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Designing for an open floor plan

April 2, 2021

In recent decades, residential home builders have been embracing the trend of open-concept floor plans. In older homes, you’ll find walls around the kitchen, living room and dining room—creating three separate spaces. Conversely, open floor plans typically feature these three rooms in one large space. Norfolk Homes designs our open floor plans to minimize wasted space taken up by hallways and walls, create the illusion of more square footage and  encourage more time spent together with family and friends. 

Designing for an open floor plan—from the choices in wall color and flooring to furniture selection and placement—can be a little tricky, especially for homeowners used to living in older homes with a bit more separation. The following guide provides some tried-and-true best practices for creating a functional open floor plan. 

Create visual separation

Just because you have an open floor plan does not mean you lose the ability to create defined spaces throughout. How you lay out your furniture and choose decor can help create visual separation—and even add further use to your space with a designated spot for a home office or virtual learning space in addition to the living, dining and kitchen areas. 

One of the simplest ways to create visual separation is with area rugs. They help identify a specific space and offer an easy blueprint to arrange furniture around. Area rugs will layer beautifully over whatever flooring finish you select while adding elements of texture, color and pattern to the room. 

Additionally, the way you position your furniture can help produce a natural barrier in open space, creating the illusion of separate rooms without actual walls. Instead of positioning your couch up against the wall, place it in the middle of the room and face it toward a chosen focal point, like a fireplace or TV, to create a defined living space. 

Use cohesive colors and materials

One of the first steps you’ll take when working with our interior designers to personalize your home is selecting a color palette. For open floor plans, a smart color palette will help establish a cohesive flow throughout the space with similar tones and textures. We also suggest using the same flooring to help create the visual of an even larger, blended space. 

With no physical separation between the main living areas in an open-concept plan, homeowners typically stick with a neutral color palette. That way, it can carry throughout the entire space without feeling overwhelming. To add pops of color or pattern to the space, consider using fun and funky kitchen backsplash, furniture textiles and art or decor. 

Maintain a path

Envisioning how your family and visitors will actually move throughout this space can also guide you through creating the ideal layout of furniture. Consider how people will get from one part of the room to another, as well as how they’ll get to other points of interest (like the guest bathroom). By creating a clear and open path that isn’t obstructed by furniture, you’ll establish a flow that will maximize the benefits of your layout. 

Find exactly what you’re looking for  

Designing and decorating for an open floor plan is a lot less complicated than it might seem. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to create a functional, livable space that the whole family can enjoy. For questions on finding a floor plan that meets your needs and building in one of Norfolk Homes’ new-construction communities in the greater Ann Arbor area, contact us today via our  online form

Overall a great experience completing in a rush. Selection process was easy and very pleasant experience.

John & Nicole