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Open Layout Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

Thinking about taking down a wall between your living room and kitchen to make it an open concept space? Or perhaps you’re building a new home with an open layout. Either way, the rules for designing and decorating an open concept living and kitchen space are different from homes with a “broken concept.” Today, we’re taking a look at common open concept design mistakes and how to correct them in your home.

Mistake #1: No Zoning

Typically walls create different zones in the home. But with an open concept, homeowners must use their furniture and accessories and a bit of imagination to create zones. One mistake that’s often made to establish these zones is choosing different flooring for each space. Go for the same flooring throughout the open living space to create continuity. Split the living space from the kitchen and dining area with your furniture. Use your couches to split the area and establish the living room zone. Add rugs and end tables along with vertical layers like curtains to further establish and add interest to the space.

Mistake #2: Incorporating Too Many Different Styles

We mentioned continuity in mistake number one. Continuity is key to keeping your open concept space from looking like a mismatched mess. Don’t overcomplicate a simple open floor plan by trying to incorporate multiple styles into one space. Choose one style to work throughout the open living area or even the entire home. Select furniture and accessories that vary in color and material but mesh with one another visually. Soften the space with pillows, throws, rugs, and curtains.

Mistake #3: The Kitchen Design Doesn’t Match the Rest of the Space

A traditional kitchen design doesn’t flow at all with a modern design. Again, that word continuity is key when designing an open concept space. Choose colors, cabinet styles, backsplashes, and countertops that suit the rest of the home’s decor and design.

Mistake #4: Furniture That is too Big

Big, bulky furniture doesn’t work well in an open-concept space for a few reasons. Bulky furniture inhibits the sense of flow and your moving around space. Ideally, “thoroughfares” should be at least 35 to 40 inches wide. Large furniture also inhibits your sightline and cuts through the space in a negative way. Too much furniture can also bulk up an open living area, so choosing double-duty furniture, like an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table, helps prevent this problem.

Mistake #5: Bringing Your Old Style into a New Space

Like we said before, the rules for an open concept home are different from other homes. So, it makes sense to completely re-think how you design and style your new space. If you can, sell or donate your old furniture because it likely won’t work well in the new design. Look at the home with fresh eyes. Design tip: Choose one neutral color for the walls of the entire open kitchen and living space for that, you guessed it, continuity of space.

Mistake #6: Poor Furniture Placement

It’s tempting to arrange your furniture as you did in your old space, but furniture against the walls just doesn’t work in an open concept design. Try placing your furniture in the middle of the floor space instead. And when you are selecting your living room furniture, consider sofas with low backs that increase sightline.

Mistake #7: Too Many or Too Few Different Materials

Maybe you want to create a bit of drama for your new space. That’s great! But be careful with going overboard on different materials. For instance, if you have a lot of hard materials in your kitchen, like stone, add curves and warmth to the living space with a softer material like wood.

Want an interior design that speaks to you and flows naturally? Professional interior designers, like our in-house designer at McCarley Cabinets, are experts at doing just that. Let us design your cabinets and countertops throughout your home and you’ll get exclusive design help from our interior designer. Click here to get started by requesting a free project quote.

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