Open Floor Plan: Should You Do It or Not?

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When watching any home design television show, it is guaranteed you will constantly hear the term “open concept.” To achieve this design, a lot of remodeling work involves tearing down walls to join together the living, kitchen, and dining areas.

Though traditional separate rooms still hold their charm to some homeowners, most younger homeowners are more than willing to take a sledgehammer and tear down some walls. Over 43 percent of millennials prefer to have a completely open floor plan for their living and dining rooms.

Open Floor Concept: A definition

Open floor plans are not new in the architectural world. Since the 1990s, it has been the dominant architectural trend in home constructions. With the rise of minimalism and tiny homes, it has become more popular than ever.

Essentially, an open floor concept refers to a residence with two or more common spaces joined to form a larger space. Removal of the partition walls is usually involved. Rather than interior weight-bearing walls carrying the heaviness of the structure, hear-wearing beams are used. Such design promotes great traffic flow in your home. It also creates a sense of openness.

Having an open floor plan does not mean that all rooms have to be connected or absolutely no barriers between rooms. The concept of an open floor plan only applies to common rooms such as the kitchen, living, and dining room. Excluded are powder rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, and also home office spaces.

These are the three common combinations of an open floor concept:

  • Dining room & kitchen. The kitchen and dining area usually share the same space. A kitchen island or peninsula could serve as a visual divider, delineating where one area ends and where the other begins.
  • Dining & living room. Another combination is the dining and living space sharing one area. Carefully placed furniture, varying paint colors, or a handrail could serve as a visual dividing line.
  • Kitchen/ dining/ living room. Small houses usually have this layout. The three areas are interconnected, and to create an illusion of spaciousness, vaulted ceilings are in place.

When we’re planning the interior design of our home, we start with what we want. The style and color scheme come first. We browse through magazines, websites, and social media for the elements of an industrial style or a Victorian-style home. We decide on color schemes by looking at a paint catalog from Life Specialty Coatings. The possibilities are limitless when it comes to deciding on what we want to find in the design of our homes. But that doesn’t mean that we fulfill everything that we want. Unfortunately, we tend to hesitate and pull back a bit. We make sure that we don’t innovate and be playful too much with the design. This is so that we could maintain a sense of elegance and tradition in our home. But the truth is that we should hesitate. If we envision quirky design elements at home, then we should embrace that. This is what these three individuals did in their own homes. Living Room: Multi-story Bookshelves and a Rock Climbing Wall For those of us who are proclaimed bibliophiles, having a home that looks very much like a major library is the ultimate dream. However, we hesitate because it’s not exactly ideal to have a bookshelf that covers an entire wall that spans more than one story. But that’s exactly what Olivia Song did in her townhouse in Cobble Hill, New York City. Because the multiple floors of her home overlook the living room, she took advantage of the expansive wall and filled it up with books. She didn’t stop there, though. She also installed a rock climbing wall right there in the living room. She has two young boys and they, unsurprisingly, are enjoying this home feature. By living in the heart of New York City, it means that the family doesn’t have much outdoor space for play. It’s not at all like living in the country. So Song improvised by installing a playground feature inside her home. More often than not, the living room is often the most unused room. Families lounge in the entertainment room because the living room is for guests. But with Song’s creativity, she made sure that the living room is something that everyone in the family enjoys very much. Kitchen and Bathroom: Offbeat Patterns and Prints When we decide on what our wall and other furniture would look like, we just decide on the colors. Perhaps we would look through various textures and patterns to add a little bit of excitement to them. But we rarely decide on something that’s completely unique and out there. This is because repainting or replacing the wallpapers of our home is a very costly affair. So we want to get this truly right. Unfortunately, because of this, we tend to play it safe and settle with elegant but conservative walls and furniture. But Gigi Hadid proves people wrong by pushing the boundaries of the design of her home. Many have marveled at her apartment in New York City. But her kitchen left such an impression on us. It’s because her cabinets are designed with dried pasta. Behind the tinted glass of her cabinets are various shapes of pasta. Hadid’s playfulness also doesn’t stop there. Another noteworthy part of her home is a wall in her bathroom. The expanse of it is covered with prints of various covers of The New Yorker. This publication is well-known for its imaginative artwork. So the covers make up a great art display for the room. Kids’ Bedroom: a Jungle Gym For the bedroom of our children, we tend to get more creative. We want their rooms to always evoke joy and encourage play. In a way, these rooms would help make their childhood happier and more memorable. But, even if we want these things, we don’t always go all out. But that’s not what Hilary Duff did in her massive home in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. For the bedroom of her young son, Luca, she decided to install an actual jungle gym. The bedroom is not at all just a place where her son could sleep. He could enjoy a slide, take a nap on a hammock, climb up the wall, and many other fun activities. Through this, Duff makes sure that her son really does have a fun childhood in their family home. When it comes to the design of our home, we all know what we want, what we envision. But, really, the problem is finding the courage to actually fulfill them. By knowing that some people didn’t hold back in how they want their homes to be, we could find inspiration and the courage to be just as quirky and innovative.

Pros of Open Floor Concept

Here are some advantages of an open floor concept:

1. Abundance of natural light. Since no walls are dividing up space and blocking light from windows, sunlight can easily seep into your home interior. It gives out an airy feeling and bright interior as you have direct views of the outdoors.

2. Improved traffic flow. People can easily move through space as there are no doors to open and close. There are no walls to obstruct traffic. With an open floor plan, hosting parties and gatherings is easier than ever. In fact, a lot of homeowners nowadays opt to have their kitchen remodeled to achieve this concept.

3. Extra space for your family. Having an open floor plan makes your home feel larger than it actually is. It gives enough flexibility to work with oversized furniture pieces. The maximum amount of floor space offers more room to play, making watch over kids much easier.

4. Higher resale value. With the growing popularity of open floor plans, the resale value of your house remains strong. Since the 90s, houses with open floor plans have attracted countless buyers. Though there are still some who prefer wall divisions, an open floor concept offers flexibility.

Cons of Open Floor Concept

Not every homeowner, though, is a fan of open floor plans. Before jumping into this trend, you need to understand the benefits that a traditional home layout could offer. So, here are some disadvantages of an open floor concept:

1. Not energy efficient. Spacious rooms with high ceilings typically drain energy a lot, especially when walls have wider windows. Unlike traditional floor plans that require heating or cooling only certain rooms, in an open floor plan, every nook and cranny must be heated or cooled.

2. More expensive construction cost. Since there are no partition walls in an open floor concept, steel or laminated beams are used for support. These materials are more expensive and costly to install.

3. Cutter control. Unlike traditional floor plans with confined and designated space for furniture and decorations, open floor plans leave it to homeowners how to furnish their interior. Without doing it properly, your home interior may appear cluttered.

4. No sense of privacy. While open floor concepts are great for entertainment and socialization, it is not so when you need to find quiet spaces for studying or private reading. With no partition walls blocking noises, your interior can be very noisy.

Whether it be an open floor plan or a traditional one, your home interior will still look great with proper planning and excellent implementation. Know and understand the needs of your household to be guided and not just jump on the bandwagon.

Design Solid is a community of home designers, home remodelers, and DIY-enthusiasts. We are an online magazine that publishes articles, features, and essays on all things home improvement, whether it’s the latest house remodeling techniques or the hottest interior design fads from around the world.

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