The concept of open floor plans is basically having large open spaces and doing away with small enclosed areas. Most of these plans combine the living, dining, and kitchen areas into one common hall, and connect to other smaller rooms. An open floor plan helps you get the most out of your living space while offering an appealing layout. It makes smallest of the space look bigger, airy, and full of light. Tearing off walls allows you more space to move around.
Some people feel that living rooms are not used optimally, and hence, combining kitchen and living room gives more space. Earlier on, even small square footages were used for building compartmentalized homes, but gradually people’s mindset started changing and they started opting for one big living area in the same square footage size. Since an additional area always comes with a cost and becomes difficult to acquire, open concept started becoming a perfect solution.
Architects and interior designers find open floor plans economical, convenient, and beneficial. High degree of art and science gives a stylish touch to such plans. They design rooms in such a way that the space is used by planning for plenty of seating arrangements, built-in shelves, and storage compartments.
Wooden furniture is the best economical way to make such plans attractive. From the construction point of view, heavy-duty beams carry the weight of the floor, not the walls. With the advancement in technology, the changes in the structural materials have made open floor plans stronger and easier to construct. Microllam LVL is highly used in construction since it can carry heavy loads and all types of beams.
Open floor plans don’t mean that there is no space for privacy, i.e. no barriers at all between two different rooms. The barriers are mostly in the form of stairs, glass, kitchen island (if you want to divide the kitchen and dining area), painting of two different colors, etc. Most of the times, the rooms are connected with proper interiors.
Advantages of Open Floor Plans
Open floor plans offer a number of benefits; the most prominent among them are as follows:
Social meet and time: Open layouts make it easier to have more time with your friends and family. As a host, you will find it easier to entertain your guests; you can be with them while still working in the kitchen or doing some other household chore. You don’t have to switch rooms for different functions. Conversations become easier.
Within the family, even though each member is busy doing his or her work, there is a feeling of togetherness since everyone is present in the same area. For example, mom may be cooking in the open kitchen, kids playing or studying in the living area, and dad reading a novel or newspaper, but still all would be together.
Excellent flow from room to room without any barriers like doors or walls maximizes space for kids playing around. It gives a family-friendly experience with informal gatherings and get-togethers most often.
It’s best for the one who has the culinary responsibility of the house since it doesn’t makes him or her feel isolated from rest of the family. It helps the person join the conversation while working in the kitchen.
Multifunctional: They are perfect for casual family living because they provide easy access to everyone while doing household chores and office work. They are fun to live in since they are multifunctional. The same area can be used as home as well as a small office.
Monitoring kids and teenagers while working: You can look after the kids while cooking and managing other household duties, while kids play in the same area. You do not have to make extra efforts to know the whereabouts of your kids. It helps in creating a friendly bond between the kids and teenagers as they don’t feel left out and alone.
Natural light and airy room: The tearing off of walls and integration of kitchen and living rooms allows sunlight to spread all over the home, making the rooms brighter and airy.
Good resale value: An open floor home has good resale value since it’s trendy and in demand. One-time investment in constructing and remodeling open floor plans by using LVL beams is always profitable than opting for constructing load bearing walls.
Low electricity cost: Having a single open space reduces the electricity cost. You don’t need more number of light fittings and ceiling fans. The well ventilated space also contributes in energy savings since you don’t need to run air conditioners and fans for a longer time.
Ideas for a Stylish and Convenient Open Floor Plan
People living in conventional homes with separate rooms may often find it difficult to visualize an open floor plan without the accompanying challenges. There indeed are some design challenges but most of them have been overcome with the advancement in construction and interior design technology. Here are some ideas to make an open area elegant, fashionable, and functional.
Partitioning of rooms: A virtual room partitioner adds privacy to the room while avoiding congestion. A greater traffic flow is allowed in the room since there are no doors to open and close. You can choose different colors and patterns to define one or more areas of functions. Use of decorative and transparent glass and curtains, suspended chains, and bead dividers with simple but stylish modern look helps in giving an eye-catching appeal to the room.
You can also use book shelves as walls to divide living room and kitchen. Decorating ceiling is one of the ways to define the areas. For example, ceiling in the kitchen area can be kept white whereas for living area some design can be applied.
High ceiling and large windows: The high ceiling and large windows gives a full and big room feeling to a smaller area home. Floor to ceiling windows give an altogether new look and redecorate the home. Such setup is most likely to give good return on investment at the time of selling the property. High ceiling provides lot of unused space where shelves or creative storage can be made. Large walls should not be kept empty to make complete use of the space.
Large ceiling fan: One large ceiling fan does the work for all the rooms. Installing a ceiling fan depends on the area of the room. Determining the size of the fan depends upon the square feet area of the room. Large ceiling fans like these https://www.modernfanoutlet.com/fan-styles/large-ceiling-fans.html are normally recommended for open floor concepts where the square feet area is more than 400.
Instead of buying two smaller ceiling fans, it’s always recommended to go for a large ceiling fan with proper mounting based upon your ceiling height and the length of fan blades. In the case of a high ceiling, better air flow is required for proper air circulation, for which large fans should be installed with appropriate downrod length.
Furniture: For large areas, create a balanced look by placing larger furniture like sofas and dining tables. Mid-century compact wood designs give a modern touch while maintaining the free feel of the room. Place the dining chairs facing back to the front of the sofa that is facing the entire room to give an open and airy feel. When a sofa is floating in the center of the room, place a console table at the back for storing and placing things. Round tables are recommended for smaller area open floor plans.
Furniture should be prepared and set up by taking into account your home’s traffic flow. A dining table defines the eating zone, a kitchen top or island defines where a kitchen starts or ends and a sofa clearly defines the sitting area of the house.
Painting: Paint your house in such a way that it differentiates and defines the spaces in your home. Use colors in conjunction with ceiling and wall applications. Contrast colors help in defining zones with different functions. Also applying or keeping same color code throughout the house forms a unified whole body giving a warm and welcoming appearance.
Placing of rug: Placing a rug will protect the floor and visually ground the space. It defines the function of each area.
Flooring: Epoxy stone flooring or chip flooring is a low maintenance aggregate flooring covered with small stones or chips and an epoxy sealant. For open floor plans, this is the best option in terms of durability. It makes the open areas look larger. It has very low maintenance cost. It gives many options for designing the floor. Strand woven bamboo flooring works best in kitchen areas because of its hardness.
Proper lighting: Proper lighting is very important when you have a larger area to live in. It gives warm and welcoming feeling.
Vertical layers for kids: This is one of the best ways to keep the kids area separate. Divide the sleeping zone vertically instead of horizontally to efficiently use the space.
Creating of borders: Items like bookshelves and console tables act as statement pieces while separating different sections of the room. They provide storage space and also decorate the space.
While designing an open floor plan, you should try to overcome the disadvantages specific to your circumstances. For example, in families comprising different age and work group, different rooms are preferred over one huge space. This can be overcome by making adjustments for cozy corners and vertical sleeping arrangement.
Similarly, if you are fond of decorating walls with artwork, you may find open spaces with no walls a discouragement. You can overcome this by placing curtains and making artwork on it.