Neale Whitaker on the move away from open plan living

Over the past year, the functionality of the home has shifted, with kitchens becoming home offices, living rooms turning into yoga studios and bathrooms becoming a private retreat away from the stresses of daily life. “One of the most interesting shifts expected to appear in 2021 is a move away from the open-plan living that has dominated interior design for many years, towards rooms that offer privacy and multi-functionality” says Neale Whitaker, interior design expert and Luxaflex Brand Partner.

Neale Whitaker on the move away from open plan living

“On a global level, the pandemic has seen most of us spend more time than ever in our homes and that phenomenon is set to continue. Even with much of Australia getting back to normal, many of us will continue to work from home,” says Neale. “With this in mind, there is an important need for homes to be multi-functional, on one hand providing sanctuary from the outside world and technology and on the other, functioning as a practical living/work space.”

This need to create workable living spaces in the home will also reflect the colours and patterns that are being incorporated in the home. With minimalistic trends dominating the agenda for many years, more people are looking to bold colours and striking patterns to satiate their needs of inspiring environments and variety. “Having spent a lot of 2020 staring at neutral walls, we will begin to see a palette of soft browns and beiges, from sand through to caramel as well as strong patterns,” says Neale.

Related: Decorating with the new beige

To create these multi-functional spaces, rather than a large open plan space, homeowners should think of the power that light and privacy play in their homes. “When it comes to setting up your own home office, ideally, you’ll want to choose a spacious room with plenty of natural light. This is shown to increase concentration, decrease distractions and keep you focused for longer.

However, do consider how you will manage this light,” says Neale. Window coverings are important for not only style purposes, but also in effectively blocking glare on computer screens, managing temperatures and keeping you comfortable. “Luxaflex® Pirouette® Shadings are the perfect choice, seamlessly blending sheers with blinds to create a soft light that allows for privacy without compromising on the warmth of the natural outdoor light,” adds Neale.

Neale Whitaker on the move away from open plan living

Related: My guide to the perfect home office

With the home now a hub of multi-functionality, it’s important there are areas in which people can go to relax. This is the crux of the debate between open plan living or individual rooms.  “There is an overwhelming trend towards sanctuary, homes that offer respite from the world so it’s important to designate areas where you can go and rest and enjoy time with your family and friends,” says Neale.

Indoor/outdoor flow will remain important as more of us opt to holiday and socialise at home. “In many instances, window dressings for living rooms need to be versatile and allow for indoor-outdoor living. Perfect for large windows and sliding doors, Luxaflex® Luminette® Privacy Sheers will create a statement across vast openings with their elegant vertical design and can be completely drawn to one side to provide a smooth flow to the outside,” adds Neale.

Neale Whitaker on the move away from open plan living

Related: How to complete a room with elegant sheers

Another room that should always champion relaxation and recuperation is the bedroom. “Being able to switch off at the end of the day is incredibly important so it’s helpful if there are tools that can create a relaxing environment,” says Neale. Pairing Luxaflex® Sheer wave curtains with Duette® Shades results in a cohesive and functional combination which hosts a balance of light control, privacy, overall room ambience and energy efficiency.

Neale Whitaker on the move away from open plan living

Related: 5 tips to create a calm bedroom environment

“Homeowners can upgrade their home experience by incorporating innovative wireless technology such as PowerView® Motorisation, to control their shades on command,” Neale adds. Allowing for complete control and for the creation and scheduling of customised room ‘Scenes’, homeowners can pre-programme blinds and pair with additional smart technology to reflect different activities.  Using voice technology to implement such scenes as “night time” or “wake up” with your blinds rising to greet the dawn, readjusting to deflect the hot afternoon sun, or closing at night, creating the perfect bedtime mood.

Neale Whitaker on the move away from open plan living

“When designing your home or if you’re just looking to revamp a few areas, it’s important to remember your priorities,” says Neale. “Each room should have a justified existence and when considering design elements, homeowners should think about what they love and what they enjoy, and most importantly how they want to live in their home – design it for your needs,” concludes Neale.  More information can be found at Luxaflex.

Neale Whitaker on the move away from open plan living

At the height of the pandemic I wrote a post about the pros and cons of open plan living.  Which do you prefer?  You can read more in the link below.

Related: Open Plan vs Individual rooms

I have a Free Resource Library with comprehensive checklists and e-books for you to download.  So if you are building your new dream home, renovating an existing one or simply giving a room a quick makeover, there is lots of free advice in the library.  You can download it all for free here.



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