Broken Plan Living - The Best of Both Worlds

 31 Jul 2018

Home-life is changing: the twenty-somethings are taking longer to fly the nest, more work is being done from home, phones and tablets mean we no longer all sit around one TV at night and meals aren’t always eaten together. So how does this affect the home itself?


It appears that the popularity of open-plan living is waning. The trend for one large open space has shifted to a layout that incorporates more defined areas that better accommodate the change in how families interact (or not!) at home, but still with the feeling of light and space that open-plan allows.


‘Broken-plan’ is a term coined by architect Mary Duggan, and perfectly sums up this increasingly popular use of space. It’s all about creating different zones, for cooking, eating, relaxing and socialising, so that instead of one do-it-all living space, the family has specific areas which allow for more privacy and ‘cosiness’.


So how do you create a broken-plan living space? Clever use of free-standing units, shelves and balustrades create physical - and mental - partitions without blocking light, widening doorways rather than knocking down walls allows an area to feel bigger while still maintaining separation. Mezzanine floors can work well, adding a new room and defining a zone. Steps also help to add a visual segregation even if there is no other barrier.


If you don’t want to make any structural changes, it’s also possible to create zones with clever interior ideas. Use different flooring, lighting, wall colours, and furniture to distinguish areas.


This flexible, broken-plan living extends to the kitchen. It’s often a popular choice to open up a small kitchen by knocking through to an under-used dining room or even living room, giving the homeowner a large, light space to cook and socialise at the same time. But opening up a kitchen can mean that some clever partitions are even more of a necessity to ensure you escape the visual reminders of piles of washing and dirty dishes.


Similarly with the layout of the kitchen itself and the positioning of appliances - homeowners don’t always want kettles, toasters, blenders and microwaves cluttering up worktops. The challenge is for both manufacturers and kitchen designers to address this and find ways of incorporating cleverly positioned zones that aren’t immediately visible.


Ben Russell, director at Arlington Interiors agrees that this is becoming a common theme among customers: “This is definitely a request we’re hearing more and more. Customers like the idea of open-plan kitchens but features such as islands are still very popular and help to maintain some separation from the living space. They also want somewhere that they can store and readily access certain items, for example, a toaster in a ‘breakfast cupboard’.


Gold Zip HydroTap


“With the rise in popularity in filtered drinking water taps, such as Zip’s HydroTap, we’re seeing customers ask for them to be installed within a dedicated drinks area with its own section of worktop and concealed behind doors.


Marketing director at Zip, Russell Owens, agrees: “The layout of the home has become increasingly important as our habits change, and this is certainly true of the kitchen. Having more open spaces but with defined areas, means the kitchen is a lot more ‘on show’ rather than being tucked away at the back of the house. As a result, people are paying more attention to how the kitchen looks, not just its functions.


“Our HydroTaps offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of installation, which means should a customer want a dedicated drinks station, installing it on a separate font will negate the need for another sink. Alternatively, with our stunning range of Platinum range finishes and matching mixer taps, customers may want their tap over-sink or out on display - they have been known to make visitors envious!”