For the first time, kitchens were connected to living and dining areas. This was helped by new technology for venting, making it possible to remove offensive cooking odors. A new problem was quickly identified – how to differentiate one area from another?
Wright solved it by using architectural elements to separate the areas. He also varied ceiling heights and flooring patterns. Without this variation, a great room design can be pretty uninteresting. But varying the ceiling heights makes a world of difference, without requiring any structural changes.
When starting to formulate your great room design, ask yourself these questions:
What will the room be used for?
What shape does the room have?
Is there a natural focal point that would be best enhanced or subdued?
Will the layout of furniture work well with the traffic flow, or is it intended to segment traffic and create coziness?
Repeating patterns can make a room look smaller, while sparse use of texture can open up a space and create visual rhythm. Texture in carpet, wall paper, paint and furniture can give the room more depth. Too much texture can overwhelm the viewer and detract from the interesting items, like artwork, that you want people to notice.
Once you start implementing your great room design, minimize accessories on tables. Utilize shelving units or consider a curio cabinet to display collectibles and personal items.
This keeps cocktail and end tables free for simple arrangements of candles and flowers. A small magazine rack next to an oversized reading chair will work well.
And don’t forget the windows. The trendiest curtains feature straight, clean lines. Hardware is simple and strong, often utilizing black iron or pewter. Plantation shutters also are in vogue, providing full light during the day, and privacy at night.
Acoustics is something you have to incorporate into your great room design. Large rooms with high ceilings are acoustical nightmares. Imagine the TV is on, someone’s listening to a stereo on the balcony overlooking the great room, and someone else is making dinner. All these sounds are magnified by the tall, hard-surfaced ceilings.