Dividing up a large living space

This is a post I have been wanting to write for ages about how you can divide up one large living space into smaller sections – because that’s what we have! One BIG space for all of our living. Now I am NO interior designer, have no qualifications or real skills in this area – but I am passionate about homes and especially my own. Our old terrace house used to fit into the size of our main living area (well close to it!) so it was a challenge for me to make this one big space work for all members of our family. The room measures about 16 large steps long (remember I am tall) by 7 steps wide. It’s BIG! But there is lots of natural light that streams through the windows (there are 6 of those) as well as two dormer windows up the top as well as 2 large double doors (which make up the formal entrance) although everyone comes in through the side of the house. Here’s a very DODGY drawing I scrawled out for you.

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And here is a quick video tour which I did VERY BADLY this morning for you.  Apologies for the wonky camera angles.

As there are just the kitchen, hallways and bathrooms and bedrooms THIS is the room where it all happens. It’s where we play, it’s where we eat, it’s where we relax, it’s where we stay warm, it’s where we read, listen to music and everything in between. Because of it’s size and the fact that it is actually thinner in the middle of the room (despite me forgetting to show this in the dodgy diagram) we have 3 distinct spaces/zones we created.

1. Kids
2. Eating
3. Grown up living

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1. Kids

This is where we still have a lot of the toys that the girls play with (Harps is still at that age where she likes to be able to SEE you and demand things from you at all times). While I have managed to get in a coffee table and chairs because they don’t need to play on the floor so much anymore, this space is all about the girls. Play kitchen, dolls house, IKEA bookcase filled with books, puzzles, games, baskets of barbies you name it – it’s ALL here. If I’m working at the dining table (where I do ALL my work) I can look to the right and see what’s going on. Or I can sit in that old dodgy couch and see what’s going on. We tend to use this space for when people come over for a coffee and chat – it’s relaxed and easy. I have a rug on the floor (again Ikea)  to ground and define the space. And the chairs close off that section of the room too.

2. Eating

Although my drawing doesn’t show it (see? NO SKILL) this section of the room is a little thinner. We have our table here because it’s quite narrow and long and uses the space well, plus it has a lovely outlook through the front doors to the garden. You can see and feel the fire here when it’s cold and keep an eye on small people if they are playing. The chairs we recently got and I also have a rug at the front door and a dresser behind the table to mark out that section of the room for eating. I use the dresser as a server/place to store wine during a dinner party too.

3. Grown up living

The last section is my favourite – the grown up bit of the room. This is the part where Rob and I get to sit and relax at the end of the day. It’s the place where the kids watch TV sure, but mostly it’s a place to stay warm, get cozy and chill out. There are NO kids things down here (OK a couple – books and a little chair which gets pulled over at the coffee table). It has a large rug and coffee table   as well as my newest chair/bed which the girls do a lot of snuggling in (and funnily enough FRANK too). The black Ikea bookcase we have which faces out against the back of the couch works as a great divider of the space and provides some privacy (and places where to place your drink when you are on the couch).

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Some things you can use to divide up and define different spaces within one big space are: rugs, bookcases used as dividers, chairs or sofa tables, art work. And remember that I think the things that make a room go from a house to a home are: plants or LOTS of greenery, artwork – use the kids stuff too which will cost you nothing – lamps and soft furnishings: cushions, throw rugs etc.

I’m not sure what the next phase of this room will be. As soon as Harper is bigger I am sure we can get rid of the little toys and maybe even take all toys out of this space and into the girls rooms. Will we need to create workspaces for homework/computer time? One thing I know will be that it will change, as we we do, grow up as the kids do, but hopefully always be filled with colour and fun – essentials in my home!

Do you have a big living space?
What are some things do to divide the space into different zones?
Got any tips to share with us all?

Comments

  1. We have a funny shaped but large living space. Couch with rug and TV in one side and then dining table and play area. I’ve been wanting to knock down a wall and put in a new kitchen for ages and I think hubby is finally agreeing. Woot! Then I’ll need to change it all but that’s half the fun!

