interior design Archives | Vancouver Architect

Express And Celebrate Cultural Diversity Through Design

How do you express and celebrate the cultural diversity in your community? #StopAsianHate

Vancouver has an amazing cultural mosaic. The multicultural society shaped within the last century has been woven of many cultures around the world. This makes Vancouver one of the most desirable cities in the world for the past several years in a row.

We celebrate our diversity and enjoy living in a neighborhood comprised of Indian, Chinese, Caribbean, Iranian, Korean, Philippians, Japanese, and so many other nations.

We are so lucky to have the best of the whole world in one city. The diverse culture creates a lively, vibrant society and offers peaceful life under one flag.

As a home designer, I had the privilege of working with representatives of many different cultures and learning a lot from each. I grew to understand their lifestyle, their beliefs, and what makes them different. I learned how to design their home to align their culture and life philosophy with modern technology and limitations.

It’s a marriage between ancient philosophy and modern lifestyle. Without our city’s extraordinary diversity, I wouldn’t have been exposed to such rich cultures, and that means having no chance to expand the horizons and enrich my design with new approaches.

For instance, I designed and build a laneway house and their main house renovation for a Chinese client with many strong ties to Feng Shui. Not only have we learned how to corporate together and get along, but I also discovered a philosophy of health, peace, and harmony that helps me improve the well-being of all my new clients

Express And Celebrate Cultural Diversity Through Spiritual Harmony

Chinese temple detail

Feng shui is not the new word in the world of interior design. It represents an ancient Chinese philosophy that helps people find balance in the way they live their lives. Harmonizing your spirit also means harmonizing your lifestyle, and that includes the space you live in. Feng shui is about merging living spaces with nature through spatial design. 

It’s based on the idea of the living force every person shares with other living things. The name is Qi (“chee”), Ki, or Prana, and marks the life energy that connects everything in nature. It exists in every cell, flows throughout our minds, souls, and bodies, providing vitality and the unique feeling of being alive. A person with balanced energy is filled with joy and zest for growth.

But what about Prana? 

That’s where things are getting even more interesting. As I learned from another client, a big believer in Buddhism, Prana is not much different than Qi. It’s a Hindu philosophy based on harmonizing life energy through yoga, natural medicine, and meditation. Hindu literature often describes Prana as the energy we receive directly from the Sun.

Both clients desired the same: specific implementation of design principles in order to promote well-being and harmony, allowing their energy to flow undisrupted throughout their homes, in order to improve their overall quality of life.

The History of Feng Shui

Celebrate the diversity

The concept of feng shui has been gradually finding its way in the Western interior design world for the past several decades. However, its origins are very ancient. The oldest traces are leading to tombs dating back as far as the Neolithic Age. Some feng shui principles have been easily recognized in their construction. 

It’s not surprising, if we know that the philosophy originates in astrology. Most ancient cultures designed burial plots to mirror the order of celestial objects, such as stars. Through time, the practical body of the philosophy found more ways into daily life, eventually spreading into modern assets like interior design and urban planning all around the planet.

When we celebrate cultural diversity in the right ways, we discover similarities rather than differences, reaching the roots that connect us all.

What Connects Feng Shui And Well-Being Philosophies 

The name feng shui comes from the two words that mark two essential elements of life. Feng means wind (air) while Shui means water. The phrase itself comes from an ancient poem celebrating the connections between nature, human life, and all its environment.

The fundamental approach is to allow qi to flow through your home, eliminating all possible disruptions on its way. Feng shui has many principles to follow, and those may include everything from furniture design to precise placing your plates and glasses. 

Perhaps the most well-known principle is how to position the bed. According to Feng Shui, you should never place a bed under a window. However, it’s OK to place it against the wall next to a window, or even better -between two windows. The secret is in the symmetry. It supports the flow of the chi energy without disturbing your sleep.

Now, where do we find the principles of symmetry in our world? Not surprisingly, in the origins of modern architecture. 

Colloseum

 What Vitruvius called the “proper agreement between the members of the work itself” is nothing else than symmetry. The ancient Greek philosophy knew the word “symmetros” meaning “measured together.” Our modern English word “proportion” is derived from the Latin word “proportio” which describes the relationship of the parts/segments/portions. In short, the ideals of beauty and harmony all grow from the same roots and keep connecting us for thousands of years, from the times when the world was much bigger. 

