Open floor house plans have impressive benefits, such as lending your home a more spacious ambiance, letting in coveted natural light, and offering a more convenient way to live and entertain. Yet transforming your home’s traditional layout to an open floor plan is a serious decision, one that should only be made once you’ve fully weighed the pros and cons.
What are Open Floor Plans?
In residential architecture, the term “open floor plan” refers to a house where several main spaces are joined by removing some of the partition walls used as division. Having an open floor plan doesn’t mean that all rooms are connected. Some common configurations are:
- Dining Room + Kitchen: the dining room and kitchen occupy one space and typically, just visually divided by a kitchen island
- Living Room + Dining Room: these two rooms share one area; dividing lines are created with paint colors, stairs, sofas, console tables, and other options
- Dining Room + Kitchen + Living Room: three areas share one space, usually with a vaulted ceiling
Bathrooms, bed rooms, powder rooms, and home offices are often exempt from open floor plans. Smaller spaces can benefit tremendously from this type of layout, but it can also work beautifully in bigger homes depending on the design direction.
Pros and Cons of Open Floor Plans
Homes with fewer walls and greater shared spaces offer these benefits:
- Better traffic flow
A major advantage of open floor plans is opening up traffic flow between areas. There are fewer tight corners to avoid, more space for getting around, and a less hectic experiences especially when you have a bigger family.
- More natural light
Open floor plans make way for an influx of natural light, which can now permeate through the space thanks to the lack of walls. This can help you save some money from lower electricity bills, but more importantly, lends and open, airy ambiance that can make you feel more relaxed and at ease.
- More room for furniture
If you enjoy lots of décor and furniture in your home but you have limited space to do so, an open floor plan can finally allow you to design as you wish. Without the walls, you gain plenty of space for accent pieces, tables, and seating.
- More social opportunities
The open layout can make it easier to bond as a family or entertain guests. You can cook in the kitchen while conversing with friends by the living room, or watch a movie after your meal with a just a few steps from the dining to the living room.
On the other hand, open floor plans can also have downsides such as:
- More expensive climate control due to the shared heating and cooling system
- Connected spaces can mean less privacy
- Less efficient sound control
- More upkeep since everything is visible in the room
- Can be more expensive to build
Should you go for an open floor plan?
Once you understand the pros and cons of open floor plans, carefully evaluate your needs and lifestyle to determine if it’s the right layout for you. Make sure to consult everyone in the family as well since home layout changes can have a big impact on their experience. Finally, talk to an experienced interior designer and contractor to see if an open floor layout makes sense for your existing home.