Pay at­ten­tion to in­te­rior de­sign when draft­ing open-con­cept plan

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Daniel Dro­let

IF you watch those de­sign shows on TV, you’ll hear peo­ple talk­ing a lot about wish lists for a new home. More of­ten than not, one of the items on the list is an open-con­cept floor plan.

An open-con­cept liv­ing area is for many a mod­ern must-have — all the more so if they’re mov­ing into a mod­est ur­ban condo where it’s the only way to cre­ate a feel­ing of spa­cious­ness. But you’ve got to pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to the in­te­rior de­sign of any open-con­cept area. That goes dou­ble if it’s a loft, where the sleep­ing area is part of the mix.

Open spa­ces have a unique set of de­sign prob­lems, says in­te­rior de­signer Karyn Wat­son, ex­plain­ing that the big­gest chal­lenge in a large space is defin­ing where the liv­ing, din­ing and other ar­eas will go.

The ba­sic rule of de­sign for any open con­cept, large or small, is con­sis­tency.

So when you’re work­ing with a big open space, you’ll make the most of it if you fol­low cer­tain guide­lines. Floor­ing In a big open space, the floor­ing is prob­a­bly the same through­out. The ba­sic rule for defin­ing floor spa­ces in a big open area is to use area rugs.

Area rugs de­fine a space by hold­ing a group of fur­ni­ture to­gether, says Wat­son.

But don’t go over­board— too many area rugs cre­ates a busy look. Less in more: Limit your­self to one area rug, she says, and get a good one. Colour Ju­di­cious use of colour will help de­fine ar­eas and cre­ate moods. Con­sis­tency plus ac­cents is the ba­sic rule for colour in large open ar­eas. Choose a re­ally great neu­tral and use it for most walls.

Re­mem­ber that walls in open spa­ces can ex­tend a long way into other parts of the house. So be­fore paint­ing, fol­low the flow of all the walls and see where there are cor­ners or nat­u­ral breaks. If you live in a vertical space, for ex­am­ple, you may find one wall that ex­tends up a floor or two and dic­tates colour choices in other ar­eas of the house.

Punch things up — and help de­fine ar­eas — by adding ac­cent walls in a dif­fer­ent colour.

Says Wat­son: Us­ing a block of ac­cent colour be­hind a fo­cal point — for ex­am­ple, mir­ror or paint­ing — cre­ates a fo­cus which helps to de­fine a space and break up long wall ar­eas.

When you’re think­ing colour, don’t just think of the walls. Re­mem­ber area rugs, art­work and ac­ces­sories.

Hang­ing art­work in group­ings is an­other way to de­fine ar­eas and take ad­van­tage of the colour in the art. Win­dows The con­sis­tency rule also ap­plies to win­dow treat­ments. What­ever you use, use it all over. Ceil­ings You weren’t think­ing about the ceil­ing, were you? Yet in a big open space, the ceil­ing can be just an im­por­tant as any­thing else in help­ing cre­ate or de- fine ar­eas.

Ceil­ing de­tails such as cof­fered ceil­ings and bulk­heads add el­e­ments that can be re­flected be­low without di­vid­ing the space, says Wat­son. Lighting Putting a chan­de­lier above the din­ing room ta­ble will de­fine the din­ing area. (Don’t for­get to in­stall a dim­mer switch.) Use lamps and pot lights to de­fine other ar­eas. Wat­son also rec­om­mends those free-stand­ing flex­i­blearm lamps to help cre­ate zones. Fur­ni­ture Fur­ni­ture group­ings are key to defin­ing ar­eas in open spa­ces. Benches, desks or even screens can cre­ate tran­si­tion ar­eas, says Wat­son.

But open spa­ces, by def­i­ni­tion, won’t have as many walls as smaller rooms so you have to find fur­ni­ture that looks as good from the back as it does from the front, and that can be used to sep­a­rate liv­ing ar­eas.

Sec­tional so­fas can look great when they stick out into a room. If you don’t want a sec­tional, cre­ate group­ings where peo­ple can chat eas­ily.

Re­mem­ber to keep your style con­sis­tent: Mix­ing mod­ern liv­ing room fur­ni­ture and a Vic­to­rian din­ing room suite in one room will be jar­ring.

And if your space is small, con­sider multi-pur­pose fur­ni­ture. One ex­am­ple is a cof­fee ta­ble that can be cranked up to din­ing level when needed.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Sec­tion­als, like the curved sofa in Larco’s Al­salce II model in Ottawa, are a use­ful dec­o­rat­ing tool when try­ing to de­fine the liv

ing area in an open space.

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