Enough With The Open Concept Home Plans

open-concept-home-plan

Open concept home plans, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and hardwood floors are like the home template for all homeowners these days. I swear everyone on those home buying and home renovation shows seem all too eager to share the same interior as the next person.

There doesn’t seem to be any real creativity or better yet, originality when choosing the design. It’s like the homes are being built from the inside out instead of the outside in. Don’t get me wrong, I think all those things are nice and they may very well add to the resale of the home but I refuse to believe that everyone likes the exact same thing. Especially when it comes to making a 15 or 30 year commitment.

What is the open concept in a home? It is essentially the combination of two or more rooms to create one great room. It was adopted in an attempt to form the illusion of more usable living space within the same amount of square footage causing the space to appear larger.

The history of the open concept was born out of necessity for early American homes. Dwellings from the early 17th century were constructed with a couple of multipurpose rooms that centered around a hearth. The Industrial Revolution rolled in and created a more prosperous America which allowed for more sophisticated and specialized rooms.

Rooms were designated for a specific purpose: kitchen, parlors, library, bed chambers, etc. The new construction came with walls and doors to allow for more intimate settings and private spaces. New approaches along with increased technological advances during the 19th century sparked some really radical thinking to improve on heat and cooling control. Fireplaces were no longer going to be the sole heat provider as we are now introduced to registers and radiators. Welcome the open concept home plans.

 

Advantages of an Open Floor Plan

I know you are thinking, “What is she about to say?” or “Why is she trying to make me hate my open concept?” Well let me just give you a couple of positives before I move on to what this article is about. Open concept home plans are not all bad and in fact as I mentioned before, they add value as an investment or resale of a home because it is a very popular feature among home buyers. Beyond the resale, there are a few more advantages available. Let’s take a look at a few.

Increases the natural lightThere is an allure to natural lighting and because there are no walls to block your view the sun can proudly display its rays. Using special lamps and track lighting may add to the design while brightening the space and although we like our pretty lamps, there is nothing like the natural light that comes from outside. Something about the sun that brings about a mood change. It is hard to sleep or be down when the warmth of the sun is kissing you ever so softly on your cheek.

Socially Acceptable– Having the kitchen and living areas combined allows for more social interaction with your family and guests. When the kitchen is its own separate room, it isolates the host. What better way to make your guest feel welcome than to include them in the process of making them feel welcome, right?! The cook or host can join in on conversations being had in the living or dining room which will eliminate the isolation.

Parental Control-Cooking or preparing meals in the kitchen with a wall between them and the kids in the next room may be a good reason to consider this floor plan. Open concept enables parents to keep an eye on the children while tending to that ever so fussy risotto.

 

Disadvantages of an Open Floor Plan

Although the open floor plan does have some good points it is important to point out its pain points as well. Otherwise, what’s the point of this article, right? After reading this article you might opt to have a closed, more defined floor plan.

No Definition– The lack of walls presents a new set of issues with the open concept floor plan. The space has no definition which makes it more difficult to place furniture. Most furniture will end up in the center of the room or could be awkwardly placed. Would you be alright with walking right into your living space from outside? What happens when it is winter and snow is everywhere? Would you still be ok to bring that messy wet snow into your great room?

Problems With Smelly Food– Food smells tend to travel in an open space. Your couch could end up smelling like last night’s dinner and that fried chicken smell in the sofa is not a cute look and will linger for some time after.

Not Energy Efficient- It is actually easier to heat and cool closed spaces than it is to heat and cool open spaces. That is because higher and larger spaces are harder to cool and heat rises leaving the area below a lot cooler and will ultimately have higher heating and cooling costs.

Harder to Keep Clean- When the space is bigger so is the mess. With an enclosed kitchen, for instance, the mess can be contained and better yet can be hidden from guests’ view until you are able to clean up. You can always get it cleaned up once company leaves but with an open floor plan it is always on display.

Seamless Decor Issues-Combining decor between two or three rooms so that it appears uninterrupted is a difficult thing to do without walls. Painting also falls into this category as it is hard as nails (as my husband would say) to pull off a cohesive color scheme between a few rooms with different purposes. Hanging artwork can also be an issue with no walls.

Lack of Privacy– Just think, every time you have a visitor whether that be the local girl scout, mailman or salesman, your whole layout, possessions and such can be seen from the front door. With no walls to block the view everything will be on display. Okay, okay, maybe I am being a little dramatic but what about when you want to hang out in the living room and read or watch your favorite show you will have to fight with the conversations going on in the kitchen. My point is you lack control of who sees what but I digress.

Wiring Issues– Constructing a second floor will require wiring for outlets, lights switches and more. With an open concept floor plan there will be a lack of walls space to accommodate the wiring all these things need. You will also find it difficult to plan for plumbing and HVAC return ducts.

A Few Solutions

I would not want to leave you on that note so I’ve come up with a few suggestions that may help if you already have an open concept home plan.

Furniture– Putting furniture against the wall is not possible since the wall is nonexistent so create a focal point by arranging the furniture like a sitting area, with a couple of chairs and a table. You could also make the sofa a divider by placing it between the kitchen and the living room area to define each space.

