Organising space without walls: part 1

Nobody ‘gets’ home space layout quite like Homestaging Wellington, so we’ve prepared a few trusty tips in our ‘Organizing space without walls’ series over the next few months.

We know open floor (or open plan) living space is the norm now, but do we understand how to properly handle it? Whether you're selling, buying or just looking to spruce things up, it’s  important for home-dwellers to have at least a basic understanding of how best to lay out their open plan living space.

Contemporary homes are ditching the restricted-function of designated rooms in favor of wide open spaces sweeping from the entrance to the edge of the lounge (and sometimes even the deck). The aim of the game is space: you want to eliminate visual obstacles and avoid awkward navigation through the floor plan.

While it’s tempting to go crazy with the couches and other bulky furnishings in these seemingly big spaces you have to work with, your best bet is to KISS (keep it simple, silly) and use your pieces to define a space rather than fill it.

Utilize, don’t maximize.


As with any successful journey, you will need to start with a map. Planning the paths of travel for your living space is easy, you simply need to write up a list of the rooms you’d like to exist within the ‘one big room’, and the directions in which you’d like people to enter, exit and pass through them.

Don’t forget to make a note of the size priority, too. Would you like a smaller kitchen in favour of a spacious dining? Should there be one big lounge or would you like to save a portion for a cozy sitting/reading nook or an exercise machine? Couches and large tables need not dictate your space: you decide what should be where.

The best way to not just organize a space without walls, but also to plan for it is by starting with a list of functional spaces that you will need in the larger, open area. This is not as hard as it sounds–you just need to have clarity about how you will utilize the open floor plan.

The paths of travel should sort themselves out once you have assigned these specific areas. Making active invisible borders is a lot less challenging when you know what rooms you want and where they need to go.

Represent with rugs

This one couldn’t be more simple. Segregate spaces by placing the rug in the desired ‘room’, then surround the rug with a few well-placed furnishings. Want a lounge? Get a big rug and pop a few couches around it. Dining room? Set up a table and chairs upon the appropriately sized rug and there it is.

The design-science behind this set up is the fact that you are creating positive and negative space with the rugs. The space between the rugs is free for everyone to walk through as a walkway (the negative space) but when they walk onto the rugs, they have technically entered a specific room (the positive space).

Be careful when selecting the styles of your chosen rugs. A dark, minimalistic rug might suit your formal dining while a cushiony ‘fluffier’ one would suit your family lounge. You don’t want to mix those two up!

Watch this space over the next few months for more home staging and home styling Wellington tips!

Emma Bell