 And yet, today, when you can go around the world in a day, instead to celebrate cultural diversity as a common heritage, we put walls in our minds and barriers in our souls.

Harmony Is All Around Us 

We have long adopted the staples of beauty as the matter of symmetry and proportion above all. Today, humans all around the world spend large amounts of money in an attempt to achieve the ideal body, ideal face, ideal environment. The fact is, symmetry and proportion are, virtually and literally, part of our DNA.

Designing the perfect building or a perfect interior is strongly related to the human body. All parts must be put together meaningfully, but it can happen in many ways. One thing is certain – all outcomes depend on proportion, and the best ones are rooted in symmetry.

The Harmony of Contrasts

Abu Simbel, Egypt

Ancient Egyptian art is consistently admired mostly due to the value ancient Egyptians placed on harmony and symmetry. Its perfection comes from the cultural value of ma’at – which literally translates as “harmony” – which was central to the ancient Egyptian civilization. Ma’at was in everything, from the social order to every creation. The “oneness” was the symbol of ‘chaos’ while the gods introduced duality. The ma’at, the universal principle of harmony in ancient Egypt, dwells in the contrasts: day and night, male and female, light and dark.

Or, as the ancient Chinese Feng Shui philosophy would say – yin and yang. 

The philosophy of yin and yang is a concept of duality. In it, the opposite forces connect and must work in tandem in order to create true harmony. Yin is passive, subdued, soft energy, while yang is progressive, aggressive, and bold.

And then, there is also wabi-sabi. Traditional Japanese aesthetics that is taking over the world by storm is based on the acceptance of imperfection. It’s a philosophy of appreciating the beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature, where it exists and occurs. The principles of Wabi-Sabi lay on asymmetry, but also on the appreciation of both natural objects and the forces of nature. In short, it tends to find harmony in perfect simplicity. 

So once again, why we tend towards chaos and oneness when the true well-being lies in the harmony of contrasts?

Express And Celebrate Cultural Diversity For More Colorful Tomorrow 

Celebrate the diversity - the power of symmetry

People who see diversity as adversity sometimes are led by fear and a lack of self-confidence. We need to try and see the matter from a different perspective. Fear of the unknown leads to ignorance, and ignorance is the enemy of self-improvement. As a society, we have to come together, get stronger and stop hate and violence against all that is different from us, and that includes Asians or any minorities.

As a society, we grow happier, wealthier, and greater when united and organized against poverty, ignorance, and selfishness.

I encourage all to stay strong, stay safe, and instead of hating each other try to keep focus and limit your exposure to negative news coming from media. We should empower ourselves with self-control and not surrender the control of our lives to the media and those who want to take advantage of our innocence.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay healthy.

Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling: A Gift That Lasts

Valentine’s Day is only a week away, and many homeowners around the world are feeling somewhat demoralized. We’re still locked out of life, in one way or another. For some, it might be a relief to avoid wandering the jungle of chocolates, flowers, jewellery, perfumes, and all those stuff that we have all seen a million times before. But then again – why skip the celebration? Instead of cluttering the silly little gifts that might never be used, opt for a gift that bears a real and lasting value. Something like a Valentine’s Day home remodelling.

Why Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling

Well, we may think of a reason or two… Let’s say:

  • You are most likely spending more time in your home than ever before. That means some details have become dull or irritating, and some minor issues that you have never been noticing before suddenly turn significant. Even if everything seems perfect, refreshed surroundings open new horizons and do wonders for motivation. 
  • You are single, and all the fuzz about Valentine’s Day is merely annoying. But you do love your home, don’t you? Why not giving it a gift? Yes, any other day is equally good for such an idea. But that “any other day” often stretches to eternity.
  • Your partner really wants an improved kitchen or a new bathroom. 
  • You are single, and really want an improved kitchen or a new bathroom. 

More Reasons for Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling

Why Now?

According to psychologists, when a person feels stagnant, a major change can be the catalyst to get things rolling again. After spending a year on a stagnant planet, we can all benefit from a boost.

Adapting to meet physical or family needs, making a space more contributory to social interaction, or more efficient, all can enhance the quality of life. Projects inspired by emotional or psychological motives bring great results when accomplished to meet some real, practical necessities. 

