Interior Design

Joanna Gaines reveals her secret to zoning an open-plan space

The designer has the key to creating defined areas with furniture – this is what you need to know

Joanna Gaines headshot
(Image credit: Courtesy of Magnolia)

Turning an open-plan into broken-plan doesn't need to be hard, especially when armed with Joanna Gaines' zoning tip. 

The renowned designer and Fixer Upper star has shared her broken plan living room ideas to create distinct areas in open-plan living rooms – and the key involves rearranging furniture you may already own.

Whether you are looking for experimental ways to make your living room look bigger or you want to enjoy the feeling of a new room in an old space – Joanna's secret will transform your room entirely. 

Here, she shares her interior design tip – so you can flirt with a broken trend – without permanently interrupting your open-plan living space. 

Joanna Gaines' zoning tip

Parisian living room

(Image credit: Designed by Le Berre Vevaud in Neuilly Saint James, photo by Didier Delmas)

According to Joanna Gaines, you can create separate areas with statement design elements. 'The easiest way to do that is with light fixtures and area rugs,' she says. Therefore, 'when you walk into [a] space, you have two defined areas.'

Other renowned designers also share the HGTV star's secret, as Martin Waller, the founder of Andrew Martin, explains:

'Hang pendant lighting over dining areas and use task lamps in corners of the room to create cozy areas for reading,' he says. The designer similarly recommends using 'statement lights' to 'create different zones, that each have a purpose.

'Open furniture, such as cabinets, bookcases, or shelving can be used to create different zones, without making the space feel closed in,' Martin adds.

Take Joanna's tip to the floor 

Parisian living room with broken-plan technique

(Image credit: Designed by Le Berre Vevaud in Plaine Monceau, photo by Stephan Julliard)

Le Berre Vevaud founders Raphaël Le Berre and Thomas Vevaud similarly use Joanna's method – while also suggesting that an effective way of breaking up an open plan is by dividing the floor into distinct areas.

'In typical French apartments, the living rooms are usually very big, so a way of creating more intimacy is to distinguish separate areas through different color schemes or a variety of textures and materials,' the Parisian designers explain. 

'Large rugs are useful in defining living or dining areas as they can set the tones and color palettes for those spaces. Echoing those tones with accents of color in furniture or ornamental pieces helps create a sense of harmony throughout the whole design.'

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly enjoys writing about upcoming styles and trends for Homes & Gardens. Megan also loves discovering vintage pieces in her spare time, meaning her decor is largely influenced by the beauty of the jazz age.