At Smash.to, we have become expert interior stylists, and we know interior design has always been a moving target, with trends coming and going almost as readily as in the fashion industry. That can make it a little hard to keep up with things, let alone why a particular trend is hot. For many, open floor plans fall under this umbrella.
In this post, we’re going to highlight several (eight, to be exact) reasons homeowners are choosing to be more open with their homes.
More Room to Live!
While we can all appreciate the need to have a little privacy from time to time, there’s no denying that walls and doors take up space. And we’re not just talking about the thickness of a wall, but the way they divide larger spaces up into less useable ones.
If you have two smaller rooms, you are limited on things like the size of furniture you can have without making the room too claustrophobic. If those two rooms were one open space, your options for furniture expand hugely.
Of course, you don’t need to put larger furniture in that space—a minimalist approach is very popular these days, and having plenty of room to move around is also desirable. Especially with so many adopting pastimes like yoga, exercise biking, and virtual reality gaming.
One of the more difficult aspects of making a home feel welcoming is getting enough natural light in. Sure, it’s possible to flood a room with artificial lighting, but it’s never as pleasant as having sunlight streaming in from outside.
The more rooms you have in a space, the more windows you need to get a respectable amount of natural light inside. Most layouts will ensure there is at least one window per room in most cases, but with an open floor plan, any given area will benefit from natural light from multiple sources.
All windows that open into that space will deliver natural light, but there will also be light coming from other windows in other parts of the house. This gives the overall area a much brighter, more natural feel.
When it comes to problems in the home that are often overlooked but extremely serious, damp is probably up there amongst the worst of them. Fortunately, it’s also a relatively easy problem to prevent (assuming you don’t already have it).
In most cases, simply cracking a few windows will create enough airflow to keep damp from taking hold in those awkward spots beside sofas and down the back of cabinets. And, if you have an open plan home, there are far more ways for air to flow around your home and less of a need to make a conscious effort to open windows occasionally since any open window or vent will create airflow for a much greater area than a home with several closed-off rooms.
We mentioned above that the generous space of an open-plan layout allows for far more flexibility with things like arranging your furniture, but it also creates a much greater sense of space.
There aren’t many people that like to feel confined when they are relaxing, and open plan layouts help avoid exactly that. Even relatively small homes will feel considerably more spacious if the rooms are opened out. In reality, you probably won’t be gaining much in the way of square footage, but it will feel like more.
Better Energy Efficiency
In a home with lots of closed-off rooms, the environmental systems are essentially working as many individual components. This is not only inefficient, it’s essentially a broken method. Most homes will only have one heating source (a boiler) powering the heating elements (radiators) in each room. Finer control can be achieved with per-radiator thermostats, but they are all still tied to that one source.
This is still true for an open plan home, of course, but now that one heating source handles fewer individual areas. And, because the home will still have several radiators dotted around the open-plan layout, the heating will be more effective.
You also avoid the problem of struggling to find a suitable location for your thermostat since you will have the entire open-plan area to choose from.
Easier to Entertain
If you’re the kind of host who throws occasional parties—or just has friends round for a casual gathering—an open-plan layout makes it considerably easier to do so.
With a traditional layout—especially if that layout is in a small home—you may find it hard to get everyone comfortably into a single space. The alternative is to have people spread out across different rooms, which doesn’t exactly lend itself well to the sociable aspect of entertaining guests.
This problem goes away with an open-plan layout. The same property that would have restricted you to having a maximum of four or five guests could comfortably accommodate ten or more!
Bring the Kitchen to the Forefront
It is often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and with good reason.
We typically find that most of our socializing happens in the functional kitchen, whether it is with guests or the people we live with. We may spend hours watching TV with our loved ones in the living room, but the kitchen is generally where the talking happens.
Most open-plan layouts will include the kitchen area, making this part of your home more accessible than it was before and, as a natural result, encouraging more social behaviour.
A More Modern Feel
The open-plan layout is an unmistakably modern look. And, while some people might prefer something a little more antique, those who like the modern feel will love this kind of design.
Another aspect of open-plan and modern design is the incorporation of the outside inside. This can come in the form of large windows or bifold doors.
Anything to blur the lines a little between the interior and exterior of the home.
Open-plan layouts may not be something you can get on a whim like a coat of paint—especially if you need to remove structural walls—but the benefits are substantial, both in terms of functional benefits and in the appearance and feel of the home.