If you are considering how to separate spaces at home without building walls, a brief look at the Japanese approach to open-plan living is a good place to start.
Japanese architecture has been embracing open-plan living for centuries. In a traditional home, great value is placed on the organic flow between living spaces. The idea is that a place should be whittled down to its central essence. This means that traditional and even contemporary Japanese homes often lack non-essential inner walls. To delineate separate living areas, the central living spaces are often transformed throughout the day by the use of wooden sliding doors.
At the same time, careful consideration is placed on the transition points in the design. An entrance or transition point is often designed with the slightest shift in the floor. This is to help the inhabitants acknowledge that shifting from one task to another requires a shift in mindset. This is just one of the beautiful approaches that may help guide us through the process of separating their living spaces without adding walls.
To learn more, come with us to explore a few options.
If you are considering an open-plan layout, the chances are that you live in a large city and your apartment is a little smaller than you would like. This usually means that the home needs a little jolt of nature.
A large fish tank is a wonderful way to divide a space. The transparent glass will allow the flow of light pass through and the watery ambience will create a relaxing atmosphere. Aquarium Architecture has some lovely large tanks that are sure to inspire! If the sound of pot plants is more appealing, check out this wonderful glass enclosed plant feature. The green glass is a great way of enclosing the sturdy palms within a smooth and seamless container. This means of course that the sofa here can easily be butted up against the glass without fear of leaves, soil or water creating problems.
In this living room, we have a good example of the floating wood panels that are so popular at the moment. The great advantage of this option is that it creates a mental boundary around the living space with minimal visual interruption. At the same time, the fine vertical lines of the wood lead the eye upwards and increase the sense of height in the room. They are very easy to install and the timber adds a natural, elegant look to any living room.
As seen here, a smooth and yet dazzling shift in the flooring design can be a great way to delineate a separate living space. If possible, it's a good idea to find some small accent or colour inherent in both surfaces to unify the look. But if there isn't the option to install a new floor, a large rug can have the same effect.
A simple rail track as seen here can be easily installed and set up to separate living zones. The glass will allow light to flow unimpeded through the space, and the sliding option allows for privacy when needed. While fiercely minimal glass doors may be beautiful, don't underestimate the danger of people bumping into them on occasion—particularly if they've had ah, a glass of wine! A sliding door with black frames like this is not only safe, it's obviously very stylish as well.
We're cheating a little with this solution. Yes there's a low wall, but this idea could work just as well if you eliminate the wall altogether. This row of wooden blinds could be a very stylish way to separate your living areas. They could simply be rolled up when you want to take advantage of an open plan, or dropped down for privacy.
Curtains are the ultimate choice for those who want a cheap and flexible solution. But a curtain divider can definitely look a bit rough and student-like if it's not properly done. To spruce up this age-old approach, consider adding a strong rail like this together with some dedicated lighting. When it comes to materials, choose something with the adequate weight that will fall elegantly to the ground without dragging needlessly on the floor.
For our final tip, we will explore a Japanese home. This living room is quite distinctively separated by the flooring into one surrounding walkway and a sunken-in lounge area. A floor like this with different heights could work with any number of room configurations, from a simple, sleeping platform to a slight shift to delineate the living room from the dining room.
If you are interested in open-plan living, you'll love: Designing a clutter-free, open-plan kitchen.