Whilst glazed open-plan living spaces, are gloriously contemporary, their interiors must still be planned with care, to avoid clutter and confusion. However, the wealth of choice in terms of colour palette afforded by the new lease of light and space will positively dazzle those who have previously been confined to space and light-saving neutral colours.
Creating dedicated areas is essential to maximise the sense of space and multi-functionality of an open-plan space. To achieve this, always consider the sightlines at eye level from key views and entrances.
So often people underestimate the importance of proportion when it comes to layout planning for open-plan spaces. If the scale of the furniture is wrong, it will have a dramatic impact on the rest of the room. Apply this thinking to key zoning pieces such as kitchen islands, lighting pendants, rugs and sofas, in addition to the space designated for walking around these.
Bold new colour choices
When decorating open spaces, it is important to avoid the mundane whilst at the same time evading the visual chaos associated with too much colour. A neutral backdrop allows you to connect the different areas that make up the open-plan space whilst using different coloured furniture and pieces and contrasting finishes and textures to create interest and to demark different zones.
For those who don’t want a neutral backdrop, the tone-on-tone approach works well, transitioning from darker tones to lighter tones in the same colour, as you move from one section to another.
Conversely, unifying sparks of colour peppered throughout the open-plan area, in the form of rugs and cushions, can add a sense of cohesion to the entire space.
Open-plan spaces are also the perfect canvas for accent decor, wall art and statement accessories, with statement couches and pillows being used to bring drama in a way that negates the need to incorporate colour in the backdrop. Stay away from oil paintings and watercolours, however, as these will suffer under the greater exposure to UV rays that occur in orangeries and garden rooms. Acrylics are much better suited to this type of environment.
For those wanting to blur the boundaries between the inside and the outside, matching window dressings and interior features to prominent shades in the garden is also an effective way of uniting the interior with the exterior.
Window dressings should be kept to a minimum in order to ensure that the views you have been longing for, aren’t obstructed. Sailcloth is a sympathetic finish for ceiling blinds.
A far cry from the wicker days
Colour-led and design-oriented options had once been out of the question for those with glazed extensions, particularly conservatories, since furniture choices were curbed by the threat of UV damage. However, this problem can now be moderated with the use of laminated glass or internal film on glazing, which lowers UV exposure by 98%, thus diminishing fading on rugs and curtains. Despite the dramatic reduction in UV exposure that this technology affords, fading still occurs to some extent, and in such settings, oak will turn orange over time.
Thankfully, garden rooms and orangeries create natural shading through the use of perimeter margins around the roof lanterns and via tiled roofing areas, an advantage that they hold over the highly glazed conservatory alternative. This means that in conjunction with the use of fade-resistant fabrics, consumers can be confident that interiors will continue to look good for years to come.
If the room does have a high level of glazing and a southerly orientation, but doesn’t have a reduced UV glazing, be aware that printed fabrics tend to fade less than woven ones, and those ranges which have been designed specifically for outdoor use are also more fade resistant. Look for the grading on fabric labels that will give an indication of its quality and durability.
Lighting is key for zone demarcation
Lighting is of vital importance when creating larger rooms and will make a room that looks great in the day, look absolutely fabulous at night. There are two types of lighting – task lighting and ambient lighting, both of which must be used in conjunction with one another. Task lighting ensures that occupants can work, read and function in the right light, while the ambient lighting is there to create the mood and drama.
Vintage industrial has been a major trend in the market in 2018, with Edison lightbulbs being widely used to add interest to the standard pendant light.
Hard choices in flooring
Flooring immediately sets the tone and perceived temperature of a orangery or garden room. Hard surfaces, and in particular stone flooring, cope well with the strains of temperature change and sunlight – in short, they won’t fade and work well with underfloor heating, so that your floor can be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Stone also has the benefit of being able to connect the indoor world with that of the outdoor, creating a harmony between the two. Stone is also durable and stain resistant making it a practical choice, for what is bound to become a high traffic area, as family members and guests naturally gravitate toward this inside-outside area of light ambience.