Rearrange your furniture to create separate areas Add a console table behind the sofa and use it as an exhibition space to further differentiate the living room from the kitchen. The same trick also works in the dining area, where a well-placed console can provide a small focal barrier. It's impossible and unrealistic to keep up with all the trends, whether in your house or in your closet. So, the most important thing is to do what works for YOU; otherwise, every 5 to 10 years you'll renovate your home to keep up with the latest developments.
If you are currently building or renovating and this decision is still an option, having different ceiling heights is one of the best ways to define spaces. I've seen some amazing barn-style homes, but they can look like a big warehouse (unless that's what you're looking for, of course). But if you can create different ceiling heights, such as a vault above the living room and a sloped floor anywhere else, then that's the first step in defining your spaces. Columns are a great way to define a space without completely blocking it like a wall would.
A column on its own would look a bit empty, so it's usually best to do it in multiples. If you have the skill or ability to contract this project, use these columns as an opportunity to add something of architectural interest. Add custom carpentry, wrap them in a lapel, cover them with moldings or accent them with wall lights so that they really stand out. And if it's well planned, you can incorporate storage or bookcases into the half wall and, with the right carpentry or columns, it could look like a work of art and match the period style of your home.
The cap is nice, but it doesn't do much good for the style of the house. Look at the two previous examples of ways in which you can add moldings, overlaps, columns, pillars and even decoration to make them stand out and become outstanding pieces. Stone pillars or columns, however you want to describe them, are similar to beams, but much more substantial. While this project would require more space for foot traffic to travel through and more skill (after all, you don't want them to collapse), it would certainly make a statement and, in my opinion, add a timeless piece of architecture to your home.
A foolproof way to separate two spaces in your open floor plan? Hook up a room divider. Choose something that's nice enough to serve as decoration, and if you want to keep the spaces connected, you can choose a room divider that's short enough to look at or with slats open enough to see through.