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The Pros and Cons of an Open Floor Plan: What You Need to Know

Open floor plans were once all the rage among home designers, but has the last couple of years changed this trend forever?

Blog | Floor Plans
Open floor plan
Sam Applegate

While there are still stand-out benefits in open floor plan design, you also need to consider the practical aspects of knocking down those walls and creating one large open space.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the history of the open floor plan, the advantages and disadvantages, possible configurations, and some examples to spark your creativity.

But first, let’s define exactly what an open floor plan is.

What Is an Open Floor Plan?

An open floor plan (also known as open plan or open concept) is a design approach that embraces large open spaces and minimizes the use of dividing walls and enclosed rooms.

It’s the opposite of a traditional or standard floor plan, where individual rooms are separated using doors and connected with corridors.

Homes with open plan layouts are made possible using heavy-duty beams, steel frames, pillars, arches, and half-walls. These construction techniques create large open spaces while also ensuring the structural integrity of the building.

Open floor plan home

History of the Open Floor Plan

The idea of open-plan living first became popular in the post-war years. As families with more children increased, formality gave way to a more casual living style. The 1950s brought a less formal, more relaxed social ideal that homeowners embraced. Family bonding, socializing, and entertaining began taking priority over privacy and segregation.

Innovation in central heating systems and insulation technology made them more effective. It was no longer essential to have closed-off spaces to trap heat from stoves or fireplaces.

Builders and designers also realized they could save money by squeezing the functionality of a standard home into fewer square feet. Improved building materials and techniques made open floor plan homes easier and faster to build than ever.

2D open floor plan

Advantages of Open Floor Plans

Here are the main advantages of living in an open-plan house:

Disadvantages of Open Floor Plans

Open floor plan design has the following drawbacks:

Open Floor Plan Configurations

When it comes to open-plan configurations, there are several options you can choose from, some more common than others.

Kitchen, living, and dining

This is one of the most popular open-plan configurations. Joining these three communal areas is perfect for dinner parties, allowing you to cook while entertaining guests.

It allows family members or party guests to retire to the sofa after dining and still remain part of the conversation.

home with open floor plan

Kitchen and dining

If you prefer to keep the lounge area separate, connecting just the kitchen and dining room is another open-plan option. This gives you the advantage of blocking out the noise and smells of food prep from the rest of your home. Often an island or peninsula creates a delineation between the kitchen and dining area.

open sppace between kitchen and dining

Kitchen, living, dining, and bedroom

For a complete open floor plan home, why not combine everything but the bathroom? This configuration maximizes the floor space of small studio apartments and is perfect for individuals or couples.

You can use a temporary divider for your bedroom to maintain some privacy. Bear in mind this will do little to block late-night TV noise. If living with a partner, you’ll need to synchronize your routine or look for alternative solutions like headphones or earplugs.

Studio apartment with open living space

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Open Floor Plan Examples

Here are some beautiful examples of open-floor-plan homes.

Open space home design
High ceilings, exposed beams, and large windows provide a bright, welcoming space that connects with the outdoors.
Tiny home with open layout
The use of a mezzanine floor creates extra space. The neutral decor adds to a clean, peaceful, and relaxing aura.
Open kitchen-living space
A textured ceiling and a strategically placed rug help break the area into different zones.

Design Your Open Floor Plan With RoomSketcher

If you’re thinking of knocking down some walls to take advantage of open-concept living, you’ll first need to plan your project.

And whether you’re using a professional architect or just considering different ideas, our design app can help.

RoomSketcher lets you draw detailed 2D floor plans with ease. You can even place furniture, reposition windows, and doors, or generate hi-resolution 3D images of your ideas.

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