When Frank Lloyd Wright debuted his open floor plan, it wasn’t actually anything new. Nonetheless, it’s found its way into the Modern classification for floor plans in homes and offices. If you want to encourage inclusion and a welcoming environment in your home, the open floor plan does that better than anything else. Wives are no longer sent to the kitchen while the men talk. They’re all together in one room, enjoying everyone’s company at the same time.
All this said, open floor plans aren’t absolutely perfect. There are a few factors that make this option less than desirable. If you’re getting ready to build a new home, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a pros and cons list just for you in the hopes it will steer you in the right direction.
In the effort to end on a high note, we’ll begin on some lower ones.
The first drawback to an open floor plan is that it makes keeping your common space tidy more involved. Because it’s one amorphous blob of a room with only furniture to segment out each area, when one area is messy, the whole room is messy. Now remember that your entire kitchen is part of this equation. Between dishes and food prep/mess it’s a struggle to keep a clean kitchen in general. In an open floor plan, there’s no door to shut out the mess, so it has to be handled immediately, otherwise it’s the first thing guests see when they walk inside.
Second, open floor plans are more expensive to heat and cool. In traditional, closed layouts, you have what are called zones throughout your house that service each room individually. Open floor plans have less zones. Larger rooms are harder to heat and cool, anyway. Again, we remind you that your kitchen is now part of this room; all the heat from the oven and stove and dishwasher are battling against your AC. In the winder you can combat this by installing heated floors, UV coatings on your windows, thick, comfy rugs, and heavy curtains or drapes to help regulate temperature and add comfort. But when it comes down to brass tax, you’ll spend more money and energy heating and cooling an open floor plan than a closed one.
Enough of that negativity. Open floor plans have a lot of positives. The strongest case for an open floor plan is the warm and inviting nature it naturally harbors. Everything flows together easily without the interruption of walls. You can converse with your spouse while attending to chores and not have to yell across the house to be heard. When you make dinner plans with friends, you don’t have to have all the food cooked by the time they get there to enjoy everyone’s company. You can finish preparing the meal over cocktails without being left out of the conversation because you’re behind a few doors. Hosting larger parties for the holidays is better in an open plan because there’s more space.
Even better than this, you don’t have to have a huge space in order for it to feel big. Because there are no walls separating your living from your dining room or kitchen, even small rooms feel spacious because you can see from the front door to the back wall.
It’s really your personal preference. You can blend an open floor plan in the main part of the house with closed off bedrooms and bathrooms for a little necessary privacy. You may have to install support beams or columns, don’t fret. Your contractor will be able to deftly include them into the design. There are trade-offs to either option, at least now you have a better idea of what to expect with an open floor plan.