Hi everyone. How are you? Friday afternoon, just popping on very quickly to talk about open-plan living. You know it’s a really popular way to renovate a house, to pull out a whole lot of walls. But you know what? It’s not always the right thing.

You might have watched my video the other day where I said that we would have a problem with the kitchen when we pulled out that wall, which we did, but I ended up putting in a sort of part wall anyway to create a bit of an open plan feel.

So I just wanted to talk about that a bit. Before thinking about let’s pull out this wall or that wall, the best thing to do is to draw up your plan. Draw up the shell of the house, the footprint. Draw in the walls, then draw it up without the walls and work out where everything is going to go. Don’t just assume that once you take the walls out everything is going to work out fine because if you’ve got too many windows and not enough wall, you can sometimes get stuck with how you layout your furniture.

So what designers often do if we don’t have a lot of wall space, we will put furniture in the middle of the room. So, for instance, we won’t generally (sometimes you do, obviously) in a situation like that put sofas up against all the walls. We’d centre them in the room, if that makes sense and then obviously the same sort of thing with the dining room table and whatever else.

But, instead of putting the furniture in the middle of the room and hoping it’s going to work, each of the individual spaces that are part of the open-plan area need to be anchored. So, what I mean by anchored is, so for instance in a dining room, you’ve got your dining table, and if you just put the dining table there and you’ve got nothing else, it’s going to feel a bit like it doesn’t belong.

The way you can make it feel like it belongs is to do a pendant light over the top of the dining table. You could also, if this practical for your family, put a rug under the table. That is not practical for my family, so I totally understand if it isn’t for you. But that’s a really good way to anchor a dining space to kind of give it a bit more ownership in that area. Also doing some sort of decoration on top of the table. You don’t want to do too much. You kind of want to do two out of those three things I mentioned. It’s a bit of a rule of thumb, I suppose.

And then what you do to anchor your lounge furniture, you do a rug there as well. You do a coffee table in the middle, and you can do some sort of decoration on the tables. So what you’re trying to do is create a focal point in the centre of those areas.

A kitchen doesn’t really need it because it’s quite a solid thing in its own right, so it doesn’t tend to need that. What it does need, generally, is to define that space from the rest, and the way we often do that is with pendant lighting. So you’ll see lots of kitchens with pendant lights over the breakfast bar. What that does is firstly, it looks nice, but the other reason it looks really good is because it’s defining that area. You still have the open plan feel, but it’s giving that kind of line of here’s the kitchen, here’s the dining, here’s the living room.

So just think about it before you go pulling out any walls. Whether it’s in the living room, dining or whatever, for an open-plan feel in your living spaces, or whether it’s in other rooms of your house, it’s really important to plan out how your furniture is going to go and to make sure it’s practical for the way you want to live.

So I hope that’s helpful. I’ll jump on again next week and in the meantime have an awesome weekend. See you.