The Art of Open Plan Living
The Art of Open Plan Living


The Art of Open Plan Living: A Harmonious Blend of Space and Functionality

In the realm of contemporary architecture and interior design, the concept of open plan living has gained immense popularity. It transcends mere spatial arrangement; it embodies a lifestyle, a way of living that fosters connectivity, flexibility, and fluidity.

At its core, open plan living refers to the seamless integration of various functional zones within a single, unobstructed space. Walls, partitions, and corridors are replaced by a harmonious expanse where living, dining, cooking, outdoor entertaining and even working coexist without rigid boundaries. It’s a departure from the compartmentalized layouts used for hundreds of years, inviting light, air, and social interaction to flow freely.

The origins of open plan living trace back to the early 20th century. Visionaries like Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier championed the idea of interconnected spaces. Wright’s iconic Prairie-style homes emphasized horizontal lines, continuous flow, and a blurring of indoor and outdoor realms.

Open plan living eliminates visual barriers, allowing occupants to perceive the entire space at a glance – from the kitchen island to the cozy reading niche, everything is within sight. Considering served and serviced spaces, a scullery area or “dirty kitchen” can house washing areas, including machines and possibly a second hob or oven, and is sometimes combined with a laundry area.

To enhance the openness of cooking areas and allow for additional storage, a pantry and walk-in fridge are considerations, along with crockery storage or a butler’s pantry for more extensive entertaining

Forrest Road House

Optimal placement of the kitchen to receive morning and winter sun is critical, as it forms the core of the home. Positioning it adjacent to the lanai (covered patio) enables a seamless transition between inside and outside, integrating the indoor entertainment aspect of the kitchen with the outdoors

Sunlight floods the rooms when desired through the double volume windows, creating a sense of well-being, and reducing reliance on artificial lighting. Expansive windows and glass doors are integral, while double volumes and atria help to prevent shadowy rooms behind a lanai.

Subtle delineation through furniture placement or changes in floor and ceiling height helps define zones without erecting walls. Furniture layouts can evolve such as a dining table doubles as a workspace, and a sofa transforms into a guest bed.

Whether hosting a dinner party or supervising homework, open plan layouts encourage conversations and family members remain connected even while pursuing different activities.


Colour palettes and floor/wall finishes flow seamlessly, and cohesion is achieved through shared materials and textures.

Strategic placement of soft furnishings, rugs, and acoustic panels mitigates noise travel across open spaces.

And while openness fosters communal living, privacy remains crucial, a separate play/work area next to the kitchen or a private pajama lounge near the bedrooms is often required, especially if there are young children in the house.

Mooikloof Heights

Urban dwellings often embrace open plan layouts. Exposed beams, industrial aesthetics, and multifunctional furniture characterize these spaces. Minimalist Scandinavian and Japanese design philosophies align seamlessly with open plan living. Clean lines, neutral tones, and uncluttered spaces prevail.

Open plan living transcends architectural trends; it’s a philosophy that celebrates unity, adaptability, and human connection. As we reimagine our homes, let’s embrace the fluidity of open spaces – a canvas where life unfolds organically, unencumbered by walls and divisions.

Nico, for and on behalf of Santa, Werner, Margot, Micheal, Chris, Justin and Melanie