Is this the end of open-plan living?

Interior glazed sliding doors

Over the last two decades, the trend for open-plan living and wall-less dwellings rose faster than you could swing a sledgehammer; however, over the past few years, we’re seeing a complete reversal in interiors trends with home-owners opting for more traditional, segmented living spaces.

There are various reasons as to why this could be. The practicalities of an open-plan living space are not as obvious as you might think. Downsizing all the possessions and knick-knacks you acquire over the years is no mean feat, not to mention the daily struggle of keeping every surface clean and tidy if you have children or room-mates. In fact, families who have previously opted for open-plan living are reverting to traditional, divided rooms as a more practical way of living, according to Jane Green from the Telegraph. Individual rooms provide quiet sanctuaries for homework, reading and watching your preferred Netflix series, and people are suggesting they prefer to cook in the kitchen in peace, without having the constant interruptions from a television that can be seen and heard over the worktop.

circular dining table and turquoise-pained chairs

There is no doubt, it seems, that separate rooms provide areas of sanctuary and quiet which in turn, create cosier, more inviting spaces to spend time to undertake your preferred activity of relaxation. One might even argue that segmented rooms are actually driving families back together in a more traditional sense, since the kitchen and dining room are becoming device-free zones, promoting a healthy appetite for dinner conversation.

Dog on a lap on a sofaWith this in mind, we’re thinking about the more conventional ways you could furnish these individual living rooms without compromising on style. First things first, retrieve that box of ornaments from storage and choose a selection of objects that will look fantastic displayed in a bespoke alcove bookcase by The Bookcase Co. Think about quality curation, carefully selecting objects that work well together based on a specific colour palette, as opposed to quantity.

A slim and stylish desk for homework or working from home is essential. This mango wood version from Swoon is effortlessly chic and compact and will fit in alcoves, smaller rooms or even under the stairs.

Enormous three-seater and corner sofas might work well in gargantuan open-plan living areas; however, smaller spaces call for smaller sofas. Create cosy nooks for books with a two-seater sofa from Arlo & Jacob. The perfect size to snuggle up to someone, or stretch out and make the most of some quality alone time.

Dining table & chairs with a tall cactus in the backgroundA well-placed rug can instantly update your interior, bringing with it warmth, pattern and texture. They also help to create zones, if you do happen to have a room on the larger size and want to break it down further. You’ll find a vast selection of traditional and modern rugs from OKA, with the option of wool and cotton, amongst others.

To avoid areas becoming too dark and closed off, this slender floor lamp by Perch & Parrow is fashionable and functional; perfect to shed some light on those newly created cosy corners of your living room.

A guide to mixing vintage with contemporary

Mixing vintage and contemporary style in our top-floor bedroom | H is for Home

The love for a vintage article – what’s the story behind the item? Where has it come from? Who loved it before you? What made them cherish it to the point that it’s survived the years of a throwaway society? There’s something comforting about vintage pieces whether it be a recognition of it from the films & TV we adore, or just a respect for its manufacture and survival.

Vintage industrial metal cabinet with antique rustic chair | H is for Home

With a little thoughtfulness and planning these relics from the past can be incorporated into our modern, busy lives and homes. The trick to getting vintage right is getting the balance between vintage and contemporary. There are no hard and fast rules, but it’s essential to get the balance right: too much vintage industrial and your living space can feel like a factory, too much rustic or shabby chic and the space can feel twee and staged. To develop cohesiveness, you need a combination of both vintage and modern, and a select few transitional pieces to bridge the gap between styles and eras.

Antique armchair with bright cushion and trio of vintage West German fat lava floor vases | H is for Home

Balance can be achieved by cleverly using colour, pattern and texture; proportion is key to all of these elements. You don’t want to overdo one aspect of your style preferences. Complementing accents of colour can be used in textiles and accessories to both unite and subtly support your vintage piece in its surroundings, turning it into an eye-catching focal point.

Vintage industrial trolley being used as a coffee table with contemporary metal drawers | H is for Home

Balance is critical when combining two very different styles; however, don’t be scared to contrast. Contrast adds interest to your design, and to have foolproof success, consider the largest piece of furniture and accessorize with contrasting items. Install a modern crystal chandelier over a vintage velvet chesterfield, or dress it with cushions of modern fabrics; place an antique lamp on an ultra-modern table. The options to contrast are limitless, and care needs to be taken not to create a haphazard, chaotic space. You want it to feel that the items in the room have been curated organically and not ordered straight from the page of a magazine. Choose one or two contrasting finishes to avoid visual chaos: sometimes less is more!

