Modern homebuyers have much to consider, but few design elements receive more attention than an open or closed floor plan. With an open layout, the major rooms in the home exist without walls between them; a living area, kitchen and dining room might inhabit a single, large space. In a traditional or closed plan, each room has its designated space enclosed with walls. While current trends veer toward open floor plans, they may not be right for every family. Keep reading to get a better idea about the benefits and pitfalls of each option.
Open floor plans can:
- Allow more room for furniture - With fewer walls, there should be plenty of space for additional seating and more arrangement options.
- Make the space feel bigger - Ideal for smaller houses, open layouts feel less restrictive, giving the illusion of more space.
- Promote interaction - Without walls separating rooms, someone in the kitchen can chat with family members in the living room, making personal interaction more attainable.
- Create beautiful views - With no walls blocking your sight line, the whole design of your home can be displayed. You can enjoy a morning cup of coffee while looking through a dining room window or see the living room from a perch in the loft.
- Enhance natural light - Nothing makes a home feel brighter than sunlight, and open layouts allow large windows to spread light throughout all the main rooms.
- Up the resale value - As the most popular choice of today's buyers, an open concept increases the chances of a quick, lucrative sale should the time come.
Even with these advantages, HGTV claims open floor plans can have negative effects, as well. For instance, intimate conversations can prove difficult with many people sharing a single space, and an untidy kitchen is on full display after a rousing dinner party. In addition, trying to create open space in a house originally-designed as closed concept can be a pricey, complicated undertaking.
A Closed Floor Plan
Most houses built before the 1990's utilized closed floor plans, with full or three-quarter walls separating the main rooms. This option has plenty of benefits, as a traditional layout can:
- Allow more decorating opportunities - If you like to display artwork or family photos, additional wall space gives you more options.
- Minimize noise - Walls and doors absorb sound, containing raucous commotion in a designated space.
- Enhance privacy - Sometimes you need personal space. Walls and doors can help.
- Save on energy costs - Smaller spaces heat and cool more easily than larger ones.
- Hide messy areas - Who wants to spend precious time cleaning the kitchen when guests are over? Fill the sink and forget about it with a separate kitchen and living space.
On the flip side, many buyers shun traditional closed plans (though a recent article in Market Watch cites mounting resistance), which could make resale more difficult.
With several things to consider when designing a floor plan and clear positives and negatives to both styles, the key lies in making the best use of available space in a way that complements your lifestyle.