Open plan living is not a modern concept, but it’s certainly been embraced in plenty of modern homes as a way to live. Combining your living, dining, and kitchen spaces offers the opportunity to engage more with your family and house members, and offers the opportunity for plenty of fun design ideas too, especially when it comes to open plan flooring ideas.
We’ll take you through what the concept of open plan living is, as well as the different types of flooring that work best in these spaces. We’ll also give some tips and tricks for making smaller open plan spaces feel bigger and well designed, so you can make the most of your combined space.
Open plan design is merging all the communal rooms that are typically in the downstairs area of your house - the living room, dining room and kitchen - into one large space with plenty of room to move between each space easily, and is becoming especially popular with Japandi interior design. This could either be by creating one large room that houses everything you need, or by creating large open doorways between the different rooms so that each space is connected.
American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was a pioneer of open plan design for residential houses. It was his vision to make the kitchen the centre of daily life, to foster togetherness and have a space for shared activities where all the family could gather.
There are many pros to this way of living a wall-free floor plan not only makes your home feel more spacious, but also brings more natural light inside and increases social interaction. In addition, parents can cook, clean, or work while watching over their children. One of the biggest concerns with creating open plan flooring is deciding which type of flooring will work best in such a large, open space.
Your first rule of thumb when you’re designing an open plan space is to use as few different types of flooring as possible – you want the space to feel cohesive and to nurture that feeling of togetherness, so dividing up the spaces can make them feel more closed off and smaller. The biggest issue is your dining room, living room, and kitchen all have different flooring requirements, so finding a flooring that can do it all is worth thinking carefully about.
Here are our suggestions of great flooring choices you could try in an open plan space to make it feel stylish, practical, and cohesive:
Luxury vinyl tiles are ideal for open plan spaces because they combine the look of solid wood and solid tile flooring with the practical features of vinyl flooring, giving you the best of both worlds. Your living room flooring’s top requirement will be style, and luxury vinyl tile looks amazing thanks to the high-quality design layer and textured top layer that gives it the look and feel of solid materials, like wood-effect or stone-effect LVT.
The same could be said for your dining area, which you’ll want to look stylish, but there are some practicalities to consider, like being able to clean up spills easily. LVT comes with a protective top layer that can be water-resistant making cleaning up a breeze. The top coat is also very durable, which means you won’t have to worry about your chairs or table scratching the surface and damaging the design layer beneath. there are even slip-resistant LVT options available for houses with little ones and pets where you want to avoid accidents
Your kitchen will be one of the busiest (and probably messiest) areas of an open plan space, and cooking comes with plenty of its own problems, like stains and frequent cleaning. Some of our LVT options are actually stain-resistant, but if the worst does happen, you can always follow our guide on cleaning LVT flooring to make sure you get any mess cleaned up properly.
Sheet vinyl flooring is similar to LVT in that it has incredible benefits and can also come in a variety of looks. It comes in large sheets as opposed to individual planks, so fitting vinyl flooring is a different process, and it will look more like one continuous sheet – this makes marble or stone flooring look incredible, and is a great choice for modern open plan spaces.
It's particularly impressive in kitchens because it’s slip resistant (great for avoiding accidents when you have little feet and paws always running around) and stain resistant, so it’s perfect for busy homes. You can find so many different styles to choose from, you won’t be limited to just a couple of looks – you could opt for a wood-effect vinyl for a sleek and easy-to-clean flooring that flows between spaces easily, or go bold with a tiled-effect vinyl that would give your home a striking Mediterranean feel.
Laminate flooring is one of the classic choices for open plan kitchen and living room designs. Its timeless designs come in a great variety of colours and shapes, so you could create your own herringbone laminate flooring if you love a traditional vibe, or you could make it modern by going grey or black. Regardless of the style you choose, you’ll be guaranteed a flooring that looks great and has lots of potential.
A cost-effective option that looks and performs like hardwood, laminate flooring is designed to be durable, scratch and water resistant, and easy to clean, making it ideal for households with children and pets. Fitting laminate flooring is hassle free for our fitters, making it a practical, and also budget friendly choice.
Engineered wood is another beautiful option for open plan spaces, as it combines the elegance of solid timber with the practical properties of laminate– the top layer is made from solid wood, giving it an authentic feel, but the layers beneath are made up of strong composite boards to provide strength and protection that’s better than natural planks.
Engineered wood in kitchens will need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep it looking as good as new. You can keep on top of it with our engineered wood care guide, which is packed full of helpful tips and tricks to keep your floor looking beautiful, even against your cooking and baking attempts! Alternatively, for specific flooring inspiration, why not find out what the best flooring for dining rooms is?
If you’re working with a open plan smaller space, our best advice to you would be to stick with one flooring and a cohesive colour palette across both spaces, so your space feels larger and flows well. Wooden flooring works well in smaller spaces because, depending on the direction of the boards, you can elongate the feel of your room and make it look wider or longer.
It's also worth arranging your furniture so that you don’t have your back to any area, as this closes off the space and interrupts the flow of conversation and movement. Arranging your sofas so that they are nearer to the walls is advisable, as well as placing your dining table in the middle of the space, so that the table and chairs are always the most inviting place to gather around, showing your guests that making conversation, eating and socialising are most important to you.
If you’d like to explore more options for your open plan space, why not pop down to your local Tapi store and speak to one of our floorologists? They’re always happy to help you find the perfect flooring for your space, and you can even organise a free home visit for our experts to come out to your home and assess the space for ourselves.Alternatively, for more flooring inspiration, head on over to our Ideas Hub, where you can find tips on the best flooring for hallways, how to style tiles in your living room, and much more.