I have an open floor plan, which I love. But how can I create a distinct space for dining, especially for those times when I want meals to feel more formal?
Albany, New York
What Furniture.com's Design Experts Say: Open floor plans lend a light airiness to the home, which is among the reasons this layout has become so popular. But with this advantage come some disadvantages. But luckily, a few design tricks and some smartly placed pieces of furniture can create a look that is both unified and different enough to allow you and your guests to easily move through the space during a holiday dinner or any other entertaining you may do.
The main architectural details an open floor plan is missing are the walls -- to put any up would ruin the aesthetic. But you can create walls between a dining area and sitting area by edging the space with a sofa or a sideboard -- or even put the two pieces back to back. When your guests have to walk around the sofa to get to the dining table, it will simulate walking into a new room.
Use Color to Set Boundaries Between Functional Areas
While you want all the spaces in your open floor plan to be a visually pleasing whole, you can use paint and accessory colors to break the larger space up in a complementary manner that makes sense for how you use the space. For example, you may use cornflower blue as accessories in your living room and kitchen, but then in the dining room use royal blue. Since all the colors are in the same family, the rooms willl look great on their coninuum, but the different shade helps to indicate that this is a different space.
Don't Forget the Floor!
Your floor visually takes up 1/3 of the horizontal space people see in your home, so don't underestimate its use in defining the different spaces in your open floor plan. Just as you might consider changing the wall color, using a different area rug is a great way to help your guests make the transition to the new space.
Pauline, we hope you find these ideas helpful!