From half walls to internal glass doors, these neat solutions are a masterclass in broken-plan living
Houzz UK and Ireland Editor.
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Love the airiness of an open-plan layout but want to retain some pockets of privacy and cosiness? A broken-plan layout could be just the ticket. Here are nine rooms on Houzz that show you just how to do it with style.
Get a glass partition wall
This is a really neat solution for sectioning off an open-plan kitchen and a living space without blocking the light flow from one side to the other.
By dividing the room with glazed panels taken right up to the roof, there is a distinct division of the space but the cooking and relaxing areas still stay intrinsically linked, while none of the sense of height and space of the large room is lost, as it would be with a solid partition wall.
This is the view from the other side of the partition.
Maximise a half wall
The layout of the top floor of this London mews house is open-plan at heart, but the addition of a half wall between the kitchen and living space divides up the room to create two distinct zones, while also solving the common dilemma of where to put the TV in an open-plan space.
If you want to introduce an element of broken-plan living into an open-plan space without interrupting any sightlines, a low wall like this a neat solution. It also allows you to bring in the practical elements often missing in an open-plan space such as storage, or, as in this case, a low bench seat.
Divide with a fireplace
Here, a large open-plan living area has been neatly divided with the addition of a tall fireplace with see-through glass doors either side, allowing a line of sight from one side to another while clearly dividing up the space into two living areas – a main seating area on this side and a smaller snug behind.
The neat firewood ‘wall’ next to the fireplace is a practical addition, as well as providing another division between the two spaces.
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Put in open shelving
Every inch of space has to work hard in this tiny studio apartment, so the clever central dividing wall fulfils multiple functions. The open shelving provides much-needed storage, at the same time as clearly dividing the sleeping and living areas, but by keeping the shelving open, light filters through to the ‘bedroom’ from the ‘living room’.
One of the cleverest elements of this studio, though, is the rotating central element in the shelving unit that swivels. It means the TV can be viewed from either the living space or the sleeping area behind the unit.
8 more stylish and multitasking studio spaces
Bring bifold doors indoors
A popular choice for connecting the indoors to the outside, bifold doors can also be a smart solution if you want to add flexibility to an open-plan ground floor.
Here, they offer the option to close off the kitchen-diner from the rest of the house when required, but fold back almost invisibly against the wall when not in use.
Carve out an office
If your main living area also needs to double up as an office space, you’ll probably want to create a quieter working zone away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In an open-plan layout this can be difficult to do, but the beauty of a ‘broken-plan’ design like this, with a glass wall dividing the space into two clear areas, is that you gain an extra room without cutting off light and garden views.
Try extra wide ‘doorways’
The downstairs rooms in this new-build home are connected via oversized room openings in place of internal doors, which allow the spaces to feel visually connected while still giving pockets of privacy in each room.
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This is the view from the opposite direction. It nicely demonstrates how each room on the ground floor flows from one to the other while still enabling each space to retain a separate identity.
Zone with contrasting colours
This open-plan living room and kitchen are neatly divided without the need for walls thanks to a clear change of floor material and wall colour. The deep inky blue colour of the living room creates a snug den-like space that feels warm and inviting, while the white walls of the kitchen beyond offer a bright and airy contrast.
Switching from warm wooden floorboards in the snug area to industrial-style concrete in the kitchen-diner further reinforces this division of space.
Build a central storage unit
This is another example of a hard-working dividing wall creating clearly marked out zones and ‘breaking’ up an open-plan room.
By placing the storage wall right in the centre of the space, the large room becomes two connected but individual areas. And by building in lots of storage, the dividing wall works hard for its keep, allowing everyday items to be stashed out of sight and keeping the large room clutter free.
What do you think of broken-plan living? Let us know in the Comments section.