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Distinctive Designs

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If you have an open plan home but yearn to separate sections for specific purposes, then multifunctional zones might be the solution for you. In a shift we haven’t seen in decades, people yearn to transform their open plan homes into something more specific. Multifunctional zones, also known as the broken-plan, have all the benefits of open plan living – better air flow, more light and shared living – but with more structure.

Open plan living has dominated interior architecture since the 1970s, starting with rooms without doors and eventually the abolition of walls for a giant multipurpose space. This was in stark contrast to architecture in the pre-World War II era, with the main hallway acting as the artery with specific rooms branching off of it – the dining room, the kitchen, the piano room and more. Since then, we never really had a chance to go back.

The open By Claire Wright floor plan allows homeowners to change their space according to their changing needs, which is why it has dominated residential architecture for half a century. And then a shift forced us to reexamine our homes spaces: COVID-19. During lockdown, four in 10 Kiwis worked from home at some point during 2020 – unprecedented levels here in New Zealand. With so much time at home, we couldn’t help but think of ways to change our homes to suit our ever-evolving needs. Multifunctional zones, acting as individual areas within an open plan space, can give our brains a much-needed break by categorising our homes into spaces specifically for rest or for work. Here are some solutions to divvy up your open plan spaces.


Fold out a partition

Using a decorative fold out screen, you can literally divide the space up while giving the room a bit of character and artistic flair.

Use rugs to distinguish separate spaces

A subtle way to distinguish separate zones from each other is to use area rugs, removing the need to install physical barriers. Not only that, but it can give your house a homier feel.

Contrast materials for a different look

From wood panels to white walls, using contrasting materials to separate spaces is a clever way to define the lines between different zones. Wallpaper spaces for visual barriers Visually separate spaces by wallpapering specific corners, whether you want a bar area or a cosy spot to have some alone time. However you do it, whether with more physical décor or with different wall and ceiling materials, creating separate zones in your home can transform how you live and interact with your space.

By: Jamie Quinn