the living room built-in. Or the same tile from your kitchen backsplash on the shower floor or walls. 

Stand back and take a look 

It might seem obvious but don’t forget to stand back and take a look at your design from afar. Stand at your front door and look at your whole home. Are the colours balanced – Is there an area that missing some colour, is there too much colour in another? Does one room seem heavier than the other? Standing back will give you a better idea of how balance your design is. You may have to make some small changes to find that balance – add a piece of artwork to bring in some missing colour or move a piece to another wall – but you will see that when you stand back. 

And finally, most importantly, don’t forget to stand back and admire all your hard work. 

For questions on how to implement this in your home, email us at design@letskissdesign.com

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