Choosing a Floor for Your Open-Plan Area

Do you have an open-plan home?

If do you, chances are you also know the challenges associated with decorating the space in such a way that creates a unified space while highlighting each individual areas unique functions.

Additionally, the floors needs to match the styles of each area and provide a practical solution for the overall aesthetic of the home.

One of the most common open-plan areas is where a living space has three distinct functions: namely the kitchen, the living room and the dining room. As such, adding the most appropriate floor will determine the usefulness and functionality of the entire space.

In today’s article we review the three major factors to consider along with the type of floors available to you.

Let’s start with the…

Things to consider

There are three main questions you’ll need to consider when choosing the type of floor for an open-plan layout:

1. What is area the being used for?

Recognising how you will be using the space will help you determine the durability of the floors. For example, in kitchen and dining spaces the floor needs to withstand possible food and drink spills (some of which contain oils) and heavy foot traffic (especially if you have a large family or you like to entertain guests). Your dining space may need to withstand scratches from tables and chairs being moved around and people coming and going. Additionally, you’d want your floors to match the rest of your living space aesthetic like the textures and design of the kitchen cabinetry, the material of the dining set and the fabric or leather of the lounge furniture.

2. What kind of family are you?

If you have a small family with just you and your partner (or you and your partner, a pet and/or one child), your flooring needs will look very different to a family that has two or three children and pets. If you do have kids, make sure to choose floors that are exceptionally resilient because children will throw things, pull them across the floor and occasionally spill food and beverages. Ideally, you want to install a floor that will withstand everything that a child will put it through. Additionally, if you have infants who are learning to crawl or walk, your floors need be durable, safe and easy to clean.

3. If you were a potential buyer for your home, would you like the floor?

Choosing the right floor for your open-plan areas isn’t just about aesthetic and design, it’s also about longevity and how well it will stand the test of time. This is why it’s important to choose a floor that goes aesthetically with your home’s decor and is something that will look great in five, ten or twenty years down the track if you choose to move or sell your home.

Knowing your options

Now that you’ve considered all the important questions, the next step is to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each flooring type and which one would best suit your home’s aesthetic and your family’s lifestyle.

So, when it comes to flooring options, you can either choose timber or natural stone floors or tiles and below we review their advantages and disadvantages.

Timber floorboards

One of the advantages of installing timber floorboards – whether they are made from real timber, laminate or timber-looking tiles – is that they offer flexibility in design. This means you can either install them in a traditional horizontal or vertical pattern or you can do something cool and contemporary like install them in a herringbone pattern. Timber floorboards are also versatile: you can stain them in a colour that will match the design of your home. They are also available in varying widths and add warmth to wherever they are installed.

On the other hand, while timber floorboards make the open-plan area inviting, they can become cumbersome to fix if a tear occurs. While you can sand the floorboard (if it’s real timber), it won’t ever be restored to its former glory. Additionally, if you are installing real timber, the material can be quite soft and susceptible to scratches and dents and (if not installed correctly with the right underlay) it can get quite noisy (especially in apartment living).

Tiles and stone

Now, when it comes to tiles, there is a vast variety of them available including – and not limited to – natural stone, travertine, marble and even porcelain. The wonderful attribute of installing tiles in your open-plan space is that you can easily and seamlessly transition the style into any outdoor areas, thus creating an inviting and cohesive flow throughout your home.

The advantages of installing tiles is that they can generally withstand a significantly higher amount of wear and tear and stand the test of time. Additionally, given the manner in which they are laid, you can even install underfloor heating to warm up the area and in summer, you can turn the heating off and the floors will remain cool underfoot.

Natural stone tiles and pavers are also typically cooler than timber floorboards and thus will keep the area cooler on a hot Australian summer day. This is an advantage for those open-plan areas where air-conditioning and fans can really add digits to your summer electricity bill. The flip-side is that in winter, heating the floors can get quite costly. If you don’t want to add heating to the floors, invest in seasonal rugs to keep the space warmer.

While natural stone pavers and tiles have tremendous advantages for open-floor spaces, stones such as travertine can be susceptible to stains because they’re more porous. As such, it’s imperative to seal your tiles and pavers regularly and correctly. Also be mindful that some natural stones are more slippery than others, so make sure to check their slip rating first.

Dressing the rooms

Finally, choosing your floors is not just about the material of the floor itself, but also about how you will furnish your space.

Since most open-plan spaces transition from the kitchen, through to the dining room to arrive in the living room, hard floors are generally a better alternative than carpet. Not only do hard floors give a sense of spaciousness, but they are also much easier to clean and since you’re dealing with food and drinks being consumed in two of the three rooms, this is an important consideration.

Whether you choose to install timber floorboards, porcelain tiles or natural stone pavers, you might want to soften the space with rugs, cushions and throws. Choosing the style, colour and texture of the rugs, cushions and throws, depends on the floor type and colour you install.

Next, the layout of the open-plan area will also impact how you furnish and design the room. For example, in some open-plan spaces, your sofa might not back onto a wall and this is important to consider when purchasing the furniture.

The biggest advantage of having a common floor throughout the open-plan area is that regardless of the different textures, colours and elements of each ‘room’, there is a cohesive theme that runs throughout it.

And there you have it!

The important questions to consider before planning the floors for your open-plan area and how to choose the best material for the floor.

If you need any help finding the right material, feel free to reach out to our team of natural stone experts at Armstone. We would love to guide you to select the best natural stone pavers or tiles, timber or timber-look floorboards or porcelain pavers for your project. We stock the world’s highest quality products to ensure that your dream home space is realised. Contact us online or at 1300 560 560. Alternatively, visit our Sydney showroom in Glebe. We would love to show you everything in person

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