Open Plan: The Modern Way of Living

Written by:

Philip Wadge

Creating a Modern Open Plan Home in a Traditional House

The way we live in our homes is changing, as more time is being spent at home, there is a desire to spend the time together. Open plan living is about creating light inspirational spaces that are flexible in use, informal and suitable for modern day multi-tasking.

In this post I’m going to cover:

·     Housing types that can be converted

·      Why open plans transform your daily life

·      What to include in an open plan space design

·      How to use extensions with room combinations for amazing transformations

Housing types suitable for conversion

Typically, the majority of the UK’s homes were designed and built at a time when households lived in different ways.

Living was more formal with separate rooms for separate functions, a time when a kitchen was a utility task to be shut away.

Dining rooms are often small and separate and are now rarely used forming uninspired wasted spaces. 

It wasn’t just a social difference, but the draughts, single glazing, lack of insulation and central heating in homes meant that smaller rooms were easier to heat, usually by open fireplaces common in most pre-war and inter-war properties (now often blocked up to stop the draughts).

The desire for warmth and cosiness made the home of old refuges from the cold, shutting out nature.

And it’s not only the pre-1939 housing that is a problem for the families and households of today - even now the UK’s mass house builders still churn out characterless houses with numerous small, disjointed rooms.

The chances are your house is simply old-fashioned, whether it be new or old and is crying out for a modern open plan living transformation.

Open plan, open lifestyle

Modern living for individuals, couples and families has changed with a desire for more inclusive and informal living, in the age of multi-tasking, so must our living spaces!

Today, we are here to help you transform your dark, small, roomed house into light, uplifting, warm, open spaces that connect all members of your household and also connect with your garden and the wider environment.

The pandemic has notably accelerated the trend for household members wanting to live in uplifting, light and spacious rooms, that are flexible for multiple uses to the extent of choosing a single large room over multiple cramped, disjointed, and dark spaces.

A space that allows cooking, food preparation and eating in one space, whether it be across a breakfast bar, at a dining table, or curled up on a corner sofa all in the same room.

A room that allows the family to be together whether it be cooking, talking, watching television, or fiddling with a phone or games console, or sitting in the sun with the glass doors/walls open or closed.

Of course, a large living space is also perfect for entertaining, socialising and parties.

Conversely, working from home now often relies on little more than a laptop and WiFi connection, so why not spend your day working in a large, comfortable light filled space rather than a confined box room.

With more people working/ staying at home, more time is now spent gardening and enjoying the garden; modern high-tech glass doors and walls allow constant enjoyment and connection with your garden and wider environment.


What to Include in An Open Plan Space

Open plan living spaces often comprise large kitchen islands and peninsulas with inviting breakfast bars that stimulate not only sitting and conversation, but allow an engaging outlook when cooking rather than a worktop facing a wall.

A nice dining table that is positioned in easy reach and by a set of glass doors overlooking a garden or patio will suddenly become used for reading the paper, doing  homework, working from home as well as formal group dining in an open space.

Why not enjoy this open space even more with easy living corner sofas and seating that focuses on the garden or wood burning stove as well as a television?

A larger open plan space will also allow for flexible use, swapping dining table and sofa or moving things to one side to create a dance floor or for kids’ party games.

Even quiet corners or window seats can integrate with a larger sociable space including maybe a bar or any other favourite activities personal to you.


How to Achieve an Open Plan Living Space


The classic way of creating an open plan living space is to remove the wall separating a kitchen and a dining room, often located side by side at the rear of the house.

The resulting space will house a kitchen and a dining room, so what’s the difference? – Space, light integration of both and if all you need is a breakfast bar on an island or worktop peninsular, then maybe some comfortable sofa seating would be better.

And if removing one wall is not enough, then why not remove part of your rear exterior wall and introduce an expansive bifold or sliding door set? This will bring in more light, making a space feel even larger and allow not only views out, but the chance of combining your indoor living space with that of your garden patio.

This conversion combined with some well-chosen interior finishes, and you have transformed the principal part of your home for your enjoyment and that of others.



Now if space and budget allow; consider a garden room extension in addition to combining your existing rooms, the resulting space can be both large, light and spectacular.

Just a modest 20m2 extension can combine to form a giant open-plan room of 40-50m2.

Not only can the room be large and more spacious, but the newly built extension can have even more glass, raised ceilings and overhead roof windows and lanterns to bring in yet more light and special drama.

Building technology allowed larger window units with smaller frames, but the latest glass can reduce glare and prevent overheating, whilst minimising heat loss.

Make no mistake, modern highly glazed extensions are not conservatories! They offer comfortable efficient living all year around.

This living revolution is going hand in hand with glass window and door advancements that have only become readily available since the turn of this new 21st century. This is why now is the best time to consider such transformational improvements to your home.

You can view examples of transformations we designed in our showcase.

Ready to discuss to bringing your ideas to life?
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