While there are many benefits to open spaces, there are important issues to consider before you give the approval to remove walls in your home. If you dream about how big your kitchen could be if you took down the wall between it and your family room or how great it would be to have a large, open area to entertain guests, you should take the time to answer these questions to find out if this floor plan is a wise choice for you and how you live.
1. Will I have a quiet place to work?
If you work from home occasionally, often or operate a home-based business, you will need to consider how you incorporate an office, nook or suitable place for you to work within this floor plan. Families should also consider where their children will do their homework.
One of the benefits of an open concept layout is that it is relatively simple to integrate different types of spaces into the design. You can definitely have an office nook or a desk in an open layout, but you need to decide if you will be able to concentrate on work in this new environment, make (and focus on) important phone calls and if noises will be too distracting for you.
2. Will you be comfortable with more spaces on display at all times?
Some people are comfortable with seeing children’s toys or waiting until after dinner to clean up a meal. However, this is not the case