Painting-Limit your color scheme to light earthly tones. Sofas should remain light or white and you can add in some color with the pillows and accessories. Be sure to love the color scheme you choose because it should be carried throughout the open space to create a cohesive look. Consistency is key.

Energy Efficiency– Because heat rises, use ceiling fans in reverse to push the warm air down when the room is cold. Planting shade trees can reduce the heat index inside your home and keep it cool during the hot summer months. Click this link to see how you can get 10 FREE trees!

The Smell Issue– You can use activated charcoal as a deodorizer. It will absorb the fishy smell or any other smells associated with cooking and prevent it from taking over your home.

 

Conclusion

I personally happen to like walls and doors that separate and give purpose to each room in my home. You will ultimately make the decision to go with an open concept or not but whatever you decide just be sure it is a decision you can live with.

Taking down walls or putting them up is by no means an easy or cheap task. So plan and plan well and enjoy your space no matter what you decide.

Let me know in the comments what floor plan you actually prefer. If there are other points I may have missed in this article, please let me know in the comments as well. Until next time, Happy Decorating!

 

 

 

 

 

20 thoughts on “Enough With The Open Concept Home Plans

  1. yea, long gone are days you walk in to a foyer and you have your living room and your formal dining room, that’s how it was when i grew up. I think an open floor plan is ideal for say a vacation beach home or a mountain retreat home. Anyway great post, very informative, thanks for that

    1. Hi Robert,
      I am glad to hear that you found this article informative. I grew up with a foyer and formal dining rooms also and I actually live in one similar minus the formal dining. My house was built in 1900 and apparently someone removed a wall to combine the dinning with the kitchen. I agree with summer homes having an open concept layout with the bright airiness. Thanks you for your comment and blessings to you.

  2. Exactly what I’m thinking about the open space at home. What it’s annoying me is the food smell, the noise from the kitchen and the food which is travelling from the kitchen to living room.
    But, as you mention there are some advantages as well. I might consider the idea of redecorating the living room by placing a door. Let’s see how this project will take shape.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    1. Hi Dany,
      The food smell is a big one. It is hard to ignore this issue but on the other hand the advantages are worth it to some people. Please stop by again when you finish your redecorating and tell me how it went. Thank you for commenting. Best wishes.

  3. Hi, I really like open plan kitchen living rooms when I’m cooking because I can still be involved with what others are doing and I find it encourages people to either join me in the kitchen or include me.
    However, every now when I am unwell, then I do wish that I shut myself up in the living room.
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    All the best.

    1. Hi ecocatherine,
      I understand that when you are ready for some privacy, having an open floor plan just doesn’t offer any. I guess in those instances you could retreat to your bedroom if you need the extra alone time. Thanks for your comment and have a great day!

  4. I in some ways like the idea of an open floor plan, I personally would probably purchase some hanging dividers or tapestries to section off the house. Great article.

  5. I love this post! I thought I was the only one who thought that open space was #teamtoo much maintenance. When we started house searching last fall I wanted an older, traditional home with a separate formal living room, separate dining room and separate family room. It makes life for me so much easier and because I love to switch up decor throughout the year, I don’t feel constrained to keep the same design in one space. I can design each space differently. And since this reader loves to entertain, I need a room for the ladies to chat away from the kids and men. Now I just need to keep reading some more of your articles for some decorating ideas 😉

    1. Tamika!
      #teamtoo much maintenance! I love it. Yes, you bring up a good point. Being able to change the look is not a very easy thing because you will have to change the dining room and kitchen as well. I think we see this on television so much that it seems to be the only option. I wanted to give another perspective. Thanks for sharing your views. Blessings

  6. This was very formative. I am not a fan of open concept in homes or apartments for some of the very reasons you stated, especially privacy and smells.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Marette,
      Yes, there are a lot of reasons why this is not a good way to go and it’s not until you have one that you realize all the disadvantages that come along with it. Thank you for your comment and God bless.

  7. Personally, I love open concepts. I think this is a very interesting article. I’ve got to understand more of its advantages and disadvantages, and I still maintain my decision of liking open concepts more. Thanks!

    1. Hey Andrew,
      So glad you stopped by. I know a lot of people who love open concept and I can surely see why people love them. I have been seeing them on everything. I mean it’s like this seems to be the only option nowadays. So I wanted to offer a different opinion. Thank you for your comment and best wishes.

  8. You make some great points here. I want a more open space in my home because I want more natural light in my living space. We have a small home and the attic space is not accessible for us to put in wiring to add overhead lighting to our living room. There is also limited space (and outlets) for adding lamps. Removing part of the wall between the kitchen and living room will open things up a bit and allow more light to flow into the living room. I prefer an open and airy space but I do understand the challenges with defining spaces in a large room. We are having difficulty deciding where to put the TV once the current wall is removed!

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      I understand the lure of the open concept as it appears to give us more options and it is good for opening up a space that doesn’t have a lot of square footage. I think they are probably best in warmer climates to keep the space cooler and airy as you have mentioned. I can sure see what all the rage is about it just so happens to not be my cup of tea. Thank you for comment. Best wishes

  9. Bravo again sis! You nailed it again!! That really cool you added the history behind the open concept!! Yes walls are useful !!!! 😘

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