The Magic of Three for Open Plan Living

First published with Home Ideas

The joy of open plan living is that it gives you the ability to define your life with style and simplicity.

We all love a little light and space in our lives and Open Plan living can deliver just that. The down side is that you can be left with wide, impersonal areas that for all that space, feel cluttered and untidy.

Follow our 'Magic of Three in Open Plan Living' to keep your space clear and uncluttered, while at the same time reflecting your personality and the way you want to live.

Magic of Three


Choose 3 materials that inspire you. For, wood, and velvet. Use subtle hints of each of these in your designated spaces to add depth and luxury to the area, while giving the overall area a sense of unity. Remember to work with materials from an area that may be permanent, or expensive - like the kitchen, as your guide as these are unlikely to change regularly.


An interesting room has shadows and angles and to help create these, your room should have a combination of 3 lighting solutions. The pendant. The table lamp. The down light. These will help you designate spaces, while at the same time being functional and beautiful. Choose like-minded light fixtures that mirror a material, a colour or a finish that has been used elsewhere in the room. And remember they are like the bridesmaid to the main attraction. Important but not competition.


Choose three exceptional pieces that define your style and use them to define your spaces. Such as a beautiful placed console, armchair or dining table to make a space functional, elegant and uniquely you. This OOD is all about quality, so take the time to source the piece you want, save and be prepared to wait if it is not in the budget.


The modern life is filled with so many daily items, so before you start designing, make a list of the things that are most important to you and your family. Include all the items that you need for your space to be liveable. What do you, your family and even your dog need to be comfortable?

Once you know exactly what you need to include, finding solutions that are beautiful and functional will be the priority for your project. These can be beautifully visual like built in shelves that help you move seamlessly from work spaces (kitchen) to relax spaces (lounge), consoles that are functional for storage and display but also hide the tail end of sofas, or integrated moveable wall panels that keep the dreaded visual clutter at bay.


We all have a colour that calms, inspires and rejuvenates us and we like to think of it as a personal 'Pop' colour. If you take the time to find that colour, every time you walk into the room you will be rewarded. Like most people, you will have many colours you love but fear not as you will be able to express those in other rooms around the house.

For successful open plan living, you must focus on The One to be celebrated in this room. Sometimes you know the colour immediately, at other times you will be inspired by a piece of fabric, wallpaper or favourite artwork or family heirloom you know is to be displayed. It is part of design gospel that using white on walls and ceilings will make the space feel open and cohesive so finding your pop colour is a perfect way to individualise your room without forfeiting the advantages given by Magnificent White.

Remember to take note of what is going on outside the room. If your neighbour has a bright red feature wall gleaming down on you, this could impact your choice until the hedge grows. Don't be scared of it, but definitely consider what it means to the success of the colour you are considering.

The beauty of the pop colour is that it can change with your moods. Once you have committed to a colour, plan to use it with three different accessories, for example, cushions, light shade and vase across your designated areas.  The pop colour, materials, lighting, objects of desire and clever storage solutions will draw the eye and give an impression of order, calm and continuity.

Something all open plan living should strive for and that The Magic of Three will help to deliver.