The past several decades have seen a transition in floor plans and home layouts from separate, distinct, and defined spaces toward more fluid, open-concept exchanges. Modern homes today may not have specific walled-in rooms for living, eating, and dining. (Some don’t even have a separate place for sleeping.) But that’s not to say that these spaces don’t exist in the modern home. They’re just delineated differently.
Here’s a look at 25 beautifully laid out modern “open concept” spaces…and what makes them work. Check them out, and prepare to be inspired.
A Narrow Hallway-esque Main Floor Space.
It’s not uncommon for modern condos, townhomes, and apartments to be designed in more of a line shape than rectangular. This requires creativity in special definition, but it makes an open floor plan vital to the flow of the space. When the floor plan is linear, the dining room is a natural divider of kitchen and living room – it’s a prime transitional space because the dining room combines the entertaining factor of the living room with the food factor of the kitchen.
When possible, in a narrow floor plan, it’s also a good idea to think vertically. Maximize square footage by using several floors to your advantage.
A Floor Plan Involving Modular, Chunky Sections. Some floor plans are designed around one central “hub,” which could be a specific space (such as the dining room) or the absence of a specific space (such as a furniture-free zone that leads to every other space). The modular room “units” can be set apart by stairs or half-walls, but even wall-less designs can have the same effect of great design and flow.
Glass & Mirrors Provide “Invisible” Space Definition.
For the same reasons that Lucite and acrylic furniture are great choices when visual light-weightness is needed, glass and mirrors as part of a space’s architecture are imperative for a fresh, modern feel. Glass surfaces are noticeable but visually disappear in the grand scheme of a space, which provides the benefit of structure and safety without abrupt aesthetic interruptions and distractions.
Glass is especially imperative for integrated indoor/outdoor spaces as part of an open floor plan…in its most literal sense.
Furniture Arrangement as a Visual Divide.
When we talk about “open concept” in its broadest terms, we’re usually referring to something where the air can travel freely among spaces. Wall-free. But because walls provide inherent and obvious dividing cues, when they’re absent, those cues must be provided more creatively. Furniture and accessories layout, for example, is an excellent way of providing the aesthetic communication of space – rugs, sofas, chairs, tables. The way these items are arranged in an open (wall-less) floor plan is critical to maximizing its sense of flow and purpose.
Consider where and how you want people to gather in your space, then arrange furnishings accordingly.
Un-used Space (“White Space”) as a Visual Divide.
Blank, empty space can be a powerful tool in a truly modern open concept space. In a style where extra objects and visual clutter are typically avoided, it makes sense that white space is a prime method of defining spaces. Where possible (as in, when the overall square footage is large enough that you can feasibly get away with it), use slightly-larger-than-normal widths for walkways and hallways. This provides a sort of visual bubble around each specific space within the whole…without throwing in anything extra to close up the open floor plan.
What are your thoughts on modern open floor plans? What makes them successful – still cozy and lived-in, rather than a large, cold space?