A guide to broken-plan living spaces

Broken-plan living is about the clever use of a space, but there are drawbacks, with open-plan areas often proving difficult to heat, as well as potential noise issues. We reveal what to consider when planning a broken-plan layout.

By Intern | 12 January 2018

Open-plan living was once the preferred layout for homes, now broken-plan living is the new alternative. We reveal what to consider when planning a broken-plan layout.

broken living spaces living room dining room

Photo credit: Cuckooland

Broken-plan living is about the clever use of a space. Distinct zones are created by the use of different floor finishes, split-levels and semi-permanent partitions, such as bookcases and screens. These subtle divides retain the spacious feel that open-plan living provides, but also give a sense of separation, meaning people can have their own space away from each other.

Knocking down interior walls to form a space that allows light to flow has been the go-to approach for planning during the past few decades. It’s difficult to deny the benefits, from creating a sense of sociability, to enabling multiple functions to be performed in the same area.

But there are drawbacks, with open-plan areas often proving difficult to heat, as well as potential noise issues. A new, versatile way of living is set to offer an alternative, which still establishes connectivity between rooms but offers privacy, too.

We breakdown the most important things you should consider when building a broken-living space.

Let light flow

A guide to broken plan living spaces2

Photo credit: Multiliving 

A key consideration when embracing a broken-plan concept is how to preserve this same flow of light. Compromises come in the installation of internal windows, which solve the noise dilemma without sacrificing light and also keep a sense of cohesion between spaces. Skylights are another way to allow the sun to reach all areas of a house, as are glass screen doors.

Create a social space

broken living spaces dining room bedroom

Photo credit: Cuckooland

As the social aspect of open-plan is also considered a big advantage, it’s important to preserve this and encourage a connection between spaces. ‘Partitions, steps and changes in decor divide up a space without sacrificing the amount of light, or the social aspect of being able to move easily throughout a property,’ says Robert Swann, sales manager at Foxtons in Earl’s Court. ‘Broken-plan living is flexible and lets people create as much or as little division between different areas as they like.’