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  • Writer's pictureGWA

Open Spaces: creating a floor plan that flows from the inside out

Open plan living is a consistent theme in modern interiors, and the seamless flow can extend to your outside space too. We’ve listed our key considerations for creating a sense of harmony and practical design between your indoor and outdoor spaces.

It makes sense to locate the bulkier, utility spaces away from the areas that have direct access to the outside. For example, you could locate your living and dining areas in the best spots in the house where there is plenty of natural light and access to the outside and locate your kitchen further back, towards the centre of the plan. That way, your kitchen can still benefit from a lovely outlook (across the living areas, towards the outside) but the kitchen cupboards and storage don’t block access to outside.

It might sound obvious, but it is important to leave space for movement through the doors to the outside. Think about where you would be most likely to walk through from the outside to the inside and don’t put furniture in the way. Avoid dramatic level changes at the threshold of inside and out and don’t place a dining setting immediately outside your lovely big glass doors. Try to find a spot for your external dining area that is off to the side, or on the opposite end of your courtyard or garden.

The GWA team recommend glass doors (either timber framed or metal framed) over bifold or concertina. Sliding glass doors are a lot more robust, and give greater flexibility in terms of use. It is rarely the case that you will want your doors fully open – and this is the only real advantage of bifold doors. It’s also useful to have a smaller window to the side of the main openings so you can have that open most of the time (for air flow) without having the main door set open all the time. And sheer curtains are a must – vast glass doors look black at night so it’s lovely to soften this with a sheer curtain that can be pulled across in the evening.

If you have the space, create a shaded outdoor area. Whether you prefer to create a dining zone, or a lounging zone, with the harsh Australian sunlight it’s always good to have some shade. There are excellent automated screens and shade systems available to provide flexible shade zones without creating heavy structures. Think of it as creating an extra room for your home.

Remember that the outdoor space is your main ‘view’ or outlook from your inside space - make it a delightful view! This can often be achieved with some imaginative plant choices, even in very small spaces. Carefully consider the lighting to your outdoor space too; effective lighting will ensure your outdoor room can work hard at all hours.


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