So, rather than abandoning your open-plan living room ideas for good, it is better to follow the joint advice of three top designers who agree on the same effective layout trick. Their solution? Strategically placed area rugs. 

Using area rugs to break up your open-plan space – the solution that is loved by designers 

‘When designing with open floorplans, it’s best to break the space up with area rugs. This creates a definition for each section and gives the feeling of being in separate rooms,’ says Rozit Arditi, principal at Arditi Design (opens in new tab). And she isn’t alone in her suggestion.  ‘When designing with an open plan, you can use furniture and area rugs to create separate spaces within. The rug is a great place to start, as it sets the boundaries for a specific area,’ adds Elizabeth Sesser, the studio director at Ike Kligerman Barkley (opens in new tab).  This solution offers the sense of separate rooms – whether you want to interrupt your open-plan kitchen ideas to create a boundary from where you cook and dine –or separate yourself from your working space when the day is done.  While many diverse rug ideas can differentiate between areas in your space, Michael Cox, principal at Foley&Cox (opens in new tab), recommends using ‘two area rugs (one solid, one striped or patterned) instantly define zones in an open plan.’ 

Curating furniture as a ‘natural barrier’ in your space 

To break up your open plan further, the designers similarly all urge you to use large furniture cleverly – whether you choose a double-sided bookcase or an ornate room divider that instantly converts the room.  ‘Using larger furniture like a double-sided bookcase or decorative screen can then help to further divide the space while also giving some privacy from one area to the next,’ Elizabeth explains. While Michael suggests that these pieces act as ‘natural barriers’ that can help delineate rooms within an open space.’ ‘Another tip is to separate the ‘rooms’ with a console or sofa table to break up the space. I’ve also designed open floorplans with multiple sofas to help delineate areas for reading and watching television,’ Rozit adds. Whether you start with the rug trick, or you go a step further and interrupt your open plan with large furniture, you can rest in the knowledge these tips are entirely designer-approved and instantly effective.