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Create an Open-Concept Floor Plan: Tips for Designing Spacious Homes

If you’re a fan of home improvement shows, you’re likely familiar with ‘demo day’ when construction crews, often accompanied by homeowners dreaming of spacious layouts, wield sledgehammers and tear down walls in an older home to create an open floor plan.

Blog | Floor Plans
Open floor plan
Linda White

An open-floor plan or open-concept floor plan is one where two or more rooms separated by partition walls in traditional layouts are combined to form a larger space. In most open-floor plans, the kitchen, dining room, and living room form a ‘great room’ that allows family members to do their own activities, such as cooking, homework, and watching TV, but still be together.

There are lots of reasons why people like open-floor plan living. For starters, it reflects the way we live today. At one time, the kitchen was tucked away at the back of a house, as far away from living areas as possible because it was a place for storing and preparing food. As our lives became less formal, the kitchen became the home's heart where family members and guests congregate.

Don’t underestimate the value of proper planning and design. The pros and cons of open-floor plans have been widely debated by a wide variety of experts. Will the open-floor plan go out of style has also been hotly debated. Some design experts say new demands on our homes have increased the desire for separation, but for now connected living spaces are popular. 

5 bedroom 3D floor plan

The Benefits of Open Floor Plans

RoomSketcher Pro 3D Live Floor Plan Bay Windows

What Are the Disadvantages of an Open-Concept Floor Plan?

Despite the popularity of open-floor house plans, they have their drawbacks:

Open floor house plan

Considerations Before Embarking on Designing an Open-Concept Floor Plan

  1. Budget: When converting a home to an open-concept floor plan, budget for all costs, from removing walls and installing a structural beam if required to electrical adjustments, and possible shifts in plumbing and labor.
  2. Structural integrity: Converting a house to an open floor plan may require extensive structural renovations to remove unwanted walls. A structural engineer can identify load-bearing walls and determine if structural beams are needed to protect the home from potential collapse.
  3. Lifestyle needs: Prioritize needs, including unobstructed views and zones that reflect the family’s lifestyle needs.
  4. Building codes and regulations: After finalizing the layout, hire a contractor experienced in creating open-concept layouts. Count on your contractor to obtain necessary building permits and arrange inspections that must be completed at various stages of the project to ensure everything meets local building codes.

How to Design an Open Floor Plan?


Creating zones is key to functionality. Use RoomSketcher to place the kitchen, dining room and living room as if they were separate rooms. Architectural features like beams, half walls, staircases, flooring, windows, pillars, built-in bookcases and a fireplace can help establish zones, as can strategically placed furniture, area rugs, artwork, plants, folding screens and other accessories.

Statement light fixtures can also help create zones. Layer lighting sources to create focal points and just the right ambiance. Invest in a combination of lighting sources, such as task lighting, pendants, chandeliers, recessed lighting and lamps. Fixtures should complement but not compete with one another.

Open floor plan zoning

Using Multi-Functional Furniture

Open floor-plan homes are a blank canvas, and choosing the proper furniture might be intimidating. Too few pieces and the space may feel cold or cavernous; too many and it may feel overcrowded. Here are some things to consider when pondering various open-floor plan furniture layout ideas:

Open layout home

Color Coordination

Confused about how to paint a house with an open floor plan? Start with one color palette of three to five colors: one white or light color, one to two neutrals, and one to two supporting colors that relate to each other either because they belong to the same color family or have the same intensity or degree of brightness.

How do you transition paint colors in an open floor plan? Corners and transition areas like archways, variations in flooring, and changes in room dimensions are natural places to stop and start a paint color. Unify spaces. If painting the dining room blue and the family room taupe, for instance, add blue accents to the family room and taupe accents to the dining room. Transitional elements, including doors, trim, and ceiling, should be painted in the same color.

Open floor plan colors

Open-Concept Floor Plan FAQ

Create an Open Floor Plan with RoomSketcher

The RoomSketcher App can help you transform a closed layout into an open-concept floor plan. Discover helpful resources, including six simple steps to achieve the best furniture layout.

We are continuously updating the RoomSketcher App with new materials, furniture, and features that are sure to inspire!

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