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  • Tom Jarman

Open Plan vs. Broken Plan: Which suits your home?

In today's dynamic design landscape, the concepts of open plan and broken plan layouts have emerged as popular choices for people looking to modernise their homes. Each has its unique characteristics and can be suited to different lifestyles and preferences.

Here's a quick comparison to help you decide which might work best for your space.

Open Plan Layouts

Key Features:

  • Open plan designs emphasize large, uninterrupted spaces where living, dining, and kitchen areas seamlessly merge.

  • They are marked by the absence of walls between common areas, promoting a communal living experience. Very popular for hosting guests, parties etc.

  • This layout enhances natural light and ventilation, making spaces appear larger and more welcoming.

Ideal Rooms:

  • Best for the main living areas of the home, where people tend to interact, gravitate towards and where communal activities are prioritized, such as the kitchen, dining, and living rooms.

  • Highly effective in smaller homes where maximizing space is crucial.


  • Open plan can reduce construction costs by minimizing the need for interior walls, doors, and additional architectural elements.

  • Heating and cooling expenses can be lower due to the unified space, although this can vary based on the size and layout.

Broken Plan Layouts

Key Features:

  • Broken plan takes the open plan concept further by incorporating subtle dividers such as shelving units, half-walls, or changes in floor elevation.

  • It provides a balance between the spacious feel of an open layout and the privacy of closed rooms.

  • This style allows for designated areas for specific activities, helping to manage noise and activity flow without completely closing off spaces.

Ideal Rooms:

  • Perfect for homes that require versatile areas that cater to both privacy and social interaction. For example, separate zones for reading or working within a larger living room.

  • Works well in family homes where different members may have different needs at the same time.


  • Although broken plan may involve more design elements than open plan, it can be cost-effective by utilizing furniture and fixtures as dividers instead of constructing full walls.

  • Offers the flexibility to adapt spaces for multiple uses without extensive demolition and remodelling. For example, if you're having a rear extension, you may plan to keep parts of the existing facade wall or create large openings. Rather than completely removing it.

Choosing the Right Layout

When deciding between open and broken plan, consider the nature of the activities you envision in your space. For those who entertain and have guests over often or have a more socially active household, open plan designs might be preferable. Conversely, if you seek a blend of interaction and secluded spaces, perhaps for a home office or study area within a living area, a broken plan could be the ideal solution.

Ultimately, both design concepts offer innovative ways to tailor your home to your lifestyle, blending functionality with aesthetic appeal to create inviting and personalized environments. Whether you opt for the boundless feel of open plan or the structured flexibility of broken plan, both styles highlight the evolution of home living to accommodate contemporary needs.

By understanding the key differences and advantages of each layout, you can better decide which aligns with your vision for your home, ensuring both practicality and comfort.

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