The open floor plan has been the leading recent architectural trend in new homes since about 1990, and it has been the goal of many recent remodeling projects in older homes. Today’s “open floor plan” refers to a home in which traditional-use spaces like the kitchen, dining room and living room can be combined into one communal living space.
Open floor plans are great — they can make a home feel larger and more connected. But they’re not for everyone. Consider the following pros and cons to see if it’s right for you.
- Better traffic flow – Open floor plans make socializing easier. If you are the type to entertain, having an open floor plan means guests can move through the space unhindered, and you’re able to catch up with guests while preparing appetizers in the kitchen.
- More natural light – Removing walls allow the light that comes in through your windows to spread throughout the home, giving the room a bright, airy feel that will also make the space seem larger.
- Layout flexibility – Without partition walls, it’s easier to configure an open floor plan space to suit your needs and priorities as they change. The space can serve as a family room, recreation room, home office or entertainment space depending on your needs in the moment.
- Higher construction cost – If you’re thinking about tearing down walls to give your home the open floor concept, there’s a good chance you’ll have to tear down a load-bearing wall to achieve the communal living feel. It will likely be replaced with heavy-duty ceiling beams to carry the weight of the floor above. Any project that alters the structural support of your home will be a costly one.
- Lack of privacy – Looking at online photos of a perfectly styled open concept home makes it hard to imagine wanting to put up walls. But when all rooms are on display, it also means everything has to be organized otherwise the house can quickly feel cluttered. Closed-off rooms can allow people to cut down on that visual noise. It also allows spaces like the study or office that require more privacy to stay that way, even while guests are over.
- Poor sound control – There’s no hiding from everybody’s noise in an open floor plan. The lack of partition walls makes it difficult to block noise, and a large space might echo more than smaller, traditional room size.
- Combining leisure with labor – With the rise of technology in the workplace, a recent report by FlexJobs found the number of U.S. workers who telecommute at least one day a week grew by 115 percent over the last 10 years. With more people working from home, many working families need a formal office space. In an open concept floor plan without a designated office area, families might have to give up a much-needed bedroom to function as an office instead.
Today, an open floor plan is highly prized when shopping for a new home, and it’s one of the primary reasons existing homeowners take on major remodeling projects. Open floor plans allow for individual activities to occur in one area where a family can coexist. On the other hand, architecture firms are starting to see people return to separated spaces as a way to maintain the identity of a room. There’s no right or wrong style to choose. Before committing to an open floor plan for the first time, weigh the advantages and disadvantages to see if it’s right for you and your family.If you’re considering buying or selling a home, we’d love to help you get started. Contact us today.