It’s not uncommon to find living spaces that have the dining room and living room exceptionally close to one another, especially in open plan interiors such as city apartments or contemporary houses. It’s not a bad thing but it does create a head-scratcher for those who prefer to keep the two separate.
As this is a problem that is usually resolved by trial and error at the homeowner’s expense, we’ve decided to share some inspirational home interiors in this article that successfully manage to create the divide between living and dining without the hassle of creating an additional wall. We will also give a few words on how we believe this was achieved so you can take what you’ve learned and incorporate it into your own home.
Monica’s Apartment from Friends
It may have been a TV show set, however, as you can see this city apartment had some great character to it and above all managed to divide the two ‘rooms’ through furniture orientation. The long four-seater sofa has its back facing the dining room space, which creates an invisible wall as attention is paid to the space in front of the sofa. The giant rug on the floor also defines the edges of the space as all of the living room furniture is contained within its perimeters.
The coffee table, placed in the centre of the living room, has all furniture pointing towards it to make the living room its own communal space as all who occupy it will be facing one another (the intended purpose of a living room). In contrast, the kitchen diner is much more open with a counter that sweeps across one wall of the room, providing ample space to move around whilst the dining table and chairs are occupied. Overall, although it may be fictional, it’s a perfect example of how the rooms can be kept apart by contrasting uses of space and furnishings.
Levels Define Spaces
It can be a headache in open plan homes when every ‘room’ that is intended to be its own entity merge with one another. In this example the division between living room and dining room is successfully created through the use of levels. As you can see, the dining room has been raised up and the perimeter gated by a low rail – a great way to identify its intended space. The living room, on the other hand, has been placed on the lower level, which is accessible via a staircase. This will create a cosier environment within the room, which you lower yourself into where again all furniture is pointing towards the centre (the coffee table).
The rug has also been used in this example to define the perimeters of the living room area and an additional feature to the back of the sofa, the console table, further re-enforces that divide between the two spaces and provides an additional storage/ display unit.
The view from this city apartment is amazing and shows a good example of how to divide the living room and dining room by placing each space in corners of the room. The corner where the dining space resides has a prominent feature wall next to it where a painting is hung. The protruding wall suggests one perimeter of the dining area, almost like an invisible line. The second perimeter, or invisible wall if you like, of that area is defined by where the living room space begins. This is where the rug is the major component used to identify the start of the living room space yet again.
As in the previous examples, the living room furniture is kept within the confines of the edges of the rug. Also as before, the beautiful contemporary coffee table is the focal point of that space, bang in the middle of it all.
After looking at the examples provided and analysing how they separate the living room and dining room spaces, the three major key points can be referred to when decorating and furnishing your own open plan home:
- A rug can define the perimeters of a space so invest in a large one complimentary to the furniture within it;
- The back of a long sofa can create a barrier between the space behind it and the space in front of it so get a nice long one that contrasts the living room from the dining room furniture;
- Coffee tables are the focal point of the living room, which all furniture within the space stems from. One that complements the living room furniture is ideal. Remember though, clear glass coffee tables can create an illusion of space within the living room area where as solid wooden ones add an intimate feel.
Hopefully you’ve been inspired by this article to incorporate some features of open plan division into your home. If you have any other suggestions you’d like to add please just drop them into the comments section below.