You’ve probably heard of the term ‘open plan’ – you probably even know somebody who has adopted this design in their home. When used in residential architecture, this refers to a house where two traditional rooms have been joined to form a larger space by eliminating some of the partition walls that help to divide the rooms.

It has been popular with residential architects, but recently there have been debates over whether ‘broken plan’ is the new open plan. Here, we’ll talk more about broken plan and open plan and how they differ, so you can explore what’s best for your space.


The Pros and Cons Of Open Plan

Open plan living has evolved homes over the past few decades, and there are numerous benefits; it increases space, light, and fluidity within a space that many people adore. However, it can also reduce privacy in the home, make it noisier, and is void of walls that divide the space for ease of placing furniture.


How Does Broken Plan Differ?

Broken plan has all of the benefits of open plan, but the aim with this design is to keep an element of privacy about your home, as well as specific use for each room. Broken plan, when designed correctly, will retain that sense of openness while offering more in the way of nooks and private areas.

There are numerous ways to divide your open space in a subtle way; shelving, split levels, and half walls to name just a few. This option could be perfect for you if you want the light and space of open plan while being able to escape the noise of your loved ones and the distractions that they bring if you need to.


Broken Plan In Practice


  • You could still have an open plan kitchen and living room next to one another, but you will use glass balustrades between to reduce sound transference and enable a better sense of relaxation.
  • You could knock down a wall between two rooms, but use a partial wall to create a snug area elsewhere.


Ideas To Create A Broken Plan


Below are some suggestions that homeowners can use to create the privacy that broken plan requires:

  • Levels – it doesn’t have to be walls or partitions. Using levels is a great way to create the broken plan.
  • Fireplaces – complete with chimney, can help you to block off spaces, while still leaving lots of room for that open feeling.
  • Half walls – a half wall can even be paired with shutters, which will give you the option of completely closing these areas off from each other if you want some time alone. To make sure that your shutters last for a long time, use hinges for exterior shutters with anti-corrosive properties. Look for hinges made from stainless steel or bronze, as these materials are resistant to rust and moisture damage.
  • Glass partitions – glazing provides the perfect way to keep your space feeling open, even while splitting it up.
  • Shelves – shelves allow you to break up any space, without impacting too heavily on the light that you have running through your home. They don’t need to be simple in design, you could get creative.


What Does The Future Hold For Open Plan?


Anybody can take walls out of their property with the aid of a structural engineer, but it’s not something that should be undertaken lightly. It takes a truly good design to remove walls from various areas while still having a space that feels totally cohesive to live in.

Over the last 20 years, there have been a huge number of demolitions as people have wanted to open up the floorplan of their home. However, many spaces can become impractical becoming impossible to furnish, and feel empty and cold to the homeowner. This isn’t always the case, but it is often one of the downsides to designing an open plan home. There has been backlash because of this, with some reports describing open plan as ‘caverness and soulless’.

Open plan still works well if you know exactly what to do to remove just the right walls and keep your space flowing nicely. However, broken plan could be the answer you are looking for if you want the airy, light feeling of open plan but want to retain some sense of privacy and keep the soul of your home.

How To Get Planning Permission In London - Ebook

This guide is suitable for anyone requiring consent from the local council to alter a home. It reviews the ins and outs of UK planning and strategies for successfully navigating it, based on our own experience.

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