Homes with open floor plans might have been growing in popularity over the last several years, but is the coronavirus pandemic reversing that trend? Buyers are realizing that there are some drawbacks to having interior wide-open spaces with no separation.
But does that mean open floor plans are on their way out? Not necessarily.
We’ve analyzed open floor plans, spoken with real estate brokers, architects, and designers to understand everything about open floor plans, and have curated expert insights on layouts, the history, the benefits and drawbacks, how to make an open floor plan work for you and how to mimic some of the benefits of an open floor plan if you don’t have one.
What do open floor plan homes look like?
Homes with open floor plans feature open spaces where dining, kitchen, and living areas flow seamlessly from one space to the next, without walls or doors blocking the light or flow of people.
Instead of using load-bearing walls to carry the weight of the roof or floors above, architects and builders use heavy-duty beams.
A picture is worth a thousand words so let’s look at some examples of open floor plans from some popular builders.
This floor plan is very open while still providing parents the ability to retreat to their own space on the main level, an increasingly popular request with buyers. There is lots of natural light from the many windows, and the flex room offers options — home office, music room, dining room, play room, and so on.
How to make an open floor plan work for you
An open floor plan home gives you a lot of control over how you delineate your difference spaces, but that means you have some planning to do to ensure your “rooms” are structured to meet your needs.
Use furniture to delineate which “room” is where. You can do this by breaking up a large space with a sofa or other large furniture, or you can group matching furniture together to designate unique areas. You can also use rugs to help indicate spatial boundaries between “rooms” in your open space.
Leverage “seating zones” in your living/sitting area to encourage more privacy or quiet conversations. A group of sofas clustered together creates the feeling of a living room or a nook without the need for walls.
Use lighting to further define different areas. This can be as simple as strategic lamp placement to control which areas are lit, or can be accomplished by changing the type of lighting in different parts of your home. You could opt for brighter lights in the dining area, and softer, natural light in the living room.
Use architectural details to create separations. Beams and molding are obvious and easy ways to visually define areas, and you could change ceiling heights or add window alcoves to further delineate between spaces.
Keep an aesthetic flow throughout the area. Utilize matching furniture and decor color or style to create separation, but be careful your various “rooms” don’t clash.
Don’t close up an open floor plan. Keep the views and lines of sight open from space to space, so that every space benefits from the light and airflow. If you need a bit more privacy, half-screens can create visual divisions between areas without blocking the line of sight.
Dellavecchia advises homeowners with open floor plans to decorate wisely, suggesting “Color scheme is real important on open floor plans, especially in a smaller house — and keep the colors in the house lighter and neutral. A mixed decor of different textures is something a lot of people like. Accent colors offer contrast — the grays, the whites and the blacks intermixed with some other wood textures and wood tones, like hardwood floors.”
Everything has benefits and drawbacks, and open-floor-plan homes are no exception. Both are worth considering carefully.
Be smart about how you use your square footage. You can reduce the space in the main bedrooms of the home and wall additional space off to create offices, libraries, sitting rooms, and whatever else you need. Most people don’t spend that much time in their bedrooms, so converting that floor space to another room can make your home feel bigger.
Working with an experienced remodeling company who understands your needs and priorities will ensure you get your dream home layout, open floor plan or not. The first step is talking to one about the type of home and floor plan that will best meet your needs; even if an open floor plan isn’t perfect for you, the right agent can help you determine how to change up an open-floor-plan home until it is perfect for you.
Berceli NJ Marketing team.