Designing open-plan show homes

Designing open-plan show homes

Designing open-plan show homes

We have worked with a variety of housebuilders to design show home properties, and one of the questions we are often asked is: how can you make an open-plan design more appealing to a variety of buyers? And it’s a good question. Whether a development is aimed at first-time buyers, downsizers, second steppers or investors, many buyers will have different priorities and be searching for different things from a home.

Many of the developers we have worked with have wanted to attract multiple audiences, and one of the best ways to do this is to focus on the development’s show home interior design and make it welcoming for all.

Buyer priorities

When designing a show home interior we will always consider the target market. And if that’s varied, then it’s crucial to understand what drives buyers’ decision making and what interests different audiences.

Recent data by Rightmove has shown that for second steppers, space is a priority, while Share to Buy found over 50% of first-time buyers want a good home working set up. And downsizers? Research by Audley Homes shows that 53% of over 55s are downsizing to a lower maintenance home.

From showcasing minimal maintenance to making the most of the space, there are plenty of ways you can use interior design to complement every lifestyle.

Create Zones

Open-plan living, while popular with growing families, can often be intimidating for people who are buying their first home or for investors who might be looking to rent out the property. This is because with minimal furniture and a large open space, it can be difficult for people to feel inspired or to imagine how they’ll use it.

One of the most effective ways to break up the space, evoke buyers’ imaginations and cater to a variety of needs is to create zones. Zoning different aspects of the living space into smaller use spaces (such as a snug, reading area or home office) can help people to visualise the functionality of the room and how they can make it their own.

Design with lifestyles in mind 

Downsizers may be looking for low maintenance living that maximises relaxation, while second steppers may be looking for a vibrant space that maximises socialisation.

It’s crucial to consider various lifestyles within the design; whether it’s creating a welcoming dinner table that’s set and ready to go or using soft furnishings to create the perfect chill out corner, use the space to appeal to your buyers’ lifestyle needs.

Consider storage 

One of the most common objections to open-plan living is storage. Many people struggle to visualise how they can keep the space clutter free so why not inspire them with your interior choices? Carefully placed console tables, rustic baskets and wooden trunks can help to bring a natural feel to the space as well as demonstrate how simple it can be to keep everyday items tucked away out of view.

Colour scheme

Open-plan show homes are all about maximising natural light. And while many new-build homes are completed in a neutral colour tone (so the buyer can add their own stamp to it) the show home is a space to get creative with colour.

A recent study by Strike used eye-tracking software to find out what grabs people’s attention when looking at properties online, and flicks of colour topped the list. People are drawn to it. Not only can colour evoke certain emotions (think calming blues and greens in the bedrooms versus bold yellows in the creative home working space) but they can also be incredibly memorable. Even if your show home is neutral throughout, you can inject a bit of colour through cushions, throws and other soft furnishings.


One of the best ways to help people to visualise how they’d use a space is to personalise it to them. Use homebuyer data to understand your audience’s preferences and keep this in mind when designing the show home. Are your buyers likely to be dog owners? Why not create a doggy house next to the kitchen. Marketing to families? Consider a home-schooling station at the breakfast bar. First-time buyers? Create that all-important home office.

Do you have a show home project you’d like to discuss with us? Contact our team today at Harris Jackson Design: or on 07717474217


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