The open plan kitchen diner is now irreversibly part of our ideal of modern interior design.
Easy to clean, sociable, and infinitely versatile, this flexible living space represents the heart of the modern family home.
But when space is an issue and you need to squeeze a lot of value out of small space, what can you do? How can you use interior design to literally create space?
Here are some easy-to-implement design ideas that just might help you save some space in your open plan living room. If you’ve got a smaller condo or apartment to work with — but still have big dreams — you’re going to love these tips…
On a budget? Check out these 12 inexpensive home design ideas.
Clever storage that doubles up
Storage should be multifunctional and practical. One of the most important functions of modern storage should be looking good whilst creating more space.
Ban the clunky dresser and the empty shelves of days gone by, and embrace the practical chest that doubles up as table, the ottoman with hidden storage, and the beautiful bench with hidden compartments.
Using furniture as storage (and vice versa) is a quick and easy way to incorporate more space into your design.
Make storing and storage fun, and if you can afford it, make the most of your kitchen space by installing smart storage that make the most of all available cupboard space by being completely bespoke and custom.
Illusion of space
When you can’t make space, create the illusion of it. Light countertops and colors on the wall can help reflect the space and light you do have.
Natural light can also be maximized by using mirrors and corners to help draw the eye away from clutter or busy parts of the room.
Even just opening up the room with a window or a skylight can help create continuity in this multifunctional space.
And don’t be afraid of color either: feature walls and pops of color can help draw the eye to the more spacious elements of the room.
Tip: Ripping out a cupboard or two might help you open up the passage between kitchen and living room, but don’t forget to plan for some storage space in you new sleek design.
Use design tools to trial the space
It’s amazing how just a little planning and moving can totally re-align your space.
Online interior design tools can help you rethink your space and test out new furniture configurations without the sweat and expense.
Tip: Be wary of impulse furniture or paint buys and always have a plan for what you need to buy before you head out shopping.
Versatile & modern furniture
You need to invest in versatile and modern furniture pieces that are going to work in such a dynamic space.
Whether it’s the kind of modern furniture for your living room sold by the likes of Furniturebox, or salvaged and upcycled kitchen units from your local recycling center, make sure that you only buy and invest in pieces that are durable, easy to clean, and work for your overall design aesthetic.
Buying sets of furniture can be a good way to save, but don’t skimp on quality when it comes to high-use items — you’ll only be buying another table six months down the line. Get furniture that’s compact and practical, rather than showy and ornate.
Design for the everyday
To paraphrase IKEA, everyday living is what matters.
Only two people eating at the table on a regular basis? Ditch the big table and go for something more realistic. Instant space-saver!
Don’t create a design that’s more at home at a kitchen and living showroom than in your own home.
Make your design decisions around how you actually use the space as a family.
Open plan kitchens and living rooms are fun and lively spaces. Make your design about use and interior design and you’ll create a space you’ll all love to relax and socialize in.