The Pros and Cons of Open Plan Living

Open plan living spaceArchitectural and interior design tastes change immeasurably over time. Houses built before the turn of the last century, for instance, were typically designed with lots of separate rooms. That reflected the cultural and social preferences of the time and the fact that the number of rooms you had in your house was long seen as a measure of your status.

In the last few decades, however, there has been a significant change in attitude, preference and as a result, in design. Houses began to become far more open plan, to reflect peoples’ more family and entertainment focussed lifestyles. Whether that trend toward the open plan will continue, though, is anybody’s guess but one way to draw an opinion is by looking at the pros and cons of open plan living.

The Pros of Open Plan Living

As we mentioned above, part of the reason for the rising popularity of open plan living was because it is more suitable for a busy, modern lifestyle. Even if members of a family are spread around a home using different electronic devices and generally living their own individual lives, open plan designs still create a better feeling of togetherness and connectivity.

In a similar vein, open plan homes allow spaces to be more multi-purpose and this also suits the higher paced, more complicated style of modern life. An open plan home, for instance, could mean that someone cooking a meal in the kitchen can still keep an eye on their TV or stay connected with any relatives or friends watching it.

Another crucial advantage of open plan living, is that intelligent open plan design can make even the smallest areas seem larger. Removing dividing walls, after all, gives a better feeling of space and this is vital at a time when house prices mean that most people have to purchase smaller homes than they would ever have had to in the past.

Finally, more open floor plans in properties can also have a profound positive effect on the overall light of a home. Natural light from windows, French doors or skylights can better reach all areas of the home and dead spaces or dark corners are therefore avoided.

The Cons of Open Plan Living

As with all architectural choices, there are also some downsides to choosing an open plan style for a property.

Firstly, having a more open style means that there are larger spaces in the home which need to be heated so that they can be comfortably lived in. Where before you might be able to close a door and simply heat one room, therefore, open plan living can make life a little more difficult – and potentially expensive.

Removing walls and partitions from any home’s design, too, can have a number of other day-to-day impacts that you perhaps wouldn’t immediately think of. Cooking smells, for instance, tend to permeate living areas where they might previously have been contained to the kitchen and noise, too, travels more easily. What’s more, the drive toward togetherness which open plan living represents does unavoidably also lead to a diminished amount of privacy within a property.

It is worth mentioning as a final point, too, that converting a traditional property to a more open plan style can be very tricky and expensive. The removal of walls, after all, is never a simple undertaking and it can be tough to definitively ascertain which walls in any home are load-bearing and therefore irremovable.