Open Plan living design

Ways to make your house more open planned

While many of us dream of having an expansive, LA-style open planned home, very few of us have the budget for one. Sometimes our nine-to-fives don’t cover quite enough of the mortgage for a home that sprawls across multiple acres.

Instead, there are a few tricks we can deploy to make our homes feel much bigger and much more capable of resembling the party pad of our dreams.

These techniques involve the clever use of double glazed doors to create an illusion that will open out the back of your home into the great outdoors.

Bi-fold doors

At the moment, these are the absolute royalty of patio doors. The reason for this is they act as a glass wall that sits between your home and the outside world. The door opens out using a concertina effect, which removes the need for endless panelling and door handles.

Open Plan style Bi-Fold Doors

You may have even seen these on popular design programmes. They are used to blur the distinction between outdoors and indoors in the warmer months as they can be easily unlocked and pushed to the side.

This is ideal if you are aiming to create more social, open planned living space in your home. In the warmer months, you can virtually extend your property by seamlessly opening out onto the patio. 

Patio doors

One of the best ways to add space to your home is to create a gateway to the outdoors. This can be done by the simple addition of traditional patio doors. The first style that often comes to mind for many is French patio doors.

These have two panels that open out by simultaneously pulling the two handles. Even adding these to a dining room or kitchen will have a more dramatic effect than just a single opening door.

Choosing French doors with glass panels will instantly flood in extra light and provide you with an amazing view of the outside. They are also said to be a great match for older, period homes.

If bi-fold doors are a little out of your budget, but you still want the effect of large panes of glass opening out into the garden, then sliding doors could be a much more cost-effective, but equally clever design feature.

You can leave sliding doors slightly ajar if you want more fresh air circulating in your house, or you can slide them completely open to give a clear walkway from your home onto your patio area outside. 

A cost-effective solution that provides many benefits 

Choosing a uPVC version of either French or sliding doors is a very cost-effective way of making your home more open plan. It’s worth noting too, that if you want particularly big panes of glass, you will want to opt for an aluminium frame.

Patio doors are one of the easiest ways to add space and light to your property without having to shell out for an extension. If you feel one or more of your rooms at the back of your house are feeling a little bit claustrophobic, then patio doors will add an instant dimension of openness that won’t require your home to be a complete building site. 

DIY Project

Pro DIY ideas for your home

DIY Project

A bit like painting or learning to play a musical instrument, many people feel as if ‘do it yourself’ is a category that some people are simply born at being good or not good at. However, this is not always the case. By starting with small and simple projects, you can help to grow your confidence and move onto much more complex, demanding tasks. Here are a few DIY projects to try out, with varying levels of difficulty.

Reclaimed wood caddies

If you are eco-minded, then reclaimed wood could be a great resource for you. You can find it at scrap and lumber yards, or alternatively, you could even put something you already have to use. If you did woodwork at school, this will bring back memories, as this will require you to draw out shapes, saw out those pieces and bond them together either using wood glue or if you’re feeling confident, nails. Once you’ve done this once, you’ll find it easier to repeat time and time again.

Reupholster an old chair

This DIY trick is surprisingly easy; just have some self-belief! All this project entails is detaching the seat padding, removing staples and replacing both the fabric and padding. This may require you to buy new padding, new fabric, and a staple gun. Once you’ve purchased all of these components, it’s just a process of assembly – measuring out fabric and staple-gunning it really doesn’t require a tailor’s knowledge. Just be extremely careful when handling the staple gun – take your time.

A custom headboard

Custom bedroom headboard

Once you’ve got confident cutting out wood and bonding it, you may wish to move on to a more advanced project. A custom bed headboard is a great way to put your new skills to the test. This project will require you to cut out a piece of plywood to the right size and shape of your bed, and so you will need space to saw through the wood safely. A nifty little way to decorate your headboard is to use rubber foot mats to create a custom relief shape: paint them and nail them to the plywood and no one will ever know they were sold separately.

Cover an old frame with fabric

If you have a large, feature mirror hanging in one of your rooms, and feel as if the wood has seen better years, you actually have a few options to play with (and the same goes for artwork frames). You can sand and re-paint the wood, re-varnish it, or even upholster it with fabric. This will require you to carefully measure and glue the fabric onto the wood (doing this hastily will result in creases and air-bubbles) but otherwise, the skill need to do this is incredibly low.

If you’re planning on trying your hand at some DIY this year then don’t be intimidated. By starting on small-scale projects, you can build up your ability. For example, cutting out wood for a small accessory could give you the skills to build a bed frame or even pieces of furniture.