Even a small refreshment, or a new appliance, gives a couple more reasons to sit, talk, and work together. As a result, they contribute to healthier relationships.

The Gift of a Problem Solved

While it may not be the ultimate romantic Valentine’s Day gift, at least not according to holiday advertising – it boasts a high value that will grow in appreciation as time goes by. Broken features, bad appliances, leaky faucets, squeaky doors… If one or more of such things present a permanent source of stress for your partner, fixing them with a magic wand might just prove to be the most romantic thing you have ever done so far. Not only that it will improve the quality of life for you both – it will also communicate some subliminal messages, such as “I am paying attention – you’re important.” 

Inspiration for Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling Can Be Found Anywhere

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red Wall Paint

Refresh the Walls

A fresh coat of paint is an effortless way to revive the room. Painting them red can bring a lot of fun and count for one of those “do crazy things together” relationship improvement moments. It’s not only a decoration task; it’s an experience and a way to create lasting memories. Also, it’s one of the easiest and cheapest home remodelling tasks. Even if the final result is not what you hoped for – simple repainting will solve that.

Alternatively, you may catch an early bird and opt for a vivid mix of red with Pantone Colour of the Year 2021 Ultimate Gray and Illuminating.

Pantone Color of the Year 2021

Warm-up With Fire

If you don’t own a fireplace, think of building one…or a few. Apart from a living room, as an obvious choice, think of placing one in your bedroom. A fireplace can be just the right addition for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you can’t go out on a date, but with a little effort, your own home can do a perfect hosting job.

Refresh Lighting Fixtures

Nothing affects the mood and overall room atmosphere like lighting, and updating the regular fixtures is a smart move. Low brightness patterns, hidden fixtures, ambient lighting with subdued colours deliver a soothing, restful effect, while high levels of crisp white light promote activity.

A bedroom environment will see a lot of benefits from changing the lighting system. Pick the right lighting solutions that will add some romantic flair, and install dimmers. Diffusing lamp designs with discrete illumination produce a relaxing, quiet, stress-free mood. Besides the amorous dimension, this setting also promotes tranquillity in all senses, which is useful for improved communication. 

Crystal chandeliers are back, and you can utilize them in many ways to add a serious style boost to your home. Try it in the bathroom and turn utility space into a seven-star luxury spa retreat for you and your partner. We’ll be back on this later.

For extra Valentine’s flair, try red lighting fixtures. A sassy and red light draws attention and works magic as a visual feature where least expected. Red bedside light shade will inspire and energize, especially as an accent, a light touch of stand-alone colour.

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red accents

Another cheeky way to use red is a vanity light or kitchen ambient lights. Accent red is a great example of breathing life and energy levels into a neutral space. 

Update the Kitchen

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling -kitchen with red counter

If your partner enjoys being a designated house chef, he or she would surely be delighted with an updated kitchen. The good side of this project is that it doesn’t have to break the budget. A Valentine’s Day home remodelling gift can be as simple as refreshed countertops or upgraded appliances. A full kitchen remodelling would also include brand new cabinetry, plumbing, floors, and perhaps changing to a new, more functional layout.

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red Backsplash

Updated appliances can also add more fun to meal preparation and provide you with some quality time together

Turn Bathroom Into a Spa Retreat

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red bathroom accents

If your budget is limited, start from details, such as red Valentine accents. Neutral bathroom colours are a perfect canvas for all sorts of accessorizing. The next step could be updating your faucets and showerhead – it can convey the feeling of having a full remodelling job done. 

A new programmable thermostat will help in maintaining the right temperature during long showers. Support this feature with low-flow showerheads that minimize water waste while retaining the same pressure. Additionally, you may try vapour and steam generator for a bit of extra challenge. Shower benches for relaxing are also a good idea. 

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red faucets

Still, if you’re ready to invest in a serious bathroom remodel, you might just end up feeling like you’re in a brand new home. In a good way, of course.

A luxurious bath is an experience that enhances all kinds of love: to your home, to yourself, to your partner. Spa-like master bathrooms significantly improve the lifestyle, help relaxation and promote better connection with self and others.

Not many things can instantly warm up a romance like a therapeutic whirlpool tub with candles and scents. For additional romantic points, support the whirlpool tub with a sensual dual walk-in shower with body jets.

