7 Ways to Define Spaces in an Open Concept Floor Plan

July 26, 2022

Open concept floor plans provide a lot of room and flexibility with interior design. Because there is so much room and these spaces are often great rooms, it’s important to define and separate spaces within the floor plan in a way that makes sense. Here are a few ways to define spaces in an open concept floor plan:

1. Position Furniture in Groups

One of the easiest ways to define spaces in an open concept floor plan is to position furniture related to a specific space or zone into groups. By placing related furniture together in closer proximity to furniture in another zone, you automatically create a visual of those furniture pieces being a group.

Grouping furniture and leaving space between groups can also help you create pathways to navigate the room and direct foot traffic. Doing this and considering common footpaths as you arrange the room are some of the great room layout ideas you can use to define space in an open concept floor plan, even if it’s not technically considered a great room.

Depending on your furniture and how you decide to arrange it throughout the entire space, grouping can be enough to define spaces. In other cases, it may not be enough on its own to define spaces the way you want. If this is the case, you can pair grouping with other methods to create more clearly defined spaces.

2. Change the Angle of Furniture Groupings

In addition to grouping related furniture together to create a space, you can also define separate spaces or furniture groupings by changing the angle at which they are placed. Instead of angling two separate furniture groups parallel to each other, switch up the angle of one of them.

It doesn’t even have to be a full perpendicular switch to make a difference; even a slight angle change away from a smooth parallel flow can be enough to create definition and separation. One of the great room design mistakes is pushing furniture to the walls. Placing some space between the walls and furniture and playing with angles can help you avoid this mistake and make better use of the space.

3. Use Colors to Subtly Separate Spaces

One of the great room design ideas is to use the same colors in different ways. Although you can make this work to help define spaces in an open concept floor plan, you can also take it further and use specific pops of color or higher concentrations of one color to separate spaces and tie groups of furniture together in a specific zone.

You will still want to stick with colors that make sense with your interior design theme and color palette, but you can also get creative with complementary contrasts too. If you have a more neutral palette and blues, greens, and earthy tones in your palette, you can use a higher concentration of blue accents in one space/zone, greens in another, etc. This is a subtle way to define spaces while still tying everything together.

4. Put Down Area Rugs

Despite carpet being a less popular flooring material, strategically-placed area rugs are one of the popular flooring trends that can also help create zones. Putting down area rugs that are the right size, color, shape, etc. for the space you want to create is an easy way to define spaces in an open concept.

Using rugs to help anchor the room is one of the formal living room ideas that can enhance the room and can help define spaces in great rooms and other open-concept layouts. Using this approach, spaces only become more defined when paired with other strategies like furniture grouping, color, and more. Area rugs also give you another opportunity to play with patterns and colors in a way that won’t overwhelm the space. It’s also one of the ideas for decorating with plaid

5. Use Lighting to Create Centers and Edges

Lighting is essential to any space and even within a large space, it can help you create centers and edges for the spaces you want to define. Pendant lighting, a chandelier, or other types of ceiling light can create a focal point or center for a sitting area or workspace.

You can also place other lighting options throughout the room to help define the edges of a space. If it’s dark outside and other lights are off, where does the light from this lamp or other type of lighting taper off/end? With that in mind, you can ensure that the defined spaces within your floor plan have plenty of light that tapers off as it reaches a separation point.

6. Make the Ceiling Work in Your Favor

Vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, tray ceilings, dropped ceilings, ceiling accents, and more are all potential ceiling types and ceiling design elements that can work in your favor for an open concept room.

If you are set on arranging spaces in a certain way or you have areas of the floor plan you know will tend to always be a specific type of space, like a dining area, you can further define spaces with the ceiling around that area and the lighting.

7. Create a Visual Divider

With a feature like a sunken living room, there is a clear visual divide and definition within a space. Without features like that, you can create visual dividers in other ways. Open concept floor plans lack walls for a reason, but you can still create the illusion of a wall, partial wall, or visual divider with furniture.

A bookshelf, table, privacy screen, decorative panel room divider, folding screen, etc. can help you create a visual divider to define spaces in an open concept floor plan. This could be more subtle like a low bookshelf or a table behind a sofa or a bookshelf or room divider that sticks out like a wall to define, divide, and separate spaces.

The extra space and flexible layout are some of the benefits of open concept floor plans. Working with your custom home builder to use one or more of these ways to define spaces in an open concept floor plan can help you make the most of this type of space in your custom home.

If you’re interested in bringing your dream home to life, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090 to get started on your own custom home!