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What is the difference between open plan and broken plan living?

Hey Cats,
With the new year often we decide to finally get around to changing up our interior or getting around to finally doing that household renovation we wanted to do. Rooms that have more than one function are growing in popularity because lets face it we are all doing a million things at once in our busy schedules but how can we make them work best for us.
Many people create these rooms by opening up existing space by taking down a wall and creating an open or broken kitchen space. Together with Harvey Jones, fitters of bespoke fitted kitchens, we take a look at this new kitchen trend.

Using open-plan spaces


Entertaining at home has increased in social circles, wanting to have guests over for dinner and not have to run
back and forward to the kitchen leaving your guests lonely means multi-functional spaces have become more
needed in a household. With an open space cooks can now chat to their guests and not feel so stressed and
alone when hosting.

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This can also come in useful in every day life. If part of a family often the kids will be playing in another room
while the parents are cooking but with an open space you can keep an eye on the children whilst getting
chores done at the same time. A great way to bring all the family together from teens doing their homework
to toddlers in a playpen.

With the decrease in house sizes the need for open plan spaces is becoming a vital part of housing designs. This can help a property not only be multi functional but also open up tiny spaces so instead of having two small rooms that are difficult to use by opening this up the possibilities increase. Therefore it is important that you make this space work for you and ensure that it flows well together.

How can design move on from open-plan living?


In 2017 a new trend started as an answer to move forward from open plan. Broken plan living is thought to be
the trend which will take over from open plan spaces but what is it? The idea is to retain all the things you love
about open-plan – particularly the light and openness – however at the same time zoning the space to allow
for more privacy should . Rather than doing this with colours and textures as you would in a true open-plan
arrangements, broken-plan employs structural elements such as half-walls, dividing shelves, changing levels,
walls of glass and even mezzanines to delineate and formalise areas for different uses.  

How does broken plan look?


By partitioning sectioned areas to create new spaces, ‘walls’ can be created by using boxed shelving and other
furniture to define spaces that weren’t previously there in the room. The urge to cram all this space with
clutter may come over you but to keep the space light an airy it is best to instead stylise these shelves with
a few of your favourite pieces this will allow light to fall through, consider just knocking down half a wall and
leaving the top open, allowing sight-lines through but at the same time giving you more wall space to play
with. While hatches should remain a distinctly 70s invention, a larger aperture in the wall between a kitchen
and sitting room, for example, is a workable and modern substitute.
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Using furniture while a great way to part and define a room should be done sparingly and subtly. Also, consider building in pocket doors that will slide out of sight into the walls when you want to join two rooms but can be closed quickly to create separation when needed.
As well as this trend, Crittall-style windows have also become a popular interior design trend. Metal framed
windows and sometimes doors traditionally used in industrial spaces or as exterior walls onto gardens have
celebrity fans such as TV presenter and architect George Clarke, who celebrates their ability to cleverly divide
an internal space without shutting off one room totally from another.

Broken-plan spaces can accommodate changing floor and ceiling heights – helping to bring spaces together
that usually wouldn’t work as an open plan space. With broken-plan living, the options are unlimited when
it comes to your interior design space.


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