Designing the perfect open-plan space

If you’re planning on creating your own open-plan living space, then functionality should be at the forefront of your mind. While you’ll want it to be a luxurious space to spend time in, try to ensure that your open-plan room is well-designed for everyday life…

Glazed extensions will add space to your home and bring you closer to the outdoors at any time of the year. A garden room’s openness will make everything feel bigger, and the glazing will let light flood into the space from all angles. They are an investment that will create a striking feature, but they will also improve the way you use your home with a new, spacious layout. You’re creating your dream home, so you’ll want to design a space that works perfectly for you and your family.

Plan around your glazing

Think about the direction your extension will face, and which areas will get the sun. You might like to open up the doors to connect a particularly sunny garden spot with your inside space or want to create easy access to shaded areas. It entirely depends on your own preferences. No matter what orientation you have, choosing the right glazing will help to regulate the temperatures.

Smeared or smudged glass looks unsightly and can ruin the very best of garden views. Keeping your glazing sparkling with regular cleaning will be required, so keep in mind that you’ll need space to put up a ladder and safely clean any hard to reach spots.

If your neighbours are likely to have a good view of your glazed garden room, you might want to think about how your design will allow for privacy when the evenings draw in and the lights come on. If possible, position chairs and couches in less visible areas of the room, or consider how foldable room dividers, blinds, or curtains can be drawn at night while looking discreet during the day.

Year-round living

A garden room or orangery comes into its own in the summer, when you can open up the doors and come and go between the extension and the garden, and it’s usually this experience that homeowners desire. However, an extension is an investment which will create an inspiring interior that you will want to spend time in at any time of year.

Think about the activities that are important to you, and how you might incorporate these activities into your extension. If you have family and friends over for birthdays, Christmas, or other celebrations – will you need more space than originally planned? If your children like to gather together to do their homework in the evenings, why not include a long table with plenty of space for books and worksheets so you can keep an eye on them while you cook dinner. If your morning ritual includes reading the newspaper with a cup of tea, then consider adding a breakfast bar.

Cooking up a storm

If you love entertaining, then ensure easy access to the kitchen for effortless dinner parties and BBQs. The connection between the house and the garden will open up the space, allowing guests to mingle before settling down to eat.

If you’re planning on having a new kitchen and dining room extension, think about positioning the kitchen further back into the house with the dining room in the glazed section. Kitchen storage and cabinets will work better against solid walls, and you can enjoy the views into your garden while you eat at the table.

The kitchen appliances will need a lot of consideration, as you don’t want the family movie night disrupted by the loud hum of the dishwasher. The Quiet Mark has a range of noise reduction products that will allow for a quiet kitchen, with everything from washing machines and kettles to coffee machines and fridges.

Avoid fitting reflective materials where the room is predominantly made up of glazing because there will already be high levels of natural light streaming into the room and you’ll want to avoid too much glare. Think about the colour and reflectivity of walls, kitchen units, appliances, worktops, TV screens, and splashbacks when you are designing your kitchen.

In the zone

An open-plan layout is ideal for maximising on space, but they can sometimes look a little empty or lack definition without the help of walls. If you’re including a kitchen, then use islands and peninsulas to create a cooking space while adding plenty of worktop space and storage. Chefs and designated kitchen assistants will appreciate being able to face everyone else in the room, rather than cooking dinner with their backs turned so try to position key features like hobs and sinks in the middle, rather than against the wall.

Use furniture to define living and dining spaces, rather than pushing it right up against the wall. This will immediately create separate areas within the room, and homeowners love being able to move the furniture around to change the size and shape of the zones whenever they wish. At the design stage, however, think about where you might need plug sockets for lamps, televisions or sound systems if you want to place these in the middle of the room.  

Flooring is one of the easiest ways to define the different areas of the room. An on-trend option is to make a statement by going for decorative tiling in smaller sections of the room, whether it’s framing your dining table or surrounding your kitchen island.

These Encaustic Patchwork Satin floor tiles include a random mix of designs, which you can lay together in a pattern or combine with plain tiles for different effects. Keep the rest of your room neutral to let the patterns pop, or go for an on-trend ‘maximalist’ style by layering colours and patterns.