The Designer-Approved Tricks to Making an Open Floor Plan Cozier

More and more homes are built with open floor plans that combine the kitchen and living room, but this doesn't make decorating them any easier.

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These days, it's not uncommon to find a kitchen open to the living room, creating a massive open space that can be difficult to decorate. It's easy to find out if you ask the professionals. According to Dallas-based designer Jean Liu of Jean Liu Design, "while the ability to live in a larger space with multiple functions is so popular, designing these types of rooms in a seamless, thoughtful, and cohesive way can prove trickier than it appears." Creative director of Memphis, Sean Anderson, concurs: "Open spaces can pose a multitude of design challenges, but it doesn't have to be intimidating." "

Read on if, like many others, you find yourself wondering where everything goes when there are fewer walls. We asked 10 Southern designers to share their best career tips and lessons learned.

I. Graham Yelton

Dana Wolter, owner of Dana Wolter Interiors in Birmingham, Alabama, says an open floor plan can feel more cozy with the help of an oversized rug and a repeating pattern. To "tie the spaces together," she says, "we like to use a rug that is as large as possible—or placing two rugs together to create one large rug." For a sense of uniformity and harmony across the space, we also use the same pillow fabrics and color schemes throughout. "

A. Nathan Schroder

Jean Liu of Dallas, Texas's Jean Liu Design employs color and strategic furniture placement to elicit a sense of warmth. To make a big room feel more intimate and to make the most of the room's functionality, she says, "some of our top tips for making these spaces successful include developing multiple furniture arrangements." When putting the finishing touches on the room's furniture arrangements, it can be helpful to think about using a uniform color scheme for everything. In any case, don't let the medium We're big fans of mixing and matching different materials, textures, and eras. "

Rett Peek

According to Sean Anderson, a designer based in Memphis, the key to a well-integrated and practical open space is a consideration of To paraphrase what he has to say about this topic: "Having furnishings and decor that are appropriately sized can make a cavernous space feel balanced and even intimate." Using rugs to create the illusion of separate rooms within a larger space is a great way to make the most of your floor space. "

It's me, Cynthia Lynn Kim

Brynn Olson, a designer, thinks space preparation is the most important part of the process. As she puts it, "warmth and comfort" are "laid out in the groundwork when your space is planned out with furnishings with defined purpose arranged in a way that invites you in." Inspirational words of wisdom from her Place separate groups of chairs next to one another "We frequently do this by putting sofas back to back or by incorporating a tete-a-tete or daybed that links the spaces, if appropriate." "

Kendra Surface did the styling for Brie Williams.

In an open floor plan, I always try to float the furniture," says Gray Walker of Gray Walker Interiors in Charlotte. I aim for spaces that are easy to navigate, with generous clearances and inviting gathering spots. Anchoring the walls with substantial works of art, they give the "shell" of the plan greater visual weight. I prefer an open floor plan with ceiling-to-floor artwork and free-floating furniture. All the drama you can handle, without sacrificing any of the intimacy, in one place is practically limitless in a large room. Since all the rooms are interconnected, it's best to stick with a single paint color for the entire open area. "

A Word From Lisa Petrole

Dallas-based interior designer Jan Showers of Jan Showers & Associates describes the process of unifying a sizable living area for her clients. She explains how they made the most of their space by separating a large room into functional zones for different activities: "We used a huge room and divided it into areas that were perfect for the living room, dining room, bar, and kitchen "When there's enough space, it's a lot simpler." I've worked on spaces even smaller than this, where the scale had to be adjusted accordingly. In terms of interior design, scale is everything. "

It's Andrea Calo.

In an open floor plan, "definition of space is more important than ever." According to Avery Cox of Avery Cox Design in Austin, "otherwise, everything feels like it's just swirling around on an open sea." Her top advice She says, "I like to lean on decorative pieces like area rugs, oversized lighting, and paired furniture to create depth, rhythm, and visual rest through architectural elements like subtle ceiling changes, arched openings, and color." My plan is to bring order out of the chaos by scattering large anchors across the landscape of your wide open space. If you are feeling overwhelmed, begin with a large scale sofa, a saturated swath of paint color, a giant chandelier, or a large rug. Always use scale, light, and color to establish visual hierarchy and give a large room a sense of ease and purpose. "

R Higgins Furnishings & Interiors

Roger Higgins, owner of R. Higgins Interiors in Nashville, is a firm believer in the transformative power of paint for large, open spaces. If you have a monochromatic room, he suggests painting the doors, woodwork, or ceiling a contrasting color to create visual interest and division. The placement of lights and how they are used can also serve to define an area. The use of sconces, for instance, can make a room feel cozier, while the use of larger, overhanging fixtures can help visually divide a seating area. "

Invention Factory Heacox

Designer Mary Clair Cumbaa of Mississippi's Cumbaa Design Company says, "Something people don't always realize about open floor plans is that it allows you to make the kitchen shine in the home." Furthermore, by coordinating the design of the kitchen and living room, you can make family get-togethers run smoothly and efficiently. Seeing as how most family time is spent in the kitchen and living room, an open layout in these spaces is highly desirable. "

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Urbanology Designs' Ginger Curtis in Dallas agrees that open floor plans are a fantastic perk of modern life. She says, "I always try to remind my clients that there are endless possibilities that can unfold while working with big spaces, like an open living room concept." An open plan's greatest strength is its adaptability, Space planning will begin to make sense once you have identified the most vital areas of your home and the preferred gathering spots for your family. "

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