Open & broken-plan 
living: Meeting the evolving needs of homeowners

Victoria Brocklesby of Origin explores the reasons behind the shift to the appeal of open living plans, and how housebuilders can use internal glazing to achieve ‘broken-plan’ floorplans in new builds.

The global pandemic and the rise of remote working have led to a significant change in homeowners’ priorities when it comes to the layout and functionality of their living spaces. Popularised in the 1970s, open living plans once favoured for their sense of spaciousness and connectivity, are now being re-evaluated. Instead, homeowners are increasingly prioritising broken-plan living areas that offer a balance between privacy and a sense of space. 


Open living plans became popular for their ability to create a sense of spaciousness and connectivity within a home. They offer an open flow between different areas of a property, allowing natural light to permeate throughout the space and facilitate better social interaction. The seamless transition between the kitchen, dining, and living areas can also make entertaining guests
or keeping an eye on children easier. Plus, open layouts provide flexibility, enabling homeowners to adapt the space and the configuration of furniture to their needs. Over time, open living plans established themselves as a major architectural trend, synonymous with modernity and sophistication.


However, the global pandemic and the increased prevalence of remote working have caused a shift in homeowners’ needs and priorities. As families spend more time at home, the demand for privacy, individual space, and the ability to work or study without interruption has become paramount. Homeowners sought a balance between the connectedness fostered by open living plans and the need for dedicated zones for work, relaxation, and leisure activities. Broken-plan living areas emerged as a response to these changing demands, providing a solution that offers improved functionality for a property. 


Broken-plan living is not without its drawbacks. Breaking a living space up can run the risk of creating dark, cramped rooms that lack natural light. Internal glazing offers a solution to this challenge, offering housebuilders the opportunity to create distinct zones for work, relaxation, and entertaining while maximising the natural light that flows throughout the home. 

Internal glazing doors can help strike the perfect balance between connectivity and privacy in broken-plan living areas. Homeowners can enjoy the benefits of open spaces by opening up the doors, while having the option to create separate rooms as needed. Glazed doors can also be specified in various configurations, helping suit the desired level of flexibility and aesthetic of a home. In addition, on top of clear glass, internal glazed doors can be specified with frosted or reeded glass for added privacy, increasing its usage across offices, utility rooms, or bathrooms.


Utilising internal glazing not only serves a functional purpose, but can also act as a key design feature in a home. Opting for customisable doors will allow housebuilders to choose from a wide range of designs, finishes, and colour options to match various interior styles and create a cohesive look throughout the living spaces. The choice of materials, such as sleek aluminium frames, can complement the overall design scheme. 


As housebuilders, it is vital to stay abreast of the evolving preferences and demands of homeowners, especially as the way modern families live and work are changing significantly. The rise of
broken-plan living areas are only set to grow in popularity. 

With careful selection and customisation of internal glazing doors, housebuilders can create functional, aesthetically pleasing living environments that cater to the evolving needs of homeowners without compromising on natural light.

Victoria Brocklesby is COO at Origin