Have you heard of ‘broken plan’ living? Apparently it’s the new open plan living. Confused? So were we. So we set out to find out about this new trend, and how to apply it to modern living.
What is open plan living?
Although we’re sure you know all about this one, we just thought we’d recap on what open plan living is. It refers to the removal of barriers such as doors and walls which traditionally separated the home into different functional spaces, for example cooking and dining. It’s become very popular, for several reasons.
- It creates a much lighter, airier space, which works well in smaller builders
- It allows home to flow more naturally – for example, you can use the same flooring right through the house
- It promotes sociable, family life, as everyone tends to congregate in the same space
There are a few downsides, though.
- It can be noisy, and cooking smells from an open plan kitchen can drift through the house
- It can be harder to find privacy if you need it
- Heating can be more expensive, as you’re having to heat a larger space
- Storage can be a problem, as there are fewer walls to put it cupboards and shelves against. It can also be a problem finding a home for pictures or large pieces of furniture for the same reason.
So what is broken plan living?
Broken plan living is the next logical progression from the idea of ‘zoning’, which involved dividing an open plan space into dedicated zones by means of a screen or similar. The idea is that it keeps all the advantages of open plan living, including light and space, but allows you define your living areas more specifically.
Instead of using temporary barriers like screens or sofas, broken plan living is built into the fabric of the house. For example, you might choose to divide the space in one large room into a living and dining area by creating a step from one space to the other, changing the ceiling height of one side or using statement walls. Statement walls serve to define the space rather than enclose it completely, so you might have a wall that only extends a couple of feet out into the foot to create a visual barrier. Another idea is to create a wall that’s purely decorative and has spaces in it such as missing bricks or windows. This allows the light to come through, while dividing the space.
If you didn’t want to do any major work on your house, you could play around with the broken plan idea by using different colours, finishes and textures in each half of the room to define its purpose, making them as bold and different as possible. You could also use semi-permanent partitions such as shelving units, bookcases or display units.
We can see that broken plan living offers several advantages, such as:
- Increased privacy
- More storage space – more walls!
- Each area of the space has a specific function, which can help when trying to keep things tidy
The disadvantages we can think of are as follows:
- While it should help a little with noise, it wouldn’t help with cooking smells
- It might be expensive to convert an open plan space into a broken plan space or to find reliable glass suppliers for your next project.
- You’ve still got the same heating problem
Ultimately, the one that you choose depends on you and your lifestyle. Broken plan living is a more flexible approach, and creates a less stark space than true open plan living. You have lots of finishing options in the shape of half walls, central fireplaces, glass walls and furniture, so you create a space that’s really personal to you. If you’re thinking of redesigning your home, it’s worth speaking to an interior designer to get a few ideas, as they’ll be able to look at the space with fresh eyes.
All images: Pixabay28