The experience of the average family in confinement may have increased the importance of separate spaces, but the open plan family room is still a key part of our current way of life. Architect Karen Stonely ( believes her popularity reflects a gradual shift in household habits that is here to stay: “In an age of blurring the lines between relaxation, work and socializing, we let’s prepare food, pay bills, throw parties, watch the news and all naturally work in the same space. Covid accentuated this trend, but it was in the works years before.

Architect Steve Clinch ( recommends that you have a separate, comfortable living room or office where you can retreat before knocking down all the walls on the ground floor. Another option is to go for a ‘broken plan’, with interior folding or sliding doors that can be used to separate rooms if necessary, providing additional flexibility.

The layout options for a family room will depend on the style and proportions of the property; here are four examples, of different shapes and sizes.

The family lair 24/7

Rosie and Dave Turcan created this L-shaped space for themselves and their three sons, Milo, 12, Charlie, nine, and Oscar, six, when they renovated their Edwardian home in southwest London l ‘last year. The layout previously included a small dark kitchen and a separate dining room, which they combined by piercing the walls and extended to the dining room side by about 1.5 meters.

The wide sliding doors allow an easy flow to the garden from the dining room and the living area. “We didn’t go for folding doors because we wanted a maximum of glass and a minimum of frame, to let in as much light as possible, because it is a room facing northeast,” explains Rosie.

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