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Home Improvement

Pros, cons of open floor plans

3/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

A home’s floor plan generally depends on the preference of the homeowner, but there are many advantages to having an open floor plan vs. one that is more compartmentalized.
Photo courtesy of MetroCreativeConnection
Open floor plans have evolved to be the floor plan of choice in new homes and current home renovations. Turn on a home renovation show, and you’re likely to see eager homeowners knocking down walls to open the kitchen to the family room.

There are many supporters of the open floor plan, particularly those who entertain frequently or like to keep an eye on children throughout the house. Although open floor plans are touted, there are plenty of people who have never been enamored with having all of their rooms flowing into one. There also are some people who prefer a different style.

For those who are not fans of the open floor plan, blame the excess of the 1980s for their inception. In homes built in the 1960s and 1970s, rooms were compartmentalized and isolated for specific activities. During the 1980s, an era of “bigger is better,” when entertaining was widely popular among homeowners, designers noticed that many homeowners preferred an open floor plan in which rooms merged into one another, creating the illusion of more space. These floor plans also enable people to be in separate rooms and still interact with one another across the space.

A home’s floor plan largely depends on the preference of the homeowner. There are many advantages to having an open floor plan vs. one that is more compartmentalized. Here is a look at some of the pros and cons.

  • Pro: Open floor plans can be safer for parents of young children. If the home opens up with the living spaces branching off from the kitchen, parents can keep an eye on children while the parents prepare dinner. It also eliminates the number of places that children can hide and get into mischief.
  • Con: Privacy is reduced in a home with few walls. Much in the way that an open floor plan enables children to be seen from every angle, it also enables you to be seen — and all of your belongings as well. There’s also no place to retreat to if you need a minute to collect yourself when entertaining. You’re on display unless you retreat to the bathroom.
  • Pro: Entertaining can be easier in a home with an open floor plan because hosts and hostesses are not separated from their guests or holed up in the kitchen the entire time. An open space enables everyone to mingle and conversations to flow.
  • Con: Those who like to host events without showing guests all of their dirty dishes or secrets of the kitchen might dislike an open floor plan.
  • Pro: Light can flow effectively through an open space, minimizing dark rooms and reducing the need to install more windows. Light in and of itself can help a home feel more spacious.
  • Con: While light can flow easily, so can sound. Noises through the house might be amplified. A student doing homework in the dining room might be disturbed by the TV blaring in the family room. Talking on the phone or even finding a quiet nook to read a book could be challenging.
  • Pro: Open floor plans allow for more family time together in one space than a home with a more compartmentalized layout.
  • Con: People who are collectors or who have a lot of furniture or accent items might find that open floor plans do not work well with this type of design mantra.
  • Pro: Because several rooms run into one another, color choices for walls and furnishings in a home with an open floor plan can be limited and cohesive, making choices easier.
  • Con: On the flip side, those who want to incorporate different color schemes and eclectic styles may have difficulty deciding on where to “end” rooms or how to co-mingle furniture.

 

This information was provided courtesy of MetroCreativeConnection.

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