Should I Invest In An Open Concept Floor Plan?
Often, older homes are designed around small rooms with doors and walls that keep each space separate and private. While this makes sense for rooms like bedrooms, guest rooms and bathrooms, modern homeowners often prefer open spaces in common areas like the living room and dining room.
Open concept floor plans have become the preferred home layout for homeowners making their forever home.
But what about those older homes, with all their walls and doorways? For these properties, an open concept can still be achieved through creative remodeling and with help from a licensed, experienced contractor.
Renovating for an open concept can increase your home's value and optimize your space for house parties and reunions. Knowing the benefits of an open concept floor plan, as well as the downsides, can help you decide whether a renovation that opens up your space would be right for your home.
This article is going to define what an open concept floor plan is as well as the benefits and downsides for having an open concept in your home
What Is An Open Concept Floor Plan?
An open concept floor plan typically consist of a kitchen, dining room and living room that run together into one large area. In an open concept space, changes in flooring or strategic placement of furniture can help distinguish between one room and another. Screens, fixtures and even changes in wall paint or lighting also help you tell where one room begins and another room ends - if that is important to you.
For most homeowners, it doesn't really matter where the boundaries are between rooms. In fact, this the point of an open concept: all spaces run together, allowing people in the house to spend time together as well. Whether you're lounging in the living room or sitting at the raised countertop at the kitchen island, you're with the others in your home.
What Are the Benefits of an Open Concept Floor Plan?
So, why is an open concept type of renovation so popular? Homeowners who make this kind of renovation often do so for a variety of reasons.
1. Simple Construction Process (Most of the Time)
Most homeowners have concerns at the start of their home improvement project that removing a wall (or several walls) will be expensive and time consuming. In reality, removing a wall from your home may be much easier than you imagine.
Most of the time, the walls that need to be removed are not load bearing, or if they are load bearing, removal might not be as expensive as you might think. Though this is not the type of renovation that homeowners should attempt to do on their own, for an experienced contractor, removing walls is often not difficult or terribly costly.
2. Great for Entertaining and Spending Time Together
One of the most common reasons that homeowners choose to open up their floor space is because they want to make their house better for entertaining. The bigger the room, the more guests can interact with each other, and spend time enjoying each other's company.
Even when you're not entertaining, open concept floor plans allow you and members of your family to spend time together even when you're in separate rooms, working on separate activities. The layout allows you to keep tabs on your children and other family members while you go about your day.
3. Increase Your Home's Value
Open concept floor plans are highly desirable to many home buyers, so they'll often pay more for a home that has this type of layout compared to a house that does not. While most homeowners would not choose to make this type of renovation just to increase their home's value, it can make a difference.
4. Convenience For Homeowners
There are many things about open floor plans that are convenient. Moving furniture is easier in bigger, open spaces. Open floor plans can be more ADA compliant, as people with wheelchairs have an easier time getting around in these kind of homes. If you're hoping to age in place in your home, an open floor plan may be right for you.
What Are the Downsides of an Open Concept Floor Plan?
Not everyone wants an open concept floor plan. Before you march into this type of home repair, do your homework and give thought to your true home remodeling goals.
1. Removing Load Bearing Walls Can Be Costly
While we already stated that most of the time, removing a few walls is not a big deal, it can be expensive depending on the layout and structure of your house. To find out, get bids from experienced, qualified, licensed contractors.
2. Extra Noise
Sometimes the greatest strength of an open concept layouts is also its greatest weakness. Some homeowners dislike open concepts for the same reasons other homeowners love them. Putting everyone together in the same room all the time means lack of privacy, inability to control noise and inability to do your own thing in your house.
3. Lack of Privacy
While some families can easily spend all their time together, other families need their space. You can solve this problem by opening up some spaces and not others, or by adding on an additional space for privacy, like a family room away from the open living room. Either way, you may be able to make an open concept work for you, but you'll need help from a contractor who can make suggestions and also provide bids for the ideas you're most heavily considering.
Choose Your Home Contractor Carefully
Aligning yourself with a professional contractor at the start of your project is the best way to ensure that your open concept remodel is done properly and safely. Removal of a load bearing wall can only be done by a qualified, professional remodeling company.
It's vitally important to choose the right contractor for this project. For more resources and help with the contractor vetting process, download the Litchfield Builders free guide How to Choose a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor.
About Kevin Ahern
Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.