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How To Create Zones In Open Plan Living Spaces - Julie Cowley Interiors

How To Create Zones In Open Plan Living Spaces

I had a question from a lovely fb follower lately…


“If you have a long space that is kitchen, dining and a lounge area, what decorating tips do you have for creating zones for each area but still keeping a cohesive feel?” 

  Great question!!  Open plan living spaces are super popular at the moment.. but if you don’t create individual zones within your space, it can feel a bit more like a great big hall, and less like a cosy home. 

Read on for my top 4 tips for creating zones in open plan living areas…

1.  Add a rug

  Adding a rug is possibly the quickest and easiest way to define a space within your open plan living area.  The most popular spot is within the living/lounge space, but they also work well under the dining table.

If you need expert tips on choosing the perfect rug, I have a free eBook just for you.  Download it here!

…and can we take just a moment to soak in this amazingness at Salt at Shoal Bay…  How’s that view!! 😍 Definitely adding this one to the holiday destination list!

Oh, and yes, rugs have been used beautifully here to define both the living and dining spaces.  Nice one!

2.  Use feature lighting

Feature lighting is having its moment in the sun, and it doubles as a perfect way to define spaces.  See how the large black pendant light in the space below draws the eye in and defines the dining space… well played Zephyr +  Stone 👌 

Make sure you choose lighting that will actually make an statement.  One large pendant works well, as does a cluster of 3 or 5… odd numbers always tend to work best in interiors.


3.  Fancy up your walls

Another massive design crush I have at the moment is for feature walls… especially panelling!  ..and what do you know… another perfect way to define a zone!  DIY Shelley has nailed the feature wall using not only panelling, but also a bold colour choice, clearly defining her living zone from the rest of the space.

Other options for creating a feature wall include painting a different colour, wallpaper, statement shelving, large artwork or gallery walls.


4.  Move things around

You know, back in the day, when you’d go to your school social, and all the chairs and tables were pushed to the edges of the room… how massive did that room feel!?  Perfect for a dance to Macarena (yep, I’m that old!), but not so good for creating intimate spaces.

The lesson… Don’t feel that your sofa needs to be pushed up against the wall.  Play around with the positioning of your furniture, and try turning the sofa’s back on the rest of the room.  It will automatically define the living space.  

Shae McGee can do no wrong, so take a cue from her, and try adding a console table behind the sofa to make it look even more pretty!

So, there you have it, my top 4 tips for defining the individual spaces within an open plan living area.  I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions, so go ahead and leave a comment below.


Still feeling overwhelmed by all those decorating decisions?  You’re not alone!  Let me take away the overwhelm and stress of your next decorating project, and create a space that makes you smile every time you walk through the door.

I can help you no matter where in Australia you live, via my eDecoration services (click here), or if you live in the Mallee, Riverland or surrounds, work with me in person, (click here).


Till next time,

J x

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