Open plan living – its been a buzzword on the home building scene for some time now – but what is it really like to live in an open plan home? And what happens when you need some “me time”? Can you really have peace and quiet when there are no walls to divide the zones? Sure this option gives you a fabulous family entertaining area, but with the combination of noise from the television, cooking sounds from kitchen, on top of kids playing – will it all just become too much? Well the good news is no – with a little planning and smart design you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
1. Plan from the start. When planning the home consider how you will use the space and design the areas accordingly. Look at your family and how it will function over the coming years. Will there be space for lounging, dining, cooking, playing, entertaining, working, and a media space? You can place some separation between areas of noise just by breaking up the most used areas with lesser used one.
2. Keep the space flexible.
By integrating recessed dividers or sliding walls these can act as a cordon and rooms can be separated off for different uses as needed.
3. Divide and conquer.
Use built structures to create zones.This could take the form of a nib wall, fireplace, or large bookcase. This maintains the openness while providing a sound break and can even work to provide a focal point or display area for the room.
4. Look at layout.
Using an L or U shape can cushion some of the vibrations coming from a particularly noisy area, say a kitchen or media space. Also consider wall and ceiling shapes, forms and contours – creating a variety of levels or pockets will act as a barrier to deaden sound.
5. Consider material selection carefully. Use of finishes is a huge consideration. Many homes today use modern elements to get that sought after designer look, such as stone, concrete and metal. This provides its own challenges as they tend to bounce sound around. Mitigate some of the cacophony by integrating diffusing finishes like textured timber feature walls, carpets or large area rugs or you could consider using specially made acoustic paneling.
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