The open floor plan is now a mainstay in American culture and in the home building industry but in case there is any doubt as to what an open floor plan encompasses, here is a brief explanation of what exactly it is and how “it” came to be. As the name implies, an open floor plan consists of one or more large rooms which are multi-functional within a single living space. Most often, the open layout occurs in the main living spaces of the home where the great room/family room, kitchen and dining space are incorporated into one shared space. Ever popular in homes with slightly less square footage than older, more traditional homes, the open floor plan really experienced a surge post 1990 after the excess of the 1980’s. Homes built in the 60’s and 70’s traditionally had closed floor plans with compartmentalized and isolated rooms built for specific activities and/or private space but with the increased popularity of entertaining from home, more leisure time and disposable income, the open floor plan gained acceptance with homeowners and the housing industry. In response to these new phenomena, the birth of a revolution in home building began and continues today as the number one design choice in home ownership. Even older homes are evolving where homeowners are likely to buy an older home with dreams of knocking down walls and opening up the floor plan and/or turn on any home renovation show where you are sure to see the ubiquitous open floor plan whether by design or remodel. Ultimately, a home’s layout is dependent on the preference of the homeowner and their family’s needs and there are many advantages to having an open floor plan versus a compartmentalized floor plan. The below are a compilation of the pros and cons of owning a home with an open floor plan:
Pros of an Open Floor Plan
Entertaining Purposes ~ open floor plans allow the host/hostess the ability to flow throughout the space effortlessly while cooking, serving or conversing with guests.
Small Children ~ open floor plans allow parents and other family members to keep an eye on the children while accomplishing other household chores or while they relax.
Brighter homes ~ the removal of walls increase the amount of natural sunlight allowed to infiltrate into the home’s interior thereby, reducing energy costs and increasing the home’s spacious feel.
Family time ~ open floor plans increase the amount of family time spent together in one space potentially allowing for a more cohesive and happier family and lifestyle.
Cons of an Open Floor Plan
Privacy ~ privacy can be reduced in a home with few walls; just as you can see small children and other family members from every angle, open floor plans allow you to be seen as well. Within many households, there are varying ages and schedules where a closed floor plan may simplify the need of vying for space and privacy.
Wall Space ~ open floor plans reduce the amount of wall space in a home which can lower the amount of artwork displayed or interrupt the flow of furniture placement. Additionally, a cohesive color scheme and similar furniture styles would be necessary in order to avoid conflicting themes.
Cleanliness ~ enclosed rooms offer the opportunity to shut the door and step away from messy rooms whether you are entertaining or not.
Noise ~ open floor plans have more acoustics and sound travels; extra walls can contain and limit noise interruption.
In the end, the choice between an open or closed floor rests with trusting your instincts and knowing what will work best for your family.