Many modern homes have a combined lounge and dining room. Sometimes this area also contains the kitchen. These designs are known as open plans. An open plan lounge and dining room combo lends itself to entertaining and for friends and family to drop by casually. However, it can be difficult to furnish until you have made one crucial decision.

The Big Decision

The big decision on which your furnishing choices hang is whether to keep the lounge and dining room as separate areas with different décor or to treat them as one large room. Each possibility has its pros and cons. We walk you through your options.

Zoning Your Space into Separate Areas

Some interior decorators are adamant that you should create zones for each area. This allows for activity-based utility. When the kids are doing their homework at the dining room table, they are focused on studying and when they are in the lounge, they are relaxed and can watch television or play. If business clients come over, the lounge can be used as a formal meeting area that is also warm and inviting.

The other danger of having one open area is that it may end up resembling a warehouse instead of a home. Zoning resolves this issue by clearly demarcating areas according to what they are used for. How you go about doing it is also dependent on the overall size of your open plan.

You need to start with a floor plan, otherwise you may find furniture not fitting into designated areas or spilling over into other zones. You also want to retain the sense of spaciousness that an open plan provides. Too much furniture can create an unappealing jumble. Avoid big pieces that dominate the room.

Room dividers can mark off areas. These could be screens or furniture, such as a bookcase. Use separate rugs in the lounge and dining room areas. Different styles of seating in each zone can create an informal dining area and a formal lounge. Offset this stern look with odd shaped coffee tables placed between the sofas. Wall rugs or paintings can further delineate zones.

Allow plenty of walking space between zones. Don’t let areas encroach on each other. White walls will allow you more choices of colors for each zone.

One Space

For those who have a lot of family and friends who pop in for random visits, retaining a singular space may be best. It invites informality and free-flowing conversation with endless cups of coffee and sweet snacks. it is vital to get comfortable dining room chairs as guests will be inclined to spread out around the room and perch themselves on these. This is especially true of those who know you well and feel at home in your place.

Find a unifying theme that you can echo throughout the open plan, for example, wooden chairs and tables, and wooden flooring. The ceiling should also match. Select a color scheme that is warm and light. Go for rounded edges to lounge furniture and soft fabrics.

A large open plan area will give you far more options than a small room. Plan before you buy furniture and don’t compromise on décor that makes you feel good.

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