Is it the end of open-plan living? New findings reveal a new lifestyle trend proving more popular

Has this fashionable style of living had its day?

Open-plan living appears to be going out of fashion, according to a new report. The change comes as Brits adapt their homes to accommodate home working, and with it a new lifestyle trend is emerging.

The Flexible Living Report 2020 by John Lewis & Partners reveals a change of mindset. Those with open-plan homes are looking to create zones to segregate work from play.

Inspiration: How to zone out an open-plan space – dedicated different areas to separate tasks

The trend for communal living spaces, which started in the 70s, is going into reverse – as families seek to create separate ‘zones’ within their homes. This comes as we move towards six months of working from home, in an unprecedented year of change for all.

The lifestyle trend replacing open-plan living

open plan living room with white wall and sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rachael Smith)

Research by the retailer found that one in five people has reconfigured their open-plan space to accommodate multiple activities throughout the day. Creating specific areas to home offices and makeshift home gyms.

'After several months of change, UK homes are working harder than ever before' says Johnathan Marsh, category director of Home at John Lewis & Partners. 'Having become offices, gyms, schools, restaurants and more. Nothing so ground-breaking has shaken our use of the home since the rise of open-plan living, which began in the seventies.'

Going on to say, 'Although sparked by urgent needs in the midst of the pandemic, this new perspective on a modular, flexible approach to living within our own four walls, is here to stay.'

How our future homes are changing

open plan kitchen with table and chair and counter

(Image credit: Future PLC/Barbara Egan)

Many home spaces have now become ‘multi-functional zones’. These paces are easily changeable throughout the day – as we juggle work, exercise and family time, all under one roof.

The survey of 1,000 people, conducted by OnePoll, found that 57 per cent expect to work from home on average three days per week in the future – with 13 per cent expecting they'll be doing five days per week from home. Right now, with Government guidelines that's already the case for most.

As a result of the unpredicted lifestyle change, more than a quarter said they have repurposed a room for a home office. With one in five voicing a need to have a space where they can spend time alone. A move on from the togetherness of open-plan living.

Another 17 per cent have fashioned a home gym and/or yoga space. Citing a need to work on their physical and mental health while confined to the home.

To help younger people with homeschooling, another 15 per cent have dedicated a space especially for education.

home office with white table and chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

Johnathan concludes, 'For many years now, modern life has been so busy that it felt as if people spent more time away from the home than within its walls. In this scenario, open-plan living provided welcome moments of togetherness for families and friends in otherwise hectic schedules.

'Lockdown changed everything. There was immediate pressure to adapt open-plan designs to maximise space for work, exercise, home-schooling, play and dining. Modifying spaces in this way brought a change in mindset. With customers reflecting on the full potential of their homes to serve multiple functions.'

Related: Small home office ideas – stir creativity no matter how tight your home is on space

How has your home changed over the past 6 months?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.