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red walls

A couple of impressive focal points can elevate the bathroom design to become yours and your partner’s favourite place in the house, a private sanctuary for regular dates. If beautiful views surround your home, consider more opening to outside with ample glass walls or windows. Don’t worry about privacy; a specialized glass will prevent the issues.

If you’re not a fan of modern design, turn the bathroom interior into a fairytale escape, filled with traditional romance and modern glamour, illuminated by a lavish chandelier. 

Luxury-Bathroom-design wallpapers are back
Vancouver architect: Luxury bathroom design

Install an Outdoor Kitchen

The weather will soon be fine, so why not enhance social life with a new outdoor kitchen? This practical and entertaining outdoor space will add a new dimension to all your relationships: with your partner, with your friends, with your home. 

An outdoor kitchen adds a lot of value, not the least to the property itself. You and your partner/family will get extra space to hang out, entertain, and try some new challenges that will bring you more together.

An outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to compete with the regular one. It can be as simple as one small counter space with a grill. But if you want to dress to impress, create a luxury outdoor space with a top-notch cooking station, wet bar, and refrigerator.

When Is the Right Time to Start Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling?

Suppose you are reading this a day before THE day and feel disappointed now. Don’t be. A plan is enough. Make basic preparations, talk to designers and contractors and see what they can do for you. Or call us and check how we can set it all up for you. A ready-made plan can make an ideal Valentine’s day gift. Present your loved one with a list, and spend time talking about ways to make you both fully involved in a process. Step by step, you will be investing in a better and happier future together. Finally, it sounds like a better investment than perfume and a box of chocolates, doesn’t it?

Sources: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

Wallpapers are Back in a Big Wave

Wallpapers are back, can you believe it? 

Do you remember houses in the ’60s and ’70s with patterned wallpaper that could make you feel dizzy at a glance? Some were flashy and colorful, and some were discreet. And then they went to history. Who would have thought that only half a century later, they would return? 

What you perceive as wallcovering now entirely differs from the era when virtually every vertical surface featured visually striking layers of paper. Sometimes the rule of thumb was一the more bizarre, the better. Wallpaper was everywhere, and, at some point during the eighties, the world eventually got tired.

There are many other logical reasons as to why it happened. Lifestyle was changing, and so were the trends. The need for simple, minimalist interior designs was on the rise, and flashy wallcoverings didn’t quite fit anymore. Predictions were not optimistic, and it truly seemed that this kind of deco had finally bottomed out so much that it’s unlikely ever to see it return.

And yet, wallpapers are back in full glory, much more modern, in new designs and textures, in 3D version, or in a combination of patterns and exposure from the wall. I see new decals combined with fabric and vinyl or thin metal, and I love them because they give a different dimension to the room. Wallpapers are inspirational; they give you the feeling of who you are and can even help your mood and daily activity. 

Stay with me to get a little insider knowledge and truly take the best out of wallpaper trends for 2020.

Contemporary-House-design
Contemporary-House-design

Wallpapers are Back in Style

Wallpapers feature a rollercoaster of a reputation. Not as far as ten years ago, if you heard someone mentioning how they were thinking of putting up wallpaper, you would probably stare in disbelief. It’s not so weird, as some of us still remember spending endless hours tediously removing old wallpaper from every surface of the house, in order to coat the walls with refreshingly simple layers of paint. 

But this is 2020, and that means improvement: no thick paste anymore, no hard labor, and no messy, exhausting removal. Wallpapers are back pre-glued and ready to be applied directly to the wall. Many of them come in specific designs, such as giant stickers, for effortless removal without damaging the surface under. Very convenient, as it allows for experimenting and refreshing without a permanent commitment.

In contrast to the cool and neutrals tones that dominate as choices, wallpapers feature bold colors, statement patterns, and nature-inspired prints. In difference of wallpapers from the 20th century, you should not cover your entire home in landscapes or florals. Quite the contrary, the trend focuses on visual accents and a chance to make a significant impact on a smaller scale.

Also, wallpapers are back in unusual spaces. Toilets, bathrooms, kitchens, foyers, and closets are all excellent places to experiment with a bold print. If you want, you may even try covering the entire small room for a unified, statement look. In a living room, dining room, or bedroom, though, it’s better to stick to accent zones. 

