For those instances where a widely open floor plan just doesn’t make sense or look well, it’s certainly not a bad idea to incorporate some sort of design elements that will resemble walls for you. Just be sure that they lean more toward Swiss cheese (plenty of visual “holes” and gaps) than toward a thick slice of cheddar. Leaving the top third of the vertical plane empty also helps to maintain a feeling of openness while still defining the smaller spaces.
Without a bunch of interior walls blocking the natural light from the windows, the natural light in an open floor plan’s great room far exceeds that of a closed floor plan. Not only the light, but the views through the windows themselves are increased and enhanced. This permeation of light plays an important role in maintaining a spacious, airy feel, regardless of the actual size of the open floor layout.
An alternative to trying to omit substantial visual barriers is to turn this around and use those barriers to your advantage. For the bed that happens to be part of the open floor plan, for example, a raised headboard provides an immediate sense of privacy…even if that privacy isn’t exactly reality.
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