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What’s the Best Way to Heat My Open-Plan Living Space? 

May 28th, 2024 | underfloor heating
Open Plan Living Space

Open-plan living is a popular interior design trend in homes across the world but making sure these kinds of spaces are adequately heated is crucial in making them a comfortable environment in which to relax. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of open-plan rooms and explore why underfloor heating is the best way to heat them. You’ll learn more about: 

  • What makes open-plan living so popular 
  • The complications of heating large spaces with traditional heating methods  
  • The best water floor heating systems for open-plan rooms 
  • Which electric UFH systems work for larger rooms 
  • How to reduce heat loss in open-plan homes 

The benefits of open-plan living 

Combining areas of your home to create a greater sense of space is an attractive idea for many homeowners. Removing the walls between your living room and kitchen for instance, will create a more expansive room in which to cook and entertain and it may also increase the value of the property too. But whether you are considering open-plan living as part of a home renovation project or a new-build project, there are a few things to consider before you start any construction work. Firstly, it’s important to make sure that you work with a good builder who has experience with these kinds of projects and that you also have the correct planning permissions in place to protect the integrity of the building (if you’re renovating your home, removing load-bearing walls can involve significant labour to ensure safety). And secondly, it’s imperative that you consider your heating solution for the space too; as simply maintaining your existing heating system in this newer, larger room possibly won’t provide enough warmth.  

Looking for inspiration on creating an airy, minimalist home? Read our article to discover some top interior design tips.  

The common problems with heating open-plan rooms 

Traditional central heating systems are designed to just heat the air of a room and in an enclosed space, this may provide enough heat for your needs but in an open-plan room, it may not. In a larger space, wall-affixed radiators will create hot and cold spots in the space: with warmer areas nearer the radiator and colder areas the further you are away from them. So, in a combined living room-kitchen for instance, you may find yourself comfortable on the sofa but colder at your dining table. A central heating system may also lead to greater levels of heat loss in an open-plan space too, as the hot air will escapes upwards and outwards into its walls and ceiling. And with this lowered level of efficiency, this will lead to greater energy bills too, as the central heating system will have to operate at a higher temperature for longer to provide a comfortable temperature for the whole space. 

Find out more about the differences between central heating and underfloor heating in our expert guide.  

Why underfloor heating is the best method to heat open-plan spaces 

Due to its radiant heat technology, underfloor heating is the perfect way to heat open-plan rooms. Unlike central heating systems which just focus on heating the air of a room, floor heating systems directly heat the people and objects in the room from the ground up, with an even distribution of warmth across the entire floor. This is a much more energy-efficient heating method as it facilitates lower air temperatures than traditional systems for the same levels of comfort, thereby reducing the kind of heat loss typically associated with radiator-produced warmth whilst also ensuring there will be no hot or cold spots within the room. And with this increased energy-efficiency, you can expect lower long-term running costs than other heating options too.  

The ‘invisible’ nature of underfloor heating makes it ideal for open-plan homes too. With no visible pipework required, a floor heating system allows you to have greater freedom to design the space without making any style compromises: removing cumbersome radiators from the wall will enhance the room’s feeling of space and light.  

We offer floor heating systems for all room types and all floor finishes. Learn more about the many benefits of underfloor heating in our buying guide.  

How to choose the right UFH system for your home 

Larger open-plan rooms are best suited for a water floor heating system. Water systems pump heated water from the heat source through pipes that are installed either within the subfloor of your property or within the system’s panels. Water underfloor heating offers low running costs and will provide a consistent level of warmth for more expansive spaces.  

The VLo Ultra-12 Low Build System is a great choice for open-plan rooms in both home renovations and new-build projects. With in-built high-quality insulation, the Ultra-12 is installed on top of the subfloor and with a slimline design of just 18mm, it won’t raise floor heights significantly.  

If you’re building your dream home, then our Nexxa System is a great choice. Its innovative castellated panels securely hold the heating pipe in place at an optimal layout and are available in three options for true versatility : the Nexxa System for pre-insulated floors, the Nexxa Peel and Stick System featuring a self-adhesive backing and the Nexxa Insulating and Acoustic System which features in-built insulation.  

Looking for an electric floor heater for your open-plan room? Our DCM-PRO Heated Decoupling System may be suitable for use with smaller-scale spaces, such as a kitchen-diner. The DCM-PRO has been specifically designed for use with stone and tiled floor finishes, helping to protect them from potential damage caused by lateral subfloor movement and with quick installation times, you can enjoy the benefits of energy-saving heat in a matter of hours.  

Other things to consider to keep open-plan rooms warm

Making sure your open-plan room is well insulated is of paramount importance. Good quality insulation in your walls, ceilings and floors will help to prevent the heat produced by your new heating system from escaping the space. This not only improves your comfort levels but can save you significant amounts of money on your energy bills as your heating system won’t require as much energy to heat up the open-plan room to your ideal comfort temperature. All underfloor heating systems are recommended to be installed alongside insulation and we offer a range of insulation products that not only reduce heat loss but also enhance the energy-saving performance of the floor heating.   

Utilising Smart heat controls will also ensure that your open-plan room is always heated to the correct temperature, at the right time for your needs. A Smart underfloor heating system reduces energy wastage, helping to save you even more money on your energy bills and can also facilitate automatic heating.  

Looking for the perfect UFH system for your home? Use our online quoting tool to find the best system for your needs and discover exactly how much it will cost to purchase. You can order a Warmup water system online and our range of electric floor heaters can be purchased from our network of retail partners.  

Thinking of installing a new Hydro heating system?

Find out more about installing water underfloor heating systems

Warmup Quoting Tools: instant, accurate, flexible

Warmup offers an extensive range of electric and water floor systems compatible with all floor types, rooms and projects.

Warmup Quoting Tools

instant, accurate, flexible

Quoting Tools: instant, accurate, flexible

Warmup offers an extensive range of electric and water floor systems compatible with all floor types, rooms and projects.

Electric Systems

  • ✓ Ideal for zones less than 25m²
  • ✓ Ideal for single rooms
  • ✓ Does not alter floor levels
  • ✓ Great for renovations

Electric Systems Quote
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Water Systems

  • ✓ Ideal for larger zones over 25m²
  • ✓ Rapid auto heat loss calculations
  • ✓ Compatible with existing central heating systems
  • ✓ Great for new-builds

Water Systems Quote & Buy
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For areas of 24m2 or more, use our full quoting system
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