New Statement Wallpapers are Back

Feel free to experiment. The best part of new wallpapers is: if you don’t like it, just take it down and start again. Whatever might be in your taste, there is something to fit with it. Everything goes, from traditional florals and tropicals to modern geometric and architectural designs. New printing techniques made possible a large variety of finishes, and the availability of new technologies makes it even more exciting. Leather, silk, 3d, you name it, and someone will have it already made. 

Wallpapers are back
credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/studio_zlamal/7073350935/

Bold Patterns and Palettes

Pops of colors add dynamics in contrast with neutrals, offering some edge in interior design and moving the overall palette towards the warmer side. Combinations of different patterns are encouraged by designers, and an eclectic mix of classic stripes can work great with exotic styles. Still, it’s not a good idea to make the whole space look too busy, so go with colors that complement each other. 

Naturals

Sustainability is expected to hit its highest in interior design trends for 2021. Increased awareness of our planet and the expendability of its natural resources is finally supported by the elevated desire to repair, repurpose, and recycle, on a global level. Durable, raw materials and designs take over the scene. Simultaneously, green hues follow with the biophilic trend of wellness, together with real plants and foliage. Bringing the outside in is the new black.

Graphic Patterns

A rise in popularity of ordered, structured design brought interiors embossed in elemental geometric arrangements and monochrome palettes. Considering the challenging times we live in, it’s not surprising at all. Geometry in the interior offers some psychological relief through comfort found in routines and stable, defined patterns.

Wallpapers are back
credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15233317154/

Monochrome Graphics and Patterns

Black and white combinations are an eternal synonym for style, that gets another dimension in monochrome wallpaper solutions. From eclectic to high-tech design, it features pictures that can trick the eye, ranging from endless spirals to “moving” images. These wallpapers can be indicators of your condition. According to some studies, the faster the picture “moves,” the more tired the person is.

Murals and Decals

Murals and scenic wallpapers are a huge trend this year. They present an extraordinary statement for your walls as well as a road to some much-needed escapism. Wall murals have been rising in popularity for some time, as a convenient choice of a statement feature wall for designed homes. Popular categories include forests, world maps, or striking floral arrangements.

Peel and stick materials offer the most effortless way to refresh the room, and a lot of extra flexibility in decorating. It’s broadly used in rental properties as a temporary solution, but also by homeowners who are not ready for a more permanent change.

Chintz

Traditional schemes, in eclectic tones and quirky motifs, are both whimsical and sophisticated. Chintz is probably the closest reminiscent of the old centuries wallpapers. It’s a transitional treasure, as they can look simply amazing when paired with modern furniture and decor pieces. That juxtaposition provides a new sort of dynamics that is edgy, fresh, and interesting at the same time.

Old Glamour

Old Hollywood, art deco, decadence, and romantic vibes of the Golden Era with a modern twist are more desirable than ever. Botanicals, golden-lined geometrics, rich reds, and deep hues offer a dramatic, opulent finish. It bears a sense of careless luxury, quite welcome as a way to shelter from the harsh reality in 2020.

Luxury home builder wallpapers are back
Luxury home builder

Metallics

The original novelty in wallpapers is a metallic effect, an ideal companion of modern minimalist design for a living room or bedroom. It comes in a variety of stylish options, with black or graphite being the most popular. The combination of matte and glossy coatings of the same color is recommendable as a way to add some energy between the walls. Relief metallic wallpapers and rougher textures present a welcome refreshment from a standard flat look.

Waves

Very fashionable wallpaper in 2020 offers an incredible variety of options, from wide stripes with a gradient color transition to calming, zen-style aquarelles. Novelties feature wave patterns with a 3d wavy surface, attractive in appeal, and perfect as a focal point for the interior of the living room or bedroom.

Alternatively, you can go for a middle solution and choose a mix of embossed wallpaper with a wave pattern and a metallic effect. Use it only to finish one of the walls, though; otherwise, the result will be beyond overwhelming and unpleasant to spend a lot of time around.

Wallpapers are back in Various Materials

Paper-backed or solid sheet vinyl is typically a base for patterned wallpaper designed for residential use. It’s resistant to stains and grease and effortless to maintain. Still, it’s good to avoid paper-backed wallpaper as a covering of a wall in a bathroom or any other room that generates a lot of steam. Moisture affects the paper and causes the vinyl to separate, also decreasing the longevity. 

Wallpapers are back
Credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/decorology/3008718272/

Vinyl-coated paper is a wallpaper with a layer of liquid vinyl sprayed on the surface. It provides a good base for printing details and patterns. Also, it is durable and easy to maintain.

Fabric-backed vinyl is considered to be the most durable base for a wallpaper since it’s made of notably dense fabric. It is not very suitable for pattern printing, so you’ll likely find it in different monochrome palettes and specific finishes. This material is heavy and sometimes challenging to install, especially for DIY. On the other hand, it’s a suitable solution for kitchens and bathrooms, as more moisture-resistant than standard paper-backs. 

Digitally printed vinyl is, commonly, custom-designed for printing realistic photo images according to the customer’s choice. It comprises a very thin layer of paper and a paper liner to be placed underneath to keep the placement as smooth as possible. Printed vinyl works excellent as a mural, suitable for any room or area. 

Wallpapers are back
Credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15338122089/

Wallpapers are Back, Period.

All trends in 2020 fluctuate between maximalism in design and warmth in colors. Geometric designs seem to grow bigger, and whimsical vibes follow closely. It’s exciting to wait and see what will come next, as 2021 is promising to be a bold and colorful year, at least in terms of wallpaper design. 

By Aryo Falakrou (My Home Designer)

Why I Like Open Concept Homes

Open floor plans dominate architectural trends in residential construction for a few decades, showing no signs of withdrawal. As a clear concept, it first appeared in the 1950s with the growing trend of contemporary styling. The popularity continued through the 1970s, and by the mid-’90s this type of layout has become a staple of modern design. Homeowners often turn to open concept solutions, mostly due to its sleekness and convenience.

A large portion of the major remodelling projects in older homes feature joining the kitchen, dining, and living room into a form of communal living space. The open concept implies, above all, elimination of all unnecessary walls and barriers in the living area. This kind of construction often relies on heavy-duty beams to carry the load. 

Sunshine coast interior, open concept
Sunshine coast interior

Why Do I Prefer to Design Open Concept Homes? 

The benefits of open floor plans are numerous: the free flow of natural light, the enhanced feeling of spaciousness, openness, and several social and family life advantages. It allows hosts to interact with their guests from the kitchen, or organize cooking parties. Also, parenting becomes more relaxed with the opportunity to do many things at once.

Maple ridge modern architect
Maple ridge modern architect

 Advantages of Open Concept Homes

  • An open floor plan encourages traffic flow. Without walls to hinder movements and doors to open and close, people can move through space more freely.
  • Social interaction and communication significantly improve in the absence of walls. Without barriers, it’s possible to talk and keep contact across the rooms without interruptions.
  • The abundance of light is one of the major benefits of open concept space. Large windows allow for the maximum of natural light to fill the living area. Additionally, the open concept solves the issue of having rooms with windows too small or non-existent.
  • Real estate value can significantly increase. An open floor plan is highly sought after and usually affects your home’s value in the eyes of prospective buyers.
  • The open floor concept simplifies multitasking for families with small kids. Parents can easily supervise children while simultaneously performing their daily activities.
  • The absence of partitions walls allows for more flexibility in setting up a layout. It’s easier to reconfigure furnishings and accessories while utilizing available space in the most efficient way possible.
  • In contrast to closed rooms, the open floor concept is also multifunctional. The area can efficiently serve as a family room, a recreation room, a home office, or an entertainment space. Without major interventions, you can use the place according to your needs of the moment.
  • Large gatherings can be accommodated with no problem. Simply rearranging elements within the open home offers more flexibility than trying to navigate around many static parts of the structure.
Maple ridge modern home
Maple ridge modern home

Psychology of the Open Concept Space

Interior design has a major impact on your emotions and perception. There is a dedicated part of your brain that reacts to the geometry of the space. That is why the best design orchestrates proportion, symmetry, balance, and rhythm to introduce an overall sense of harmony.

Meanwhile, every color, shape, or shade can trigger the subconscious associations. Light, at the same time, has a role of its own. The spaces we live in are an inherent part of people’s mental well-being. It’s the responsibility of the architect to take all factors into consideration and shape solutions that will benefit the user at many, or all, levels.

When it comes to your living space, openness offers wideness. Combined with windows that connect it to the outside world, it gives the feeling of freedom. Humans are not meant to live in boxes, and your living space should not remind you of a dungeon, keeping you closed between narrow walls. In contrast to your bedroom that requires a sense of intimacy and privacy, the living area should be a place to connect and spread your wings.

Some of the key designing factors every architect must consider are ease of movement, sensory stimulation, and social connectedness. Along comes the quality of light and air. The open concept works alongside all those factors to deliver the best package of benefits within designated limits.

luxury house designer
Luxury open space concept

Harmonized Aesthetics

When we design open space, we join the compartments of living room, kitchen, family room, and dining room. At the same time, we explore new, creative ways to separate these compartments. Even the tiniest changes in the decorative motives, panning, light pattern, or floor covering, create an orchestra of beauty. On the contrary, when a designer separates them by walls and hallway, not only does the place look smaller, but it indeed loses a lot of space for the circulation from one room to another. 

Having a clear plan in mind before diving into any design project is always important. However, when you’re working with an open concept space, it becomes the priority. To put a proper focus on the room’s aesthetics, you first need a defined idea of the ways you intend to use the space. Stunning visuals lose their impact if a person inside can’t function due to a bad floor plan or inadequate furniture.

The best way to harmonize is to create distinct groupings by function. When putting an open space together, visual cues separate each dedicated zone without the need for specified barriers. For instance, a kitchen and a dining area often share one common space. In this case, a kitchen island or peninsula acts as a visual dividing line between the two regions.

To create zoning between a dining area and a living room, a divider can be a short set of stairs, different paint colors, different flooring, a laser-cut decorative barrier, or a bookshelf.

Maintaining a steady aesthetic flow throughout an open-concept space is crucial. All principal design features, such as flooring, furnishing style, and lighting, should be consistent. Color palettes should complement one another. Highlights and accents are achieved through deco, layers of texture, and different hues.

Dining room, open concept home
Stairs as a divider

Increased Maneuverability

The open space concept offers more flexibility in use, and also improves productivity. A typical kitchen traffic flow follows the line of acquiring—washing/cutting—cooking food. The efficiency of this process greatly depends on the available space. The size and shape of a traditional working triangle are determined by the sink, fridge, and stove positions. Minimizing the distance between them is easier to achieve in an open concept plan due to its flexibility. 

The open plan also allows more users at the same time, without movement interruption.

That is very convenient for smaller homes, since allowing fewer restrictions for shared activities with high frequency. An open floor concept is a consistently functional space with augmented friends & family factors.

Regardless of age, moving around is more comfortable when your home is not separated by doors and hallways. Since there are no walls between the rooms, the travel distance is shorter between point A to point B in a house. This is especially significant for residents with mobility issues. Using walking assistance or a wheelchair is a lot easier with fewer barriers on the way.

Maple ridge contemporary home, open concept
Plenty of space for traffic flow

Furnishing an Open Concept Space

An open plan’s interior design depends on a space available to work with, the ways to divide and arrange dedicated zones, and the volume of traffic necessary to secure functionality.

One of the common mistakes in laying out an open concept home is not considering traffic flow. Functionally conducive walkways between zones should go hand in hand with furniture layout, supporting instead of compromising each other. 

An open floor plan should not be interrupted by too many visual barriers. Partitioning the area defeats the purpose of having an open-concept. An open shelving unit, for example, can create division while still maintaining a sense of openness, but cluttering it with too much deco will distract the eye’s line of sight.

When the entire room is within sight, it’s easier to spot the subtle inconsistencies that break up the harmony. Tall furniture can visually anchor one area more than the others. Significant differences in flooring or too many strong, contrasting wall colors will ruin the streamline and bring out the vibe of discomfort in place of a balanced, pleasant symmetry. 

modern kitchen designer
Consistency is the key

Fewer walls can also mean less storage space. The utilization of empty wall space can circumvent such an issue. Smart storage and built-in hidden shelves provide plenty of creative opportunities. A kitchen island or bar can also host some hidden storage compartments. Modern design offers visually flawless multifunctional pieces, such as a coffee table that doubles as a storage box or a sofa designed with surrounding exterior shelves.

Finally, seating should always inspire social interaction. A well-designed open space concept will offer some space for a private conversation, with sofas and armchairs arranged to create more intimate contacts.

By Aryo Falakrou (My Home Designer)