Creating Zones in an Open Concept Floor Plan

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Creating Open Concept Floor Plan Zones

An open concept floor plan is on every home buyer’s must-have list these days, but it presents a unique set of interior design challenges.

Homeowners prefer an open layout for a variety of reasons. These bright and open living spaces make your home feel larger and more spacious. They are perfect for casual and relaxed family living, as well as for entertaining.

The one complaint we often hear from our customers is that an open concept plan is difficult to furnish. Unless you have a background in interior design, it can be challenging to determine the perfect furniture layout.

Without walls to assist you, you must identify and create zones for the various activities that will take place, be it dining, relaxing, reading, studying or playing games with family and friends.

Our staff of creative interior design professionals have come up with a few ideas to get you started. Take a look and see if any of these suggestions may help resolve your decorating dilemmas!

Dividers and Screens

This is one of the most flexible ways to define a space. Hanging screens, flexible dividers and curtains can help you add interest and delineate living zones.

Think of those beaded curtains from the 1970’s, but with a sleek, modern feel. This approach offers the flexibility of changing things up too, whenever you feel the urge to reconfigure the room

You can also use floor screens, much like those you’ve seen in traditional Japanese homes.

Divider screens can be free standing, fixed or sliding, but they offer privacy without blocking the light. They also offer the advantage of being easily moved if you’re having a party or family gathering.

Well-designed screens can also add a beautiful architectural design element to your home.

Furniture Groupings

This is the most common method of breaking up a large space, and one that we find most people prefer.

You can start by positioning your sofa or sectional to define the living room space. Add larger furnishings, such as bookshelves or an entertainment center, to provide additional boundaries as well as functional storage.

Open bookshelves are especially popular for this purpose. Not only can they serve as a two-sided storage or display piece, but they allow light and movement to flow through the open space.

Color Coordination

A more understated method for creating zones in your space is through the use of different – but complementary – color palettes.

If a more subtle approach befits your style preferences, use tones of the same color to differentiate the kitchen from the dining and living spaces.

Reinforce your color zones with coordinating accessories and area rugs. And speaking of rugs…


Mark boundaries simply by changing the flooring of each space.

For example, carpet or hardwood flooring is well suited for a living space while tile is more appropriate for the kitchen. This will automatically draw lines for the eye and create separation between the zones of the room.

If you have the same flooring throughout the space, a well-placed area rug can go a long way for creating separation.

Guild Hall Fine Furnishings is the Salt Lake City area’s premier retailer of fine furnishings and accessories. Stop by today and let our helpful design staff recommend additional strategies for your home or business, and help you create the perfect layout for your open concept floor plan.