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  • Writer's pictureAgi

Open plan spaces are over! (or..., are they?)

Apparently, there is a trend for tiny rooms now!

Earlier in the year House and Garden magazine declared that open plan spaces are no longer top of the lust list when it comes to home renovations.

I don't know about you, but for me, a spacious, airy space with a great sense of flow will ALWAYS win over a bunch of tiny rooms (and the ridiculous amount of doors to get through in between them) in any home.

While I appreciate that the view on this can come down to personal preferences and life style differences, I have the feeling that there is more to the new wave of "dislike" of open plan living than what first meet the eye.

So let's have a look at the most common reasons why people may prefer putting walls back up and see if they are actually right!

1. Lack of privacy and separation

While privacy in the home should be provided for each individual, including children, surely, that is what our bedrooms are for.

An open plan living space does not want to provide you with separation, quite the opposite, it encourages connection, conversation, feeling of togetherness. If you do not want all these, open plan living is probably not for you. In any other case, keep on reading! 😉

A well designed open plan living space CAN provide a level of separation by zoning the space to the most frequently needed activities so people can do their things while together.

Someone wants to watch TV while another sit in a cozy corner with a book? Absolutely possible! This often happens to me and my partner but I wouldn't want to be locked away from him in a whole separate room for that.

Or you have a little work to do or catch up on emails while keeping an eye on the kids? Sure, a little workstation in the living space is the best option.

I have a cute little office room equipped by all sorts of office stuff, comfy armchair, inspiring artwork, etc, but let me tell you, I often move myself around the house with my laptop. In fact, I am typing this particular blog post at the dining room table looking out to the sunny (but still cold) garden.

reading corner in open plan living room

Image source: Havenly

2. Lack of designated functions

This is an interesting one. Especially in the UK, our homes are so small we often need to live with multifunctional rooms anyways. In a larger space this can be done way easier than in a small space.

The secret, again, is:

  1. thoughtful design

  2. zoning

When thinking of open plan living spaces we often mean living room - dining room - kitchen in one space. I think it is fair to say these functions are quite distinctively designated as their furnishing is very different.

Afraid of the noise and smell coming from he kitchen?

Want a more formal dining experience time to time?

Retractable or sliding doors, or even glass versions of them, can be a great solution to have the best of both open plan and separation.

Sometimes the design aims to to unify the whole open plan living space - mostly when the space is not particularly large and the goal is to make it look and feel more spacious, other times the space is too large and the design aims to zone the space with colour, décor, furniture placement.

Glass sliding partition in open plan living space

Image source: Behance

3. Lack of intimacy or cosiness

By now, you have learnt that my magic word for everything open plan space is ZONING! Yes, zoning an open plan space is absolutely essential, and the biggest reason is exactly to provide calmness, comfort and intimacy in all parts of the space.

You don't need to slice up your floor plan and build walls to achieve that!

Open plan living and spaciousness should not mean a vast, empty space with some oversized furniture floating around. Far from it! (Yeah, I know, more often than not that is what you see, isn't it!? Well, that is just wrong and need a redesign!)


All in all, I would argue that open plan living spaces are going out of "fashion". They have been popular for a long long time and for a good reason.

Why they have become a bit of a "no more" recently?

I strongly believe it is simply because of the lack of understanding of how to work with them. They have their specific challenges when it comes to design but let me tell you, so do small spaces!

As a designer I would always encourage open plan spaces in the home to encourage conversation, socialising, feeling of belonging and togetherness. This is what our homes should be about is it not!?

As for the challenges you may face in a large space? I'm here to take them on with experience and excitement!

Right, that is it for now. I hope you enjoyed and learnt a thing or two!

Relax and plan ahead,

Until later, Agi

PS.: You can receive tips like this, news about me and my business, great offers on my services or others - and a lot more! - in my (almost) weekly Friday newsletter, sign up here!

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About Me


I am Agnes, a structural engineer, economist and qualified interior designer.

My friends just call me Agi. :)

If you are planning a renovation or remodel of your home or looking to buy a new one I am your go to person!


After spending over 15 years in the construction industry, first as an engineer and later as quantity surveyor / commercial manager on multi ten million GBP projects, I decided to set up my own business and help people, like you, to live in their dream home.


Your space should be designed around you and your lifestyle and not the other way around, so I strongly believe in designing your home from the "inside out".


Get in touch with me early in the process to start your project the right way.

My Signature Service includes full service interior design and renovation management.

I basically take on your project as it was my own home, from the first step to the last, saving you time, money and frustration.

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