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Almost everybody talks about an open concept nowadays. If you flip to any architectural TV show, they just love knocking those walls down to get an interesting visual continuity in the residential home floor plan. Do you want to know more about it? Then, read on.
What Exactly is the Open Floor Plan?
Whenever a residential architectural project mentions a phrase like ‘open floor plan’, it refers to a home plan where traditionally separated functional spaces are combined to create a larger area by removing the walls or doors.
Since the 1990s, the open concept has proven to be the major trend in residential architectural construction. This has also been a major modification in many remodeling projects where architect prefers combining dining room and living room, kitchen and dining room, or in some cases all three of them to make a common living space.
Many must wonder that if we combine the kitchen, living room and dining room, then how would we differentiate the specific spaces in the house. It isn’t that hard as these spaces can be visually separated by decorating them with visual markers like tables or a kitchen slab. Such markers help in understanding where the one space area ends, and the other starts based on the functionalities of the marker furnishing.
This type of plan is quite effective among smaller houses because it widens the congested rooms into a bigger area.
In most designs, open floor plans are structured with heavy-duty beams carrying the floor above. However, the interior pillars and half-walls are also commonly involved in the design choices to maintain the integrity of the home plan and also work as visual markers.
Is There Any Specified Formula for Creating an Open Floor Plan?
Open floor plans do not mean that the design would have all the rooms connected to each other, nor it supports the ‘no barrier at all’ in the open space. So, the simple formula is that it’s only applied to the common areas in the house.
That means the areas like powder rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, and home offices aren’t part of the open space. Majority of the times, the open floor plans juggle the combination of the dining room, kitchen and the living room.
- Dining room and living room: This will cover the shared area which will be divided with the visual elements like a handrail, a short set of stairs or maybe two different paint colours.
- Kitchen and dining room: In this combination, the kitchen peninsula or island design mostly act as a prominent marker between the two areas.
- Kitchen-dining room-living room: This becomes quite interesting and spacious because all three areas are connected to make a great room (mostly with the vaulted ceiling).
How Did the “Open Floor Plans” Trend Start?
Open plan concept isn’t so old school in the residential home design than it is considered. Before the world war II, the houses used a basic floorplan strategy where the hallway was kind of an artery in the house leading to the functional rooms located in a branch design. In such plans, the kitchen was mostly designed at the back because it was treated more like a service area and not as a social place of the house. The dining room was a formal area with its own doors and walls. The living area was treated as an entertainment space for the family time. Until the mid-19th century, the trend was to designate each space based on the functionality.
Around the 1960s, the industry progressed to get the improved home building technology where homebuilders appreciated and welcomed the open floor strategy. This seemed like the best strategy to the architects because it was economically building the better living experience for the smaller spaces and hence, more people could afford it. The builders also supported the design because the more advanced and stronger structural beams were supporting the walls.
In today’s digital time, most people love this concept because it increases the chances of connecting with the family members while they are involved in daily chores. For instance, parents can catch up with their children even in the busy schedule while cooking or working and children can connect with their parents while studying in the living room. It is a human-friendly and pocket-friendly plan.
Pros of Open Floor Plans
- Bigger Space: You end up having the bigger space when the floor isn’t cut into sections or have walls around it. When there is nothing which is visually sectioning the house into half or more, you naturally see a larger space.
- Natural Light: More space allows natural light throughout the open floor plan residential projects, whereas the close floor plan is quite darker and need more of artificial lighting. It’s definitely a benefit because sunlight fills up the entire house making it brighter and ventilated place to live in.
- Better Social Life: With no walls, you can communicate better with each other.
- Help in Increasing the Real Estate Value: The open floor plan is quite desirable and increases the demand among potential buyers.
- Flexibility: It is easy to renovate and reconfigure the furnishings and accessories to create change in design or look of the house.
- Multifunctional: Open floor plan gives you a bigger area which could be any room based on what you want such as a recreational room, home office, family room or an entertainment area.
Cons of Open Floor Plans
- Expensive to Cool or Heat the Open Space: Bigger rooms with no walls or doors consume more energy in comparison to the traditional floor plans. In traditional floor plans, you can utilize energy in the specific areas according to the usage, whereas you need to heat or cool the entire space in the open concept.
- Expensive Construction Cost: Open plans rely on the laminated or steel beams to support the structure which turns out to be a costlier investment.
- Noisy Affair: Open homes are very noisy because of no walls to stop the noise.
- No Privacy: Open floor plans are social plans and they aren’t good for the audience who require privacy.
If you think that open floor plan suits your style and you want to knock those walls down, you should start by looking for an experienced contractor and an architect to create your dream house.
BluEntCAD is an architectural rendering service provider catering across North America. We have a strong team of the architects, designers, and drafters who can create the industry best renderings for your open floor plans. If you are looking forward to this, please contact us here.
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