The home-is-life era: how to find privacy in an open-plan home

These past 12 months have truly been our biggest challenge yet. It has been a long and undeserved taste of a very unfamiliar lifestyle. If somebody told us all a few years ago we’d be spending this long hiding away from each other indoors from a year-long global pandemic, we’d have breathalysed them!

We at Swan still can’t believe we’ve just touched down on February 2021. I mean, apart from January, how fast has this past year gone. Especially considering we’ve been restricted to walks takeaways and home refurbs. Some of us haven’t seen family members or friends since before last April! But we haven’t just managed it, we’ve absolutely smashed it.

We’ve simply held it together, and made things work. Good on us.

Meme of a baby panda raising its paw in the air

One of the hardest parts we’ve experienced has been the ‘working from home’ concept, before even mentioning parents and grandparents now having to home school. Working from home has been an eye-opener for those of us who spend so much time out of the house usually. We’ve never spent so much time with the people we live with, the house has never been so messy, so quickly and we’ve all grown bored of every room in the house (hence the refurbs).

Mother standing in open-plan house

Open-plan layouts affect privacy

Once upon a time (not so long ago actually), we were all in favour of open-plan layouts in our homes. This used to be a great renovation tactic to maximise the room space where you once would have had two smaller potentially boxy rooms instead. The open-plan designs helped us share daylight and colour palettes from room to room, perfect for entertaining large groups. Well, look at us now. Finding privacy in our once desired open-plan layouts has never been so sought after. What we would do now for those two small boxy rooms with locking doors.

We’re all experiencing this lack of privacy while we’re working, studying or even teaching from home. I’ve witnessed several zoom meetings where young children have sprinted towards the camera bold as brass after school trying to get the attention of mummy or daddy. They’ve no idea that there are five or so colleagues on the receiving end of the call, retrospectively glad they stuck with their small tucked away boxy rooms. Nailed it.

How to separate open-plan layouts for added privacy when working from home:

We thought there’s no better way to help those in need of privacy than to put together a few quirky ways of separating those open plan arrangements. So, we’ve had a browse for you and picked out our absolute favourites that some of us here at Swan will be trying out in our homes too.

Minimalist open plan house

1. The minimalist approach

First off, we’ve started with a fresh white minimalist take on separating that big space into two. Ikea, notorious for its quirky designs, unpronounceable names for things and oh so dreamy lifestyle imagery. Have a look at this bad-boy Kallax Shelving Unit for storage, organisation points and clear mind design. It’s not too tall for those of you in cottage or farmhouse-like homes, and the colour white helps to make spaces appear bigger.

Room divider

2. Easily adjustable room dividers

For this next idea, we’ve gone for sensible and conveniently adjustable to move around when you feel like it. What better way to quickly privatise a section of a large space than with a fresh room separating apparatus? On the left, we have the Maddison 3 Panel Room Divider and on the right, we have the Alina 3 Panel Room Divider from Wayfair.

This is perfect for if you’re working from home in the week, and want to enjoy that big open-plan space again on the weekends. There are also plenty more styles just like this to choose from and to make the world of difference to your home-is-work journey. They also make for a nice backdrop for when you’re on those zoom all-dayers, and you don’t have the time to tidy! We’ve got you.

Child play tent

3. Keep the kids occupied

Now here’s an idea for the kids to keep occupied in one place while you need to get on with that never-ending to-do list. This is the ‘best mum/dad ever!’ Makena Pop-Up Play Tent from Wayfair. It’s not only pop-up which saves the initial faff of putting this kind of stuff together, but it’s also usable indoor and outdoor. Brilliant for keeping your little ones busy where you can see them inside or in the garden in the summer when the time arrives!

And last, but not least. (Actually, my favourite idea for a little escape den).

A bed sheet fort, of course. Hideaway in a little sanctuary just for you, for the kids or for any of you with child-like partners. The smell of fresh bedsheets, ideally a set up next to some daylight and some calming zen-esque music to complete the change of scenery. Grab your laptop and lose yourself in a comfort zone with your name on it. This is certainly the cheapest and cosiest option, and it’s not like we don’t have the time to at least experiment with the idea.

We really hope this has triggered some inventive ways to help make your home workspace just yours. Keep on enjoying your lockdown home renovation fun!

Take care and thank you for reading.

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