Pair of antique leather club chairs - one with a contemporary cushion from MADE.com - in front of a wood-burning stove | H is for Home

The age of everything being matched with theme-y precision is long gone. The most inspiring and attractive rooms are those that combine furniture, colours, textures and patterns that are both old and new, in a way that feels unique and effortless but breath-taking. Mixing vintage and contemporary styles allows you to be bold and reflect your personality and individuality.

Red contemporary floor lamp with antique stool and vintage West German fat lava vases | H is for Home

If you still feel something is interrupting the flow of your room, take some time out before looking at it again. If something still niggles, remove one of the objects and take another look. Sometimes a specific item can throw the room out and affect the overall look; you just need to resist the urge to add more to the room! Grouping together too many accessories of opposing design style can easily turn the look of your lounge into a garage sale.

Contemporary 'Rain rain go away' framed poster with collection of vintage gardening books | H is for Home

When you’ve finished decorating and styling the room, take a step back and survey it. Is it working? If it’s not quite right, it might feel like the obvious solution is to add more to the space; more colour, more furniture, more accessories. Instead, you should do the opposite. Remove items one by one to see if it’s a specific item (or items) affecting the overall look. In the words of Coco Chanel, “Less is always more”.

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Price Points: Pink flamingos

pink flamingos | H is for home

Like cacti, pink flamingos are all the rage in homewares at the moment. They first had their heyday back in the 1950s with Miami and California mid-century modern – but they’ve flown back into favour!

Kitsch and playful, quirky and vintage or practical and colourful there’s a flamingo-themed item out there that will suit your taste, interior and pocket.

  1. Colours charcoal & pink flamingo mica wallpaper: £14, B&Q
  2. SUNNYLIFE flamingo watering can: £14, Selfridges
  3. Meiko pink flamingo – pink metal: £71, La Redoute

Get their look: Primary colours kitchen

Primary colours kitchencredit

You all know how much we love bright interiors, so it should come as no surprise that we’ve chosen to feature this kitchen decorated in bold primary colours.

This is a family kitchen in a 1960s, ex-council, end-of-terrace house in Dulwich, London. It may not be the biggest of kitchens; but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in storage space. There’s a yellow, U-shaped bank of overhead and floor-standing cupboards. There’s a floor to ceiling room divider that offers double-sided open shelving. Even the end of the worktop has been turned into ingenious cookbook shelves!

  1. Caravaggio pendant light – black P1
  2. Yellow Sierra kitchen
  3. Dualit 31290 2+1 Combi toaster, canvas white
  4. Kenwood SJM040S kMix stainless steel jug kettle 1.6L, silver
  5. Fresnel wall lamp / ceiling lamp designed by Joe Colombo for Oluce
  6. John Lewis Spectrum DAB/FM digital radio, teal
  7. Jieldé Signal table lamp
  8. Miura stool designed by Konstantin Grcic for Plank
  9. Eames LCW chair – red stained ash

Get their look: Primary colours kitchen | H is for Home

Get their look: Shades of blue sitting room

Shades of blue sitting roomcredit

This blue sitting room is stunning!

Deep marine blue panelled walls and door gives the space a real sense of style. The tonal, buttoned sofa in plush velvet provides sumptuous texture.

The painted surfaces contrast wonderfully with the gold coloured statement trumpet pendant light and metallic nest of tables. The flashes of yellow provided by the throw, patterned cushion and hardback book also work very well and balance the room nicely.

An indigo feather Cameroonian juju hat (read more about its origins here) provides a beautiful centrepiece.

The overall feel is luxurious and dramatic… and very successful indeed.

  1. DelightFULL Botti pendant lamp
  2. Mullen Bogota Quirky wall light
  3. Yves Delorme Angelie throw
  4. Dulux ‘Marine Blue’
  5. Royal blue Juju hat / Bamileke headdress
  6. Round nest of tables
  7. Connor 3-seater sofa

Get their look: Shades of blue sitting room | H is for Home

Get their look: Elegant sitting room

Elegant sitting roomcredit

Get their look: Elegant sitting room | H is for Home

What is it that makes this space such an elegant sitting room?

The owners have retained the original 19th century features where possible, yet it looks thoroughly 21st century – bright, spacious and uncluttered.

The soaring ceilings with central rose and cornicing give the room grandeur. The wide, lime-washed Douglas fir floorboards elongate the space.

Then there’s the statement lighting – the oversized floor lamp and luxe ‘Bling’ chandelier have real impact.

The modern feel is further enhanced by pieces of mid century design furniture, contemporary artwork and textiles.

  1. Bling chandelier by Robert Abbey
  2. Farrow & Ball ‘Great White’
  3. HEKTAR white floor lamp
  4. Marble oval coffee table
  5. Raffles sofa
  6. Ercol Studio couch
  7. Douglas fir flooring