Elizabeth Briggs, Category Manager – Sliding, Room & Building at Häfele UK, explores what the rise in broken plan design means for furniture makers and the solutions available to create flexible, versatile spaces. 

With almost a quarter of UK businesses planning to increase homeworking (ONS), furniture makers will continue to see an increase in demand for their services to help homeowners create flexible living and working spaces. As a by-product of this trend, we’re already seeing a rise in broken plan living, as opposed to open plan configurations, due to its ability to form a distinct work zone for the consumer. 

Where open-plan refers to two or more traditional rooms – such as a kitchen and dining room – joined to form a bigger space by taking down partition walls, broken plan is a space that is split into zones using levels and semi-permanent structures to create separate areas.

These structures can take many forms including custom-built bookcases, semi-open partitions or bespoke cabinetry that can be used to house hidden home offices, as well as storage or utility rooms. As a result, there’s a huge opportunity for furniture makers, especially given that research from Häfele UK found that 40% of homeowners are planning to create a dedicated office space in their property.

Slide away

Sliding and pocket door gear systems are the perfect way to create clever workspaces within the semi-permanent structures that are central to broken-plan living. 

Using sliding door or pocket door systems, furniture makers can craft an office space that can open when the homeowner needs it, but hidden away in bespoke cabinetry at 5.30 pm. Sliding and pocket door systems also have an added space-saving bonus as they take up around 1270 mm less operating space per door versus a traditional hung door, making them ideal for compact homes. 

To help furniture makers create these clever options, Häfele’s in-house range of sliding and folding door hardware, Slido has a comprehensive collection of solutions for the evolving needs of the customer. 

Centred around an innovative modular approach, with standardised components for different load weights, it’s easy to find a solution for your project whether you need sliding, pivot sliding or folding sliding door systems. As well as featuring soft close options, Slido can be used with timber, glass or aluminium framed sliding doors, and for customers who value their peace and quiet, soundproofing variants are available too. 

Within the Slido range, furniture makers will also find sliding door kits that do not require a bottom track, with the top track able to hold the full weight of the door. These solutions are ideal for sliding doors that are used to separate rooms, as well as a popular option for walk-in wardrobes, creating a seamless flowing space. 

Furniture makers will also find emerging solutions within the Slido range that are quickly establishing themselves as creative, innovative products for the broken-plan home. While traditionally used in commercial environments such as offices or conference centres, moveable walls are a flexible option for the home. Slido W-Fold32 100T is one option from Häfele that allows a quick change from a large open lounge or dining area for example, into a closed-off workspace as required. 

To help furniture makers navigate the world of sliding doors, Häfele offers a Sliding Door Specification Service. With one call to its team of technical experts, sharing a top level design and door dimensions, they will work out the best solution, build a list of materials and provide a quote for what’s required. To save even more time, the Sliding Door Specification Service can be combined with Häfele to Order. This means sliding door gear can be assembled, packed, labelled and shipped to bespoke requirements for added ease and efficiency.