Homeowners all across America have opened their hearts to open-concept living rooms. Spend a few hours binge-watching your favorite home design show — you know, the one where the interior-designer-turned-TV-host knocks down almost every wall in the house — and you’ll be ready to take a sledge hammer to your own walls.
If you recently fell in love with a new house or apartment because of the open floor plan, we get it. But once you get into that large open space, a few challenges start to present themselves — challenges that you didn’t imagine when you were imagining yourself in your open-concept home.
When you decorate an open-concept living room, kitchen, and dining room, you need to make each space feel distinct but you also need to tie them together. If you don’t manage to do both of these seemingly opposite things, your space could feel chaotic and cluttered. But with a few easy design ideas, you can make your open-concept living room look like it was featured on your favorite home makeover show.
Learn the room decorating techniques that interior designers use to tackle open-concept floor plans.
5 open-concept living room ideas that add seamless style
From how you organize your space to the paint colors you incorporate and the furniture you choose, every design decision can make your open-concept space feel more cohesive. Here are a handful of ideas to help you get started.
1. Block off different “rooms”
Before you start furniture arrangement in an open-concept design, you need to have a firm grasp on where your dining area ends and your living area begins. Try this design exercise on for size: Grab a roll of painter’s tape, and tape off the floor wherever you think a wall would be if you didn’t have an open-concept floor plan.
You may find there are natural places to divide up the space. It’s typically obvious where an open-concept kitchen begins and ends, but for the other “rooms,” you may find that a row of columns or an archway represents a spot where a wall used to be. However, you may also have to choose your own places to divide the room, especially if you have a long and skinny open-concept layout.
Once you’ve divided the room into sections, you can get a better idea of the square footage of each “room,” which will help you determine how big your furniture should be. Measure the spaces that you’ve blocked off for your dining room and living room to determine what size dining table or living room sectional you need.
Once you divide your larger space out into smaller “rooms,” you may find that you need furniture for small spaces instead of large. Or you may find yourself with enough room for oversized furniture in every area.
2. Choose a design style
When you have a closed floor plan, you can get experimental and choose a different style of home decor for every room. If you want to do French Country style in your kitchen and Hollywood Regency decor in your living space, you can go right ahead. You don’t have to worry about the spaces clashing because each of your room designs will be contained within its own four walls.
But with an open-concept living room, your living room furniture will also be visible from your dining room. So if your room designs don’t match — at least in their style — it will be glaringly obvious. To pull off an open-concept design, you should choose one style and use it throughout the entire space.
Take some time to pin down your favorite interior design style before you start your home makeover. There are dozens of styles to choose from — from mid-century modern to transitional to modern farmhouse. Once you decide on a style, refer back to it with every design decision you make.
3. Use furniture as room dividers
While you don’t need to add a literal room divider, your furniture layout can help you separate your space into distinct areas.
Try creating a T-shaped layout with furniture from different sections of the room. For example, if you’re walking through the kitchen area, your dining table could form the top of the T. This layout creates a hard stop when you get to the next section of the room, which helps create the feeling that the areas are distinct.
You can also arrange seating back-to-back to create distinct areas. For example, you can arrange your open-concept living room layout so that the back of your sofa faces the back of the stools at your kitchen island. If you’re in your kitchen, the back of your sofa will be in your sight line, creating a visual stopping point that essentially takes the place of a wall.
If you have a one-wall or an L-shaped kitchen layout, adding a kitchen island can help create a divider that signifies the end of the kitchen. Also, adding separate area rugs for each section of your open-concept space can help further visually block off the distinct areas.
4. Choose matching or similar furniture
Having a few similar pieces of furniture in different sections of the room will help tie together your open-concept design. You can get this look by choosing living room accent chairs that look similar to your dining chairs. Or you can pick out a dining table that has the same silhouette and wood tones as your coffee table.
For example, you could pair these tufted side chairs in the dining area with these tufted wing-back accent chairs in the living area. Or you can choose this dining table with a faux marble top and black legs and put it with this coffee table that features the same finishes. Adding similar touches helps create cohesion between all of the smaller spaces that make up your larger room.
5. Add a thread that ties it all together
In addition to similar pieces of furniture, you should choose one design element that you can incorporate into every area of your open-concept living room. This design element will serve as the common thread in every section of your room.
One of the simplest design threads is a color scheme that incorporates the same accent color into each area of your open-concept design. Let’s say you choose moss green as your accent color. You can hang moss green tea towels in the kitchen, add moss green throw pillows to the living room, and lay a moss green table runner across the dining table.
Instead of an accent color, you could also make your design thread a print, like plaid, or a furniture finish like white with natural wood. Whatever accent you choose, make sure it appears in every section of your open-concept layout and that these accents are within your sight line from all the different sections of the room.
With these common threads, you can tie together your open-concept living room.
Open your mind and design
Decorating an open-concept living room can require a little more creativity than decorating a closed-concept space.
You’ll run into your share of challenges — from fitting multiple rooms into one space to making it look cohesive. But once you’re done, you’ll have a beautiful open space that looks just like the “after” shots on your favorite home design show.
So this is your opening — start working on your open-concept living room design by heading to your local furniture store. There, you can find pieces that are the perfect size and style for each section of your open floor plan — and you can tie your design together by choosing the finishing touches in person.
Where To Buy