10 Ways That Different Levels Can Shape Your Home, Inside and Out
Walls, doors and windows aren't the only ways to separate spaces. Using levels may not be one you've considered
A classic way to create a strong sense of two zones within one open-plan space is to create a change in level. Here, two steps down from a dining area to a living area is enough to make a clear division and also to provide occasion seating for dining. The effect is enhanced by the change from a timber (visually lightweight) flooring on the upper level to a stone (visually heavier) on the lower level. Be careful of reversing these, a general rule of thumb is to have your heavier materials beneath your lighter ones.
Where space is tight, a great way to create much-needed storage is to raise a floor level. In this example, a raised bed-deck allows for plenty of drawers beneath.
The classic bed-deck, raised up just enough to create a cosy seating area beneath while retaining just enough headroom on the upper level.
This is a tremendous use of restricted space to get the most out of a room.
A very popular use of levels to enhance the sense of space in a kitchen/dining extension is to run the interior floor level through to an outside terrace or decked area with steps down to the garden.
Along with these matching levels, the use of folding/sliding doors has become very popular and glass-door companies have devised weatherproof details for the thresholds so that the matching levels do not cause any weathering problems.
Sometimes, however, the change in level from interior to garden is simply too big to extend a terrace at floor level without specific Planning Permission. An alternative approach, as illustrated here, is to use steps to let the interior space ‘spill’ over to the outside. Here, the doors and steps are to the side of the extension, allowing for an uninterrupted picture window view of the garden from the elevated living area.
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The idea of letting the interior space flow out with a terrace also works when the interior is below ground level and a terrace is excavated. Again, the room, here a basement room, is given a much greater sense of space by the level exterior terrace, which allows the interior space to flow out and make a basement much less basement-y.
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This basement level exterior space could have been a difficult box of below-ground space, but with clever use of steps and intermediate levels, the sense of it being deeply excavated is alleviated and we are left with a more open sense.
Where the earlier internal open-plan examples created slight separation with one or two steps, here we have a full split-level that has been opened up. There is a strong sense that the space up the stairs is a separate room, but with all of the shared connectivity and open views of an open-plan arrangement.
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In this kitchen, five steps lower than its adjoining dining space, the level change has been used to house an eye-level oven and kitchen storage units….
Setting up deliberate ‘views’ within and across interior spaces can be a wonderful way to enhance your home. Level changes create lots of opportunities for these views to become that much more interesting as they do not all have to be simple horizontal views. Try glimpses through steps and glass balconies to spaces beyond, as seen in this home.
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Which of these ideas would you consider for your own home and why? Tell us in the Comments section.