Pros and Cons of Open Floor Plans

Pros and Cons of Open Floor Plans

Pros and Cons of Open Floor Plans


Open floor plans are becoming a staple of modern home design, leaving behind the days of many square rooms joined by doorways and halls.  Instead, the center of the home is dominated by an expansive room that serves space for the living area, dining, kitchen, and maybe more all at once.  Furniture replaces walls in order to demarcate the spatial arrangement.  But what are we gaining with this design, and what are we losing?  Although open floor plans are helpful for socializing, they miss out on the built-in privacy of more traditional separation.

Probably the biggest benefit of an open floor plan is that everyone can gather in one place even if they are all involved in different tasks.  Because the living room and kitchen are in the same space, one person can be cooking or preparing lunch and still converse with another person who is relaxing in front of the TV.  Someone else can be eating at the dining table and not miss out on the conversation.  This kind of social space helps parents keep an eye on kids, and makes entertaining friends much easier, as it gives a central location for all activities without forcing separation.

On the other hand, because of this forced co-location, there is a concomitant loss of privacy.  If the children need to work on homework at the dining room table, parents might not be able to enjoy a movie in the living room at the same time without distracting them.  In an open-floor layout, it’s possible that one activity will wind up dominating the entire space, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves in bedrooms or elsewhere.  This kind of layout has in fact influenced the way in which we use our bedrooms, so that any open floor plan design should take into account the “retreat”-style design for a bedroom.

Traditional, divided rooms are better at containing privacy, but also a mess.  If you relegate the living room as a kid’s play area, there is less danger of the mess they make leaking into the dining area and kitchen if the rooms are separate.  Likewise if the kitchen is separate, there is less chance of some cooking disaster spilling out into the dining room.  This separation can also help in decorating, as each separate space can have its own theme, whereas if all the rooms are joined, the décor will have a greater need to meld together.  Losing walls also means losing places to hang artwork.

However, an open floor plan is often better for letting in natural light and opening up views.  Walling off the living room with the large windows and amazing view of the lake or trees will deprive all the other rooms of that view.  Keeping an open floor plan gives more sight-lines to the windows and reciprocally allows more light to filter through the space.

There are many considerations when you design your own custom home, and every design decision must ultimately be based on your family’s personal needs and the way in which you will use the space.  Although open floor plans have become a staple of modern home design, they may not suit all needs. 

If you have any questions or concerns about the design of your new home, be sure to stop in the Harden Custom Homes model home at 2818 Tropicana Pkwy W., Cape Coral, FL 33993 or call today at (239) 603-6083 to talk with an experienced contractor who specializes in custom home construction.

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