  2. Great words and pics! We have a big space but it is wierd shaped. Probably a similar size – 17metres long but it goes from 8 metres wide at one end to about 3 at the other end (where the bed rooms are). We have couches, rugs, bookshelves…… always moving things around though!

  3. Debs Sutton says

    Fabulous post Beth and I LOVE the word “thusly” !!!!! xx

  4. Our farm house is very old and currently has boxy rooms rather than a nice open plan living area. However, we are in the process of getting ready for a renovation. We will end up with a beautiful big kitchen, dining, living area. Sooo looking forward to it I’m already talking furniture and rugs to mark different ‘zones’ but CB’s eyes glaze over every time.

  5. Love this Beth! Your house is amazing. And the way you’ve utilised this massive space is genius. Our last house was huge like that but because we were renting I never really did much with the space. It always felt way too open and almost wasted….but knowing that we wouldn’t be there forever, I never bothered buying more furniture. However, we’re currently building and although the house is a fairly standard 4 bedder, we did make some changes to the design so we got rid of a rumpus room – making the outside patio much longer and the inside lounge/living/dining area a shitload bigger. I’m already pinning my little heart out on Pinterest, as I can’t wait ti decorate that baby!
    Your drawings are fab – they’ll go viral on Pinterest 🙂 haaa! Love your work!
    C x

  6. Well I can’t say I have any answers (at all!), but I can say it feels like in living in a very large cupboard at times, what with the amount of ‘stuff’ that winds up in the large multi purpose communal space. I think good storage elsewhere in the house might be part of the solution. Also, a separate entry to keep shoes, bags etc, out of the larger area. I also think another living area is necessary away from the larger area, so when you have guests (with children) the kids can retreat elsewhere and you’re not all competing for sound space, like talking or kids watching a movie.
    Cheers, Liz

    • I agree with you on the entrance. If I was ever building a house I would definitely use that European/English thing of a mud room for all the STUFF.

  7. We have a huuuuuge back room too, though ours incorporates our kitchen as well as our dining and living areas. What’s worked for us is using large pieces of furniture. Our dining table is 3m long and seats 10 people. Our couch is a big charcoal grey modular that would comfortably seat about 7 adults. Each area is distinct but it’s still easy to move around, there’s flow and most importantly it’s comfortable. Although…I still need more photos/prints, more cushions and more decorative items. Doesn’t everyone?!

  8. Oh, so lovely to see you chatting to us Bev. Loved your little movie.

  9. ok i’m moving in – nothing i don’t like !!

  10. Love your work Beth. Could you do a piece on your indoor plants?? I agree that they are great but am such a failure when it comes to keeping them alive & knowing what to grow. I have a theory that those beautiful phalenopsis orchids have an in-built self destruct mechanism so you have to buy new ones all the time, but it could just be that I have a black thumb…

  11. You have a beautiful room with those gorgeous French doors. So bright and lovely! We have rather large space too that includes the kitchen, dining table and living room.

    Our TV stand + coffee table are the same style so it does create a separation already, especially with the large sofa. I’d love to add up some fresh yellow items to it.

    I’d love to have my own house!

  12. Great space, love a good home stickybeak! Especially love the “styling YOUSE” 🙂

  13. Great space Beth and impressive VLog!! Our house was built in 1890s so all living spaces are separate with a small kitchen & servery as I guess that was for the servants and cooks. Now the servery is our playroom and kitchen feeds 5 people daily with me as cook. How times have changed!

  14. Fantastic post. We have a room in our current rental that is kitchen, dining and kids space – bit it’s not huge. I’m not entirely happy with how we have the kids space set up (and I’ll be happier when the landlord agrees we can finally get our pictures on the wall) so your post is really useful. I’m telling myself that the time in this place is a good chance to work out what we want in a house!

  15. Nice home Beth! So much light, its gorgeous.

  16. Love your diagrams! we too have one large living space that we have created zones with using large floor rugs – 1 for the lounge area, 1 for the dining area. the kitchen bench is large and over sees the whole space.

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