5 Tips for Decorating Apartments with Open Floorplans

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5 Tips for Decorating Apartments with Open Floorplans

Staff Writer · Apr 2, 2010

Apartments with open floorplans present very unique decorating difficulties. Maintaining the space’s open feel while developing sufficiently separated spaces to prevent the room from appearing undecorated requires forethought and planning. There are 5 tips to consider when decorating an open floor plan.

1. Consider the Space

Survey the space, making note of its overall size and layout and any natural divisions it might contain. For example, does the wall push in or out in any particular place? If so, you might be able to use that as an invisible line to separate the space into two rooms. The beginning of carpet, or a countertop or a support pole may also provide such a separation.

If only a few rooms are to be contained in the open space, take note of whether it is essential that the spaces be used for one purpose or another. Typically, architects subtly designate the uses for particular areas, but you may not need to follow their guidelines depending on your furniture and tastes.

2. Consider Your Use of the Space

Is the entire apartment an open space, such as a loft, or is the space intended to be used as a combined living and dining room only? What you need to put in the space for its utilization should be functional and flow easily with the other furniture.

At this time, make note of whether certain furniture must be placed in a specific area. For instance if the cable connection is only on one wall, the television must be placed against that wall. Facts such as these may also affect placement of other furniture. In the previous example a sofa or other sitting area must be placed in an area so the television screen was viewable.

3. Start Big and Straight

An open room is meant to be open but that does not mean that you cannot or should not create natural divisions between different uses. The best way to do this is to start with those larger pieces having straight lines, such as a sofa, dining room table or buffet. Because these pieces are larger and often the focal point of their respective rooms, they will create the feeling that the space is intended to be for the use provided by the furniture, which will in turn create the sensation of the area being separated.

The reason why it is important to start with the pieces of furniture with straight lines is that, in addition to creating a feeling for the space, they may also create a specific division line. The straight back of a sofa, for instance, can create a literal line between living and dining spaces.

4. Leave Room to Walk and Move

The difficulty in decorating open spaces is that you are trying to create a unified space with different purposes that still feels open. When arranging your furniture and decorating, it is important to create the illusory and not literal divisions.

However, this does not remove the need for a few pieces that will create divisions. At times, a screen or other semi-opaque barrier will provided the needed privacy for a bedroom or desk in a completely open floor plan.

5. Never Underestimate Color and Decor

An open floor plan flows together seamlessly. Because of this, glaring disparities in paint color or themes will stand out and make the room appear choppy. While you can use different colors to indicate different spaces, make certain to keep them within the same theme. It is also a good idea to use one, neutral paint color through the open space. Drawing a line down a wall to start a new color will look terrible and unnatural. You can still use color in artwork and other décor to gracefully separate the rooms.

Because they commonly need to be used for multiple purposes, open floor plans create several decorating challenges. Remember that while color can be used to indicate separation, it should not be the main indication of such as it will seem glaring and abnormal. Use the natural lines in your furniture and the walls as guidelines for arranging the room. Most importantly, though, decorate to maintain the feel of the open space since that is what most likely drew you to the apartment.

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