What is Broken Plan Living?

by | May 26, 2020 | Inspiration, New Builds

New trends in home design crop up so often these days, it’s hard to keep up. Open-plan living has been around a while now, well-known for its key traits of larger, open spaces and the removal of dividing walls to create an integrated, light and spacious feel. Now we introduce you to its younger sibling – broken-plan living which is all the rage in the home design world right now.

Central to the concept of broken-plan living is the clever use of space and design to make an open-plan space look open but separated at the same time. This allows people to have their own space and be away from each other, without losing the sense of space and integration that open-plan living can give. It can also look incredible when done effectively.



So how is broken-plan living done effectively?

It all starts in the design stage. When a property is planned to incorporate broken-plan living at the design stage, the structure itself can be adapted to include additional features such as split-level flooring, in-build storage and features such as mezzanine floors, low partition walls, columns and feature staircases. These things, when coupled with effective design, can really give the wow factor and take broken-plan living to the next level.

Still, if broken-plan is an afterthought and you simply want to adapt your open-plan space to this concept using décor and furniture alone then this is still possible. Beautiful broken-plan living spaces are created using things like different floor finishes, patterns and colours in different areas as well as furniture that creates a divide and semi-permanent partitioning. If you have a good eye for interior design, the possibilities for creating a stand-out broken-plan space are endless.



If you’re not altering the structure of your property, furniture can play a huge part in successfully creating divides between different areas of your room. Seating, shelving units and large furniture items can be great dividers. Think about having different colour and design themes in different areas, perhaps using different materials as a contrast.

A key thing with broken-plan living is not to sacrifice the light gain that open-plan gives. If you’re planning your space prior to the build stage, consider incorporating sky lights or internal windows to preserve the flow of light. If incorporating mezzanine floors or staircases, consider using glass panels or flooring. For those who are not altering the structure of the property, a simple glass screen or open shelving units can have a similar effect.

You also want to ensure that you retain the social aspect of open-plan living. The great thing about broken-plan is that it’s flexible and you have as little or as much divide between ‘zones’ as you want. Things like temporary partitions are great for dividing when you want your own space and opening back up again to serve a different purpose later. However you divide your space, it’s important to have a dedicated place for relaxing and coming together. Open-plan living is famous for creating a sense of sociability and you don’t want to lose that getting carried away with the ‘dividing’ factor.

Broken-plan looks set to be huge this year and a quick Google or Pinterest search will give you loads of inspiration to get ahead of the trend. Retaining all the benefits of open-plan living but bringing back the element of privacy – what’s not to love?