Open to alternatives to open-plan living


Ben Brocklesby of Origin offers his advice to self-builders looking to create more functional floor plans, which move away from open-plan to ‘broken-plan’ 

The way we use our homes has changed significantly in the past three years. The pandemic made home and work life collide with each other in new ways, and the need for separate work and entertaining spaces remains even now the pandemic is behind us. This means that the open-plan layout that was coveted for decades is falling out of favour. 

In fact, nearly a quarter of homeowners in the UK say they’d like to reconfigure their home to better suit their needs. So, you’re not alone if you’ve fallen out of love with open-plan living.

Instead, families increasingly need separate zones that can perform different functions to suit their lifestyles. This might include an entertaining space, a home office, or even a gym. As a result, we are seeing the rise of ‘broken plan living’ – flexible layouts which are divided into separate, private spaces but which can be opened easily to create extra space. 

However, this mustn’t come at the expense of natural light, which we know is essential for our mental and physical wellbeing. 

Glass doors or partitions are a great solution, offering privacy and soundproofing without blocking natural light like solid walls, and are growing in popularity due to their style and flexibility. There are internal doors on the market for example that are bespoke and offer several configuration options to help families divide rooms, or even create a whole new room. Plus, you have the option to either make them with vertical or horizontal bars which can create the classic Georgian-style look that never goes out of style. 

Bespoke internal glazed doors can also accommodate frosted or ‘reeded’ glass for added privacy, or to disguise clutter, which is ideal for use in bathrooms or utility rooms. For high-traffic areas, consider adding kickplates to minimise scratches when opening and closing the doors when hands are full.

The cost of an internal glazed wall or door depends on the quality of the product and the material it’s made from. The ultra-traditional steel options look fantastic, but often come with a high price-point. A more affordable option is products made from aluminium; these still offer a sleek aesthetic and the robustness to handle everyday life, but are at a more affordable price. Plus, aluminium is inherently lightweight, making the doors easier to operate.

Ben Brocklesby is the director of Origin