Fibreguard overhead view of an open plan living room

Open plan living made easy with FibreGuard’s low-maintenance upholstery

In this blog post, we’re discussing the three elements that can make all the difference when it comes to open-plan living: furniture and fabrics, sound control, and zoning. Get these three factors right and you’ll be on track for a beautiful space that feels both ordered and wonderfully spacious.

FibreGuard’s low-maintenance upholstery fabrics are here to help. Available in a wide variety of colours and textures, our fabrics can help you create a pleasant and welcoming space thanks to their durability, softness and low-maintenance style.

Fibreguard overhead view of an open plan living room
Fibreguard overhead view of an open plan living room

Pros and cons of open-plan living spaces

The popularity of open-plan living has grown enormously over the last 30 years or so. And although some say the pandemic sounded the death knell for open-plan living (it turned out all we needed more privacy than we’d iniitially thought) a light and airy living space still has enduring appeal.

Typical open-plan living spaces have the kitchen, dining room and living room all combined into one – either by knocking down walls or adding an extension.

The key to making open-plan living work is to create a carefully-designed layout. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of open-plan living…

The pros of open-plan living:

  • A welcome sense of light and space – increased natural light flowing into the room and no dividing walls will makes it feel bigger than it actually is.
  • Better flow – it’s easier to move through open-plan spaces without walls and doors getting in the way.
  • It’s more sociable. You can chat to other family members in your open-plan space because there are no walls to separate you.
  • It’s easy to keep an eye on the kids. Parents cooking in the kitchen, for example, can easily supervise children who might be playing in the living area.
  • Flexibility. Open-plan spaces allow for a multi-functional room that can adapt to the changing needs of a growing family.

The cons of open-plan living:

  • With no walls or doors to absorb sound, open-plan spaces can be very noisy. Hard surfaces typically found in a kitchen reflect rather than absorb sound, and competing noises from the tv, radio or children playing can be challenging.
  • Achieving a constant temperature throughout a large, open-plan space can be an issue.
  • Open-plan spaces can be more costly to build because of construction supports that might be required such as steel beams.
  • Effective zoning of an open-plan space requires skill and a good design eye to achieve distinct, functional areas.
Fibreguard overhead view of an open plan living room

Choosing the right furniture for open-plan spaces

The furniture choices you make for your open concept living area have the power to make or break your open-plan space. Without dividing walls to create the structure and ‘edges’ of your living area, furniture such as sofas, footstools and coffee tables become vital structural elements.

You might choose to go for an oversized, l-shaped sofa to create a striking centrepiece, for example. Or else you could opt for a pair of matching sofas that can act as a room divider to separate your living area from the kitchen (more on zoning in our next section.)

Low-slung modular sofas featuring organic, rounded shapes are big news in the interiors world at the moment. But more traditional shapes can also work well in a contemporary, open-plan space. A classic chesterfield sofa, for example, can create a welcome contrast to a modern backdrop. Likewise an elegant chaise longue or a mid-century sofa with curved elm arms.

The advantage of selecting furniture with FibreGuard’s easy-clean upholstery is that it will absorb sound as well as being super practical to live with. Our highly durable upholstery makes cleaning up tricky substances like coffee, wine and ketchup a breeze, all thanks to their embedded stain-free technology.

Making FibreGuard the perfect choice for family life in a busy, open-plan living space.

Fibreguard overhead view of an open plan living room
Fibreguard overhead view of an open plan living room

Our highly durable fabrics repel tricky substances like coffee, wine and ketchup because of their embedded stain-free technology.

The importance of zoning for an open-plan space

To ensure your open-plan space works effectively, it's important to create distinct zones for different activities. You could have a ‘relaxing’ zone for watching tv, for example, a ‘dining’ zone for eating, and a ’cooking’ zone for meal preparation.

3 ways to zone your living space…

1: Use Furniture

A sofa or large bookcase can be the perfect choice to divide up your space. The back of the sofa can provide a visual divide between your kitchen and living zones. Or you can create a cosy cocoon with an l-shaped or horseshoe-shaped modular sofa.

“Corner sofas are particularly effective, creating walkways that help the flow of the room without losing the cosy feel. Aim to keep paths fuss-free – generally, walkways should be a minimum of 90cm.” – Charlie Marshall, founder of British furniture brand Loaf

2: Use Colour and Texture

Demarcate different sections of your open-plan space with specific colours or textures. You could use shades of taupe for the living area, for example, or velvets to introduce opulence. FibreGuard’s stain-resistant upholstery is luxurious as well as practical. Our gorgeously soft fabrics will bring a pleasant sense of warmth and texture to your home.

3: Use Rugs or Flooring

Ring the changes between one zone and the next by changing the flooring. You could have a herringbone oak floor in the kitchen area, for example, moving to carpet as you enter the living area. Rugs can also play a similar role in an open-plan space. A large coloured or patterned rug could become the foundation for your living area upon which the sofa, chairs and coffee table are grouped.

Related read: 4 fabulous reasons to get redecorating today

Fibreguard overhead view of an open plan living room

How to use upholstery to improve the acoustics in your open-plan living room and kitchen

So, we’ve established that you need to choose the right furniture for your open-plan space and create functional zones. But the other crucial aspect to master is the acoustics.

The biggest problem people face with open-plan living is poor acoustics. In a kitchen-living-dining space, you will inevitably have materials such as stone, glass and wood. It’s these hard surfaces that create an abrasive acoustic environment – one in which sounds bounce around the space contributing to an unpleasantly noisy environment.

They key here is to introduce fabrics that will soften those hard edges, absorb sound, and reduce reverberation. FibreGuard’s fabrics have excellent sound absorption qualities, which means that bringing in upholstery in the form of sofa fabrics, cushions and drapes will dramatically improve your acoustic experience.

Related read: Acoustical room design tips for a more enjoyable living space

The role of FibreGuard’s performance upholstery in open-plan living spaces

At FibreGuard, we understand the importance of getting the acoustics right in open-plan spaces. That's why we offer a range of performance upholstery that’s not only stylish and durable, it also has excellent acoustical properties. FibreGuard fabrics are engineered with advanced technology that ensures they are resistant to stains, odours, and spills, making them ideal for use in high-traffic areas such as open-plan living rooms.

Our fabrics are available in a wide variety of colours, patterns and sound-absorbing textures including velvets, chenilles and bouclés.

Ready to explore our fabric range? Contact us today to find your nearest FibreGuard stockist.

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