The Ins And Outs of Open Concept Homes

Decoration and Design
Additions and Remodels
Architecture
By Mateos Glen Hayes September 08, 2021

Open concept layouts have been all the rage in recent years, and it isn’t hard to see why. They’re the perfect solution for anyone that wants an airier space in their home. An open floor plan tears down partition walls and gives you one big interconnected space as the nucleus of your home. The idea of open concept homes was born in the 1950s and was widely adopted by office buildings throughout the country. By the 1990s it began to surge in popularity in residential areas and became very common in new home construction and renovation projects

Today, open floor plans are a prized feature and most homebuyers prefer homes that have them. The open floor plan design philosophy allows for a level of openness and seamlessness that you just can’t get in a “traditional” house.  

What Is An Open Concept Floor Plan? 

Put simply, an open floor plan is a design element that involves connecting two or more rooms into one common space. For example, instead of having a kitchen, dining room, and living room that are separated by partition walls, an open concept home might have all these rooms combined into one common area. Private spaces such as bedrooms, powder rooms, and home offices are still segregated by walls, but social areas are opened up.

The Beautiful Concept Behind the Open Concept Design

The Beautiful Concept Behind the Open Concept Design

This allows for a much more open and casual space. Young families find this layout especially attractive because it allows for multitasking. You can cook in the kitchen and watch your kids as they play in an open concept living room at the same time since your line of sight isn’t blocked. An open floor space also makes it possible to take full advantage of interior space, an especially useful benefit in smaller homes. 

Pros of An Open Floor Concept

There are several benefits that make the open concept home quite an appealing prospect. 

Flexibility

An open floor plan is much more flexible when it comes to layouts. It’s easy to rearrange furniture and fixtures to suit your tastes and needs because you have a big open space to work with. This means you don’t have to settle for one layout for years on end. Your home interior aesthetic is therefore far more malleable. You can have your furniture arranged in a modern-minimalist Scandi layout one year, and then change it to a Feng Shui layout the next. 

Making Your Home Multifunctional with Multiple Zones In One

Making Your Home Multifunctional with Multiple Zones In One

Plus, this flexibility also means that each space can have more than one purpose. One area can be a dining room, recreation room, and entertainment space all in one, depending on the time of day or day of the week. It all depends on your aesthetic tastes and what your practical needs are for each room.  

Better Traffic Flow

Because everything is open, foot traffic can flow freely and organically. There’s no need to be confined to walking in rigid diagonal lines because the space is wide open. There are no walls and no doors blocking the way, and this allows traffic flow to be more logical and efficient. 

That may seem like a small thing, but the psychological benefits of having greater freedom of movement cannot be underestimated. A space that is cramped is bound to make you stress out in the long run, but an open concept floor plan will give you plenty of breathing space. This also allows for a more casual atmosphere, which is perfect for engendering more intimate social interactions. 

Open Views 

With an abundance of natural light permeating the space, the open concept home looks and feels far airier than your average home. You no longer have to put up with dingy dark rooms that have no windows or become frustrated because of how little space you have to work with when laying out your furniture. Likewise, you no longer have to worry because a wall obstructs your view of your kids playing outside.  

Keep An Eye On Everything and Everyone With An Open Concept Setup

Keep An Eye On Everything and Everyone With An Open Concept Setup

Better Safety 

Safety is an inherent benefit in open floor plans that cannot be overstated. Because you’re dealing with one big open space, that means you can keep an eye on kids and Fido to make sure they aren’t causing trouble. It also means that you’ll be able to quickly spot emergencies such as fire, water leaks, or any other issue that might occur in your house. This is critical because the sooner you spot these problems and take action, the sooner you can resolve them and minimize damage.  

Cons of A Seamless Living Space

Although hard to believe, there are a few downsides to the open concept floor plan that are worth taking into account. 

Higher Energy Bills

Heating and cooling require a bit more energy consumption in an open concept house owing to its high ceilings and large rooms. This is especially true if those rooms have large windows, as these can be real energy drains — even for an efficient HVAC system. Because there are no walls to divide the space up, the entire room has to be heated at once, and that takes time and energy.  

Create A System That Will Keep Your Open Spaces Clean

Create A System That Will Keep Your Open Spaces Clean

Privacy and Tidiness 

Unobstructed openness can be a double-edged sword, and so a common room that allows for easy social interaction also makes privacy harder to come by. Outside of the small rooms which are divided by walls, most of the space in an open concept home doesn’t offer much in the way of privacy for residents. Also, open floor layouts are prone to increased clutter since it is harder to keep things organized due to the lack of divided spaces. Without diligent tidying up an open floor plan can easily become overwhelmed with clutter.  But it’s nothing some professional organization techniques can’t tackle. 

Defining Features of the Open Floor Plan

There are some distinct features that make up the iconic open floor plan design. 

Furniture Delineates Space 

Instead of using partitions, furniture and fixtures are used to divide and define the space in an open concept house. Bookshelves or sofas can provide a line to show where the kitchen “zone” ends and the living room “zone” begins. Alternatively, that same sofa can be moved up against the wall so it isn’t a barrier.

Use Your Furniture To Create Zones

Use Your Furniture To Create Zones

A coffee table can serve as an open concept room’s focal point. Everything is organized to help with the natural flow of the space so that sunlight, foot traffic, and even the flow of conversation can be organic and free. Wall decor is another element that can be used to define or “wall off” zones in the open concept floor plan. A subtle change in accenting or wall colors can provide subtle cues which help to separate zones based on their purposes. 

Seamless Flow 

Of course, the open concept house is best known for its seamless flow. Everything in a common space is designed to be boundless. Because the only things delineating the space are aesthetics and furniture, the open floor plan design is much more versatile and far more capable of accommodating change than a traditional layout with rigid rooms. 

Minimalism 

This is a key aspect of a successful open layout home. Because an open concept plan tends to become cluttered, it must be decluttered in advance so that it remains an open space. This helps to preserve the original intended effect of the design whilst also maximizing the amount of “open” space. So, it is no surprise then that the open floor layout is often paired with minimalist design styles such as Scandi, Japandi, or modernist aesthetics, as these really help to emphasize the openness and seamlessness of the space.

Why Minimalist Design Is An Organic Pairing for The Open Concept Layout

Why Minimalist Design Is An Organic Pairing for The Open Concept Layout

Symmetry

Symmetry is a common feature in open concept homes for an important reason: it makes assembling the interior design of each room much easier. A symmetrical open floor plan design is much easier to shoehorn a furniture layout into because it is far easier to find a strong focal point that can act as the centerpiece for the rest of the interior.  

Rugs

Aside from protecting your hardwood floors from getting scratched, area rugs can also be quite helpful for delineating areas in an open concept layout. They are an excellent way of separating things visually since unlike subtle differences in wall paint color a rug is much easier to notice. Area rugs also help to perpetuate symmetry in the layout by giving you a frame of reference for placing furniture and fixtures. Plus they’re just a really easy way to spice up the open space with color and patterns, and that’s crucial in a minimalist space so that things don’t end up looking sterile. 

Spice Up The Space With A Colorful And Patterned Rug

Spice Up The Space With A Colorful And Patterned Rug

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes