Got an Open Plan Apartment? Here’s How to Divide Up Your Space

February 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm Interior Design

By Sydney Maag

In New York City, many of us live in studios, one bedrooms or lofts.  These types of units have a lot of perks, but they also can pose some design challenges.  One particular challenge of studios, one bedrooms and lofts is the open floor plan.  How do you divide space and create privacy when your apartment doesn’t have many walls or doors?  Here are some simple solutions that show you how to easily and affordably divide space with shelving, rugs and lighting options.

Maag Space Dividing Tips

Open floor plan decorating is about creating space within space and creating vignettes in the scheme of it all.  There are so many creative ways to set apart and establish different living areas.  Shelving is always an instant solution to help divide a room into distinct areas such as bedroom on one side and home office on the other.  I like the Parsons Tower from West Elm.  It comes in two finishes, a dark chocolate brown and a white lacquer.  It’s very easy to install yourself and extremely versatile – a classic look at a very affordable price.

Rugs are another way that you can define space.  You can create an instant visual boundary with a strong rug and piece of furniture – the rug will anchor the floor and the furniture will help define the space.  This tactic is equally effective at defining space within in open floor plan dining area as well as in open floor plan living space.  And the great thing about rugs are the choices! I prefer an all natural rug myself such as a jute or seagrass for a base and maybe layer with smaller flat weave to bring in some color and or pattern.  ABC remnants downstairs always has great sales. One Kings Lane is an excellent place to look for rugs because they are always having amazing sales.  Another sure bet is Amazon or Overstock!

Parson Tower from West Elm, $549.00

Parson Tower from West Elm, $549.00

Another great way to define space in the dining room could be with a really spectacular chandelier over the dining table.  This will help to create more of that illusion of a “room” within the context of the open space.  And the resources for chandeliers are endless!  There are myriad lighting stores on the Bowery in New York. Check out Lighting by Gregory.  You can find anything there from super fancy to edgy to clean and contemporary.  Pearl River has some pretty cool and really inexpensive “chandelier” options that are more casual and rustic in feel.  Be sure to keep ceiling height in mind when you’re selecting the size of your chandelier. The Firefly Pendant Lamp from CB2 works nicely in the image below because the space has high ceilings.

Firefly Pendant Lamp from CB2, $199

Firefly Pendant Lamp from CB2, $199

Additionally, if you have an open kitchen and you’d like to create a more distinct cooking area, you can segment the space by hanging pendant lights over a traditional long farm table.  The pairing will create a casual, warm space that simultaneously is solid enough to define the dining space and help kitchen appear a separate entity.  Crate & Barrel does one of my favorite versions of a “farm table” called The Big Sur but they have so many other great versions as well.  Another great place to look is the Chelsea Flea Market on 25th Street on Saturdays and Sundays.

And here are a couple final, quick fixes: should you be lucky enough to have a lot of light, trees are great ways to divide a large open floor plan.  Screens can also be used near entryways creating a more intimate and mysterious vibe before entering into the open space.  And lastly, painting the walls can help to set apart the different areas.

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  1. Frank says:

    I found this great website that has wonderful accessories and furnishings that would compliment any decor. They also have a contest on Pinterest. Check them out! Your home will thank you.

  2. Great ideas.The challenge with open planning is mainly how to ensure some form of privacy as well and you have handled this well.

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