In the South Asian sub-continent, living rooms have traditionally been a separated area from the rest of the house. These rooms, called “boithakhana” were often located in the front yards. In many parts of Europe, classical houses had a closed door living room. In the Victorian era living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens were on the ground floor and bedrooms and family living rooms were on the upper floors.
In the last couple of decades, there has been a landslide movement towards houses and apartments featuring large open spaces. After all, modern open floor plans offer advantages that cannot be replicated by the tight, closed-off rooms of the past. The modern plans have the advantages of light, space, flexibility and glamour. Open space floor plans date back to bohemian artists living and creating works of art in the mid-20th century. Now, even homeowners with old homes are knocking down walls to get a bit of that bohemian feel.
This week we highlight a 3000 square feet open-spaced apartment in Uttara. We kept the living, dining, family living and entertainment areas in an open space. The floor covering of entire common space is a unique and uniform marble that lends an element of conformity.
There are a few ground rules for decorating an open space interior. Although it can sometimes be challenging to create different functional areas within one open space, distinction can be made through subtle techniques.
Different spaces can be defined by creating furniture groupings. Floating furniture groups in the middle of a room will encourage conversation and interaction and make a room feel wholesome. On the other hand, furniture lined up against the wall will have the opposite effect, creating an incomplete bowling alley feel. You can also help define spaces by making use of room dividers such as open book shelves, screens, and even sliding doors that can close off an area or disappear completely to leave a room wide open.
We chose a single sofa set and two designer chairs for the living room to allow for more free space. Two open book shelves were also placed at opposite corner adding to the clutter-free appeal.
The dining zone, situated next to the living area, was delineated with furniture. Rustic tiles were used on one wall and a low hutch was placed against it.
Choosing the proper lighting gives an open space more definition. A variety of lights — recessed lights, pendants, track lights, accent lights — set off one area from another. For example, recessed lights on different switches can allow you to highlight an area near a bar, or, instead a reading corner. Here we also used a sleek false ceiling and indirect lighting. A standing floor lamp was also added to create a light and shadow ambience.
For wall colours, we opted for light and bright paints, which highlight the light and space in our open floor plan with a clear outline. The entertainment zone is designed with a six inch raise floor. Here we created some drama in the wall with rustic tiles arranged in a zigzag pattern and a black mask adorning the centre.
A lovely couch was placed in the family living room. In the old days, one could place a couch against the wall and not worry about what the back of the couch looked like. But in an open space floor plan, a couch might easily float to the middle of the room, necessitating the back of the couch to look good too. A TV is both instrumental and the focal point of a family living room and we opted for a sleek flat screen.
As final touches, the homeowner and I jointly purchased several paintings for the apartment. After all, accessories are expressions of our spirit and we used them in abundance.
Nazneen Haque Mimi
Photo credit: Tamim Sujat
Special thanks: Dr. Pushpo
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