Open plan areas, a single large space with multiple uses (eg. kitchen, dining and living all in one big room) are almost the norm now in Kiwi homes, especially new builds. Finding the right curtain solution can be a tricky design challenge though. Should they all be the same or can you have different curtains in the same room and still achieve a coordinated look? There’s no perfect answer as it will depend on the layout, your existing furnishings and lifestyle needs. But let’s run through your options and some things to consider.
As always, practicality will have to be a part of the decision so think about the use of the different parts of your open plan room. It could be that a blind is the better option for the kitchen area because of the heat and moisture produced when cooking. Blinds made of hard materials, such as roller blinds, are the perfect example. They are less of a fire hazard and are easier to clean making them perfect for the kitchen and all the smells and grease they might be exposed to.
If the shape of the room is irregular you’re better placed to have different curtains in different areas because the room is already visually broken up. You can still do this if the room is one big square or rectangle but it pays to be quite strict in ensuring the curtains work well with nearby furnishings so you achieve a look of coordinated ‘zones’. You can also hang sheers or a beaded or shell curtain from the ceiling to section off an area but still be able to see it and have it as part of the room.
Make your open plan area feel even more airy and spacious by extending your sightline to the outdoors. Let in heaps of gorgeous natural light by hanging your curtains wide of the windows so when they’re open no glass is obstructed and you can see the entire window frame and landscape view. If the neighbours are a bit close and have a clear view into your home, sheers offer privacy as well as allowing light to stream in.
Think about comfort
Big open floor plans are harder to heat than single rooms so whatever curtains you choose, consider how much work they need to do in terms of insulating the room. If you have a lot of glass, even if it’s double-glazed, you have a large surface area to lose heat through so properly lined floor length or longer curtains are a must. Effective insulation can be achieved through layering and air blocking (eg. a curtain over a roller blind). Good lining also plays a part in summer, helping to stop the rays of the sun from fading your interiors.
If you want your curtains to be the same throughout the whole room, you can, as long as the décor matches throughout also. If the style of furnishings evolves in the different parts of the room then so too can your curtains. What you’ll want to do is make sure they complement each other in one way or another. Here are some suggestions:
- Different shades of the same colour
- Some patterned fabric and some block colour curtains in an accent colour from that pattern
- Two different patterns in identical palettes
- The same pattern in a different but complementary colour
- Two different colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel
Whatever you choose it will also need to complement the existing colour scheme and decorating style of your space.
Make a statement
An open floor plan can be practical for living but visually over or underwhelming. Draw attention to a certain part of the room with a statement curtain, supported by more toned down fabrics for the rest of the windows. Think bright colours, bold patterns or even a dazzling metallic. It’ll help break up the space and help establish visual flow.