Large multifunctional space is a prominent feature of any modern structure, be it built for domestic purposes or commercial uses. While residential houses make use of such multifunctional spaces to build borderless living room, dining space and kitchen, office premises use the same philosophy to create an open plan workspace for operations and business.
Though open plan was unheard of, domestic houses in medieval Europe used one big room to entertain guests, cook its food, gather around the fire for intimate discussions and enjoy a hearty meal. Then compartmentalised houses started to become somewhat of a norm in the Tudor houses. In 20th century, Frank Llyod Wright started vouching for multifunctional spaces. Le Corbusier started getting rid of the interior walls in the buildings planned by him.
Parts of China, South Korea and Japan follow open plan for the interior of their houses for centuries. India and derivative architectural forms of South East Asia traditionally favour building individual rooms as opposed to one big multifunctional space. Needless to say, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Advent of studio apartments made open plans even more relevant for us today. So here are a few suggestions for you to build a smart multifunctional space with large windows in your home.
If you are wondering at the efficacy of this suggestion let me clarify this point first. Unless you choose a plot to build a house that can afford large windows and larger multifunctional spaces, your intentions of having such features will come to a nought. Only buildings such as these can ensure necessary privacy that such features will require.
Besides, it would be difficult to incorporate elements like these into an urban apartment or a house already suffering from space crunch. A garden will ensure excellent views and sufficient flow of light whenever you decide to draw the curtains of your large windows. You can see our suggestions of choosing that perfect house for yourself here.
Plan a living area that has very minimal use of internal walls. This double height living room designed by Specht Architect is one such fantastic space that you can use to draw inspirations from. The large glass windows provide excellent views of the river flowing by and its surrounding landscape. This entire space does not have even a hint of internal walls.
Depending on the design of your house, you may need to have pillars to provide support to the entire structure. Make them almost invisible so that they do not intrude upon the space. Covering them with neutral colours, as the same colour as the rest of the room or mirrored surfaces may solve this issue.
You may alternatively call it a formal lounge. One benefit of having an open floor plan is you can attend to your guests even while busy cooking up a tasty dish in the kitchen. Decorate this area with stylish furniture, fashionable tables, cosy area rug, cushions, graceful decorative items, flowers and plants. You will have to be very watchful about the organisation of this space as any clutter here would instantly raise questions about your housekeeping practices.
Planning for a kitchen requires considerable brainstorming anyway. Doing so in multifunctional spaces involves even more meticulous planning. Take time out to ponder on the following factors:
- Proximity to the windows for natural light.
- Proper ventilation and elimination of smoke and dust. Smoke should not cover your dining parlour or travel to other parts of the building.
- Easy access to the dining area.
- Safety if children and pets are around.
- Check for the possibilities of having a door towards the garden.
Use such colour scheme and décor that effortlessly merge with the other elements of the room.
Multipurpose dining room is another one of the new ideas rooted in tradition. Not so long ago kitchens used to accommodate one smaller breakfast parlour on top of a formal dining room built separately. This is before smaller spaces in our houses made such luxuries out of our reaches. Current open plan architecture merges living room, dining area and kitchen into one big hall.
You can integrate such multipurpose dining space in the planning for your house. It would be ultra important to be vigilant about hygiene, more so, because with the presence of the living room in the same area you will experience more footfall here. Keeping it free from dust and grime of the exterior will be necessary.
Allow nature to step inside the four walls of your home, literally. This is one of the main reasons that inspired you to install large glass paned windows. So now you can take full advantage of it. For people living in the warmer areas, harsh sunlight may seem to be bothersome. Use curtains or blinds to block off the light at the middle of the day.
As the sun sets in throw open the large windows to let fresh air in with gusto. Invest in interior landscaping and vertical gardens. Have potted plants. Tillandsia, peace lily, reed palm etc have exceptional moisture absorbing capabilities that would help to keep the home interior temperature down organically. Enjoy the rare luxury of being at home with nature day after day.