This is a common design issue in Kerala Homes; especially where space is limited. From the veranda, you enter into a Common Hall that is divided into the Living and Dining Areas. The usual approach has been to provide a shelf that partitions the hall. This could act as a bookshelf on the living room side; or a crockery shelf on the dining room side.
Here are some stylish ways to divide the hall into living and dining areas.
1. The open shelf- It does not completely obstruct the view to the dining area from the living room, but still provides adequate demarcation of the space.
2. The screen- A decorative fixed screen with a perforated design that matches the design scheme of the interiors.
3. Open shelf with Jalis sofa- The sofa and cushions along with the open shelf adjacent to it creates a separate living space within the common hall.
4. Post and Lintel- This is a very commonly used design solution in Kerala homes, to separate the Living Room from the Dining Area. It consists of a lintel supported by columns; as an interior design feature.
5. Arch and Column- Another commonly seen design solution that separates the Living Room and the Dining Area- with an entrance arch supported by round columns.
6. Pivoted screens- This is a dynamic solution to a Hall separator. The screens are pivoted at the top and bottom which lets you control the privacy required between the living and dining areas. They can be left open or completely shut, as desired.
7. Bookshelf wall with door shutters- If the Hall is large enough, a large partition walled bookshelf can be provided with a shuttered door; that can create two separate living and dining spaces.
8. Ceiling-hung curtain- Sometimes a simple ceiling-hung curtain will do the trick as can be seen from the image below. The key is to match the curtain design with the ambiance of the interiors.
Some suggestions on Hall dividers-
1. First, do some space planning. Measure the room and decide how large each section will be, considering any relevant factors. A big family will need a larger dining space than a small family. Next, decide what furniture pieces are necessary. A dining room will need a table and chairs, A living room might need a sofa and TV.
2. Separate the living space from the dining area. You can divide the space physically by using an actual space separator such as a folding screen, bookshelf, or other such room divider. If room dividers are too obstructive for your tastes, or if you feel the room is too small for them, try a less defined option, such as a row of potted plants or a hanging curtain of sheer fabric or beads to let light through. Or, you can divide the space visually instead of physically. Paint the walls in each area a different color, then use furniture placement and area rugs to define each space.
3. Bring in the furniture. But first, carefully consider what size furniture you will need; nothing cramps a room like furniture that is too big for it. Round dining tables take up less space than rectangular ones. In very small dining rooms, consider folding chairs that can be easily stored away or leaned against the wall when not in use. In very small living rooms, skip the coffee table and use only end tables. A flat-screen mounted on the wall is much less obtrusive than a traditional television, which would also require a space-hogging entertainment center or TV stand.