Friday, September 1, 2023

Real Estate: Decorating tips for an open floor plan

By Nicole Foster, Broker/ REALTOR

Most of today’s newly constructed homes have an open floor plan, with no walls between the living, relaxing, dining and cooking areas. A very common renovation item for both homeowners and “flips” includes knocking down one or more walls to create a more open space.

Modern daily living and entertaining has become less formal over time and the open floor plan has grown to be so popular due to its relaxed style and use of space and light. It’s an effective way to maximize space by not designating 300 square feet or more to areas only used on occasion. Natural light can travel unobstructed, often making it feel larger.

With fewer walls and closed off rooms, certain challenges are presented. Simply pushing the furniture up against the walls may not be your best option in an open floor plan. Where do you hang artwork if most of the walls are windows? An increasingly popular home design trend is the “broken floor plan” which allows for more deliberate definition of separate spaces by incorporating the use of interior windows, columns and half walls, multi-sided fireplaces and sliding decorative screens and doors.

Whether you’re starting position begins from scratch working with a brand-new home design, knocking down walls in your already existing home or purchasing a newly completed home; you will make fewer mistakes and are more likely to be pleased with the final product if you take a moment to create a plan. Treat all of the adjoining rooms as one large space that is cohesive throughout and flows continuously.

When making key selections such as kitchen cabinetry, counters and backsplash tile your choices should blend in with the style of the overall home and connecting spaces. Choose fixtures that can be used throughout and limit the use of too many different types of finishes to help tie-in all of the areas together visually. Using one continuous and uninterrupted flooring finish throughout the entire space in all of the rooms and hallways helps to create a clean and spacious feel.

The right use of color can be one of the most impactful decisions you can make when decorating your open floor plan, so nail it with your color palette by choosing a neutral color wall color to begin with, as your foundation. By picking only a few colors to add throughout the entire space you will be able to avoid one of the most common decorating mistakes by combining too many different color schemes. Choose a color that you adore and highlight it by using different shades and textures in all of the different rooms.

Upholstery and curtains do not need to be overly matchy but should visually tie together in some way and not complicate or make the space feel too busy. A simple and highly effective way to draw distinction between your kitchen and living area is to use a complimenting or contrasting color on your kitchen’s center island. Trending now are hues of blues and greens, deep charcoals, or navy.

Having too much furniture in your rooms can make the space feel too tight and crowded. Large pieces may not leave a comfortable amount of space to walk around in the rooms. Try to leave at least 24 to 36 inches behind and around furniture to comfortably move. Instead of pushing your couch or sofa up against the wall, bring it to the center of the room. Positioning it this way separates the living room from dining room with the back of the piece acting as a wall. Choose a couch with a low profile to have less obstructed and cleaner sight lines. If you have enough space, you can add a narrow table across the back. The area rug will act as a visual anchor and ideally will be large enough for at least the front legs of all the pieces to sit on. A few chairs, which are around one third the size of your couch or sofa, can lend the same amount of seating as a loveseat but are less bulk.

Think of ways you can incorporate vertical layers by using pendant lighting, floor and table lamps or potted and dried arrangements of varying heights. <

Nicole Foster is a Windham parent and real estate Broker with 18 years of experience helping buyers, sellers and investors. Follow her at or on Instagram 207nicolefoster.

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