April 11, 2014
Open concept home design, which began with kitchens and spread to dining and other living spaces, is one of the decorating trends that's headed for classic status. For more than two decades, the popularity of open layouts, where there's an easy flow from room to room with only half walls and other dividers between them, has only grown. One of the unifying factors is floors like the hickory hardwood flooring in Anderson's Vintage solid woods collection.
The elements of open design, a style that has also become popular in corporate office decor, include high ceilings, large windows that draw in lots of natural light and multi-functional use of the space. Open concept kitchens began by drawing together the cooking areas with dining rooms or an adjacent seating area that was part eat-in kitchen and part family den. It sprung from the desires of many homeowners to have guests socialize with them while they prepared a meal, bringing the party to the kitchen instead of having visitors wait to be called from the living room.
"Lately we've seen a focus on entertaining from our clients," Jase Frederick, director of communications for the Illinois chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, told CBS Money Watch. "They're looking for spaces that maximize their ability to gather and relax with friends and family."
Connecting the rooms
The trick in dealing with large rooms is how to keep them warm and inviting without cramping the open feel of the room design. One way to do that in an open-concept kitchen is to have appliances that blend into the cabinetry with panels that mimic wood or painted surfaces.
Designers and homeowners have also embraced the idea of hiding appliances through devices like microwave drawers. The same idea applies to family rooms and bedrooms, where TVs and entertainment centers are often ensconced in armoires or an alcove that can be shut when the electronics aren't in use.
Continuing wood floors and colors from room to room is another way to enhance the connection between adjacent areas. Painting rooms in a unifying color ties together adjacent areas, even if different shades of the same hue are used, according to Hamptons magazine. For instance, a wall color in one room can be the ceiling color elsewhere in the house.
Using the same color on trim, molding and hallways continues a unified look throughout a residence. Neutral, light tones are best for brightening kitchens and dining and living areas.