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A modern open-plan kitchen and living area with timber floors and pale coloured furnishings

Overview

An open plan living room is a multi-functional space that connects the whole house. We'll show you how to use clever design to transform an outdated living room into a bright, open, contemporary space to relax and entertain.

Steps

1Why create an open plan living room?

The key to a modern lifestyle is open plan living. The best way to achieve this is for your living room to connect all areas of the home. An open plan extends the lounge and entertaining zones and can bring the outside in and vice versa. Think about how you want the room to function and whether you want to take on a complete remodel or just update what's already there. This'll help you establish a budget.

An open plan living room with television, lounge and coffee table

2Connecting the home

We've given our space an open feel through the creative use of timber in the floating shelves and bespoke wrap around storage unit, which combine to tell a story through the home. Adding bi-fold doors helps connect inside to outside and extends the entertaining area, making the space feel bigger.

An open plan living room with television, lounge and coffee table

3Create open plan zones for versatility

Originally one big, long plain wall, this living room is now zoned to offer the flexibility of one large zone or two. We've designed one side with clever feature insets to create space for a floating bookshelf and eye-catching gallery wall. On the other side, a bulkhead connects the zones and conceals both the blinds and the ambient strip lighting.

Lounge room with two lounges facing each other and a slat coffee table

4Freshen up your colour pallet for modern living

A neutral colour pallet allows the natural timbers to become the highlight of the space. We've painted the walls, the ceiling and the trim in various strengths of the same colour, and we used flush mount downlights to keep the room feeling large. Floor lamps add style and complement the overall design. Retaining the original hardwood timber floors was a must here. We've added an oversized textural floor rug, warming the space and adding interest.

Hexagonal timber floating shelves on a blue wall

5Clever open plan living designs

The key to a successful living room transformation is in planning and clever design. Firstly, your layout should consider how you intend to use the room. Factor in the size and placement of your existing furniture and if you'll be adding new pieces. Take your inspiration from wherever you can and then add a touch of your own personality. Structurally, think about whether walls need removing to let in light and consult with professionals about the best way to do this.

Chair and floating shelves by a door

6Wall colours for your open plan living room

When choosing your colour scheme, think about the shape and layout of the room. Feature colours can help to define zones, so don't be afraid to go bold with colours. Our paint department has colour swatches and sample boards to help you pull your look together. You can also test out a colour scheme before you commit by grabbing some sample pots. another great way to create a feature and individualise a room is with wallpaper. 

Paint aisle in a Bunnings store

7Lighting can set the mood

The right lighting can make all the difference. If your space permits, pendants are a good option for design and ambience. Floor and table lamps are a cost-effective way to update the look of your lounge space quite quickly and add some design flair. It's always good idea to look for styles that complement your furniture choices.

Pendant light in a lounge room

8Dress your windows

Maximise the lighting in your open plan space by dressing your windows cleverly. You can complete the overall colour palette, and help regulate the temperature, by dressing the windows with curtains or blinds. We've used concealed roller blinds in both block-out and translucent finishes. For a softer finish, you can use sheers. Solid curtains give a heavier, more formal look. 

Light-filled hallway with timber floorboards and a pot plant

9Keep your living room warm

Open plan lounge spaces can be cooler than closed ones. Get around this by adding rugs which can add warmth, comfort and help with acoustics to boot. Make sure you get the proportions right when choosing your design. An oversized rug can sit under the edges of your furniture pieces and really unite the space. Keep the colours and textures of the room in mind when you make the choice. The secondary colour in the rug should match the main colour in your room. 

Whilst we chose to preserve the original timber floor boards and dress up with a rug, there are many laminate and timber-look options that can go over your tired old floors for an instant lift. 

 

 

Lounge room with two lounges facing each other and a slat coffee table

10Add a personal touch to your open plan living room

Give the living room a personal touch with some projects of your own. We made these beautiful floating shelves, and we've followed the theme with our furniture. You can find out how to make them in our D.I.Y. Advice section.

Lounge room with white lounge and table

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.