There’s a transitional movement in home design – broken plan living. This is a combo of open plan layout and creatively designed separate living areas.

The idea is that we can have the best of both worlds – lots of open space as well as elements of privacy, with the freedom to create as much or as little separation as we desire.

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Traditional separate rooms often lacked the light and space of open plan. Broken plan allows for the distinction of spaces, while still encouraging light (and fresh air) into the deeper recesses of the home.

Open plan has the lovely ability to create a sense of connection throughout an entire home as one area flows into the next. Broken plan takes the best of this connectivity, while adding the extra functionality of having zones, nooks, and private spaces that add layers of interest to your home.

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Open plan layouts sometimes look and feel too vast – almost empty. Broken plan breaks this up with variety. By using different texture and finishes to walls, floors, or ceilings, distinctive separate living zones can be created. Steps and changes in floor and/or ceiling height are other broken plan design devices. Creating an identifiable living area can be as simple as stepping a floor level up or down to give a sense of separate rooms or functions.

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It’s important to avoid adding too many fixed walls or doors as this can negate the benefits of open plan – light and ventilation. Partitions, such as breeze blocks, are being used to separate living zones in broken plan design homes. As the name suggests, large open spaces (breeze blocks) are being left in walls to allow light and breezes to pass right through, creating a division between spaces while maintaining a visual connection between the spaces.

Broken plan is less about creating one big space and much more about the clever use of that space.