4 Tips for Designing an Open Floor Plan

There’s an app for everything but somehow our lifestyles have only gotten more hectic over the past decade. That’s why architects and interior designers love an open floor plan, a layout that combines multiple rooms into one or more large, open spaces. The one you likely see most is a great room that blends the kitchen, dining room and living room into one shared space. Open floor plans can allow you to keep an eye on what your child is watching or be with the group of friends you invited over as you chop vegetables or mix drinks.

That’s all well and good, but this probably sounds like that one-bedroom apartment you rented in your early 20s. It doesn’t have to be. Margreet Cevasco of Margreet Cevasco Design shared four ways to make your open floor plan look stylish, functional and totally grown up.

image: A Long Beach home designed (credit: margreet cevasco)

image: A Long Beach home designed (credit: margreet cevasco design)

Divide and Conquer

When working with an open floor plan, you’re working with a huge space, so creating smaller nooks and crannies is key. “Position furniture in a way that allows for conversation, without necessarily hugging the walls,” Cevasco said. “Don’t be afraid to float furniture and create rooms without walls.” Position a love seat with some arm chairs and a bench around a coffee table to designate a living room, where you and family or guests can sit and catch up. A long, wooden table with chairs and a large vase with pretty flowers is your more formal dining area, while chairs around your kitchen island create an ideal spot for a busy weeknight family dinner. Area rugs can help divide areas as well. Cevasco made the living room area in a Long Beach home cozier with one.

Avoid Traffic

You deal with enough traffic on the LIE (maybe that’s how life got more hectic), you shouldn’t need Waze to move through your own home. “Leave enough negative space for comfort,” Cevasco advised. A small, round table off to the side, perhaps near a window of your eat-in kitchen keeps traffic moving as you hustle your kids from the breakfast table to the bus stop. Round tables soften the lines of large, square spaces, making it a perfect choice for the above Long Beach home.

A Roslyn home (credit:  margreet cevasco design)

A Roslyn home (credit: margreet cevasco design)

Let There Be Light

“Lighting is a most crucial component,” Cevasco said. She loves indirect, incandescent lamp lighting. “It adds a sense of intimacy and creates ambience in the evening.” Statement lighting can also help to add definition to a space. Pendant lights in odd numbers add illumination and excitement to an island kitchen, and a chandelier over the formal dining table makes a glamorous statement.

image: A Greenport home (credit:  margreet cevasco design)

image: A Greenport home (credit: margreet cevasco design)

Stay Relatable

So you’ve got a designated formal dining area, a living room and a kitchen/casual dining area. How do you pull it all together? With colors. Keep the overall palate consistent. “Colors and patterns should relate,” Cevasco said. Covering living room throw pillows and kitchen chairs with the same pattern and fabric brought unity to a Greenport home design. Follow suit when choosing woods and metals in furniture. Sand-colored wooden tables and chairs work well with a light blue and white color scheme, evoking memories of your old family beach house. For darker schemes, like blue-copper-black, stick with oak.

beth ann clyde

beth ann clyde

Beth Ann Clyde is a social strategist of Long Island Pulse. Have a story idea or just want to say hello? Email bethann@lipulse.com or reach out on Twitter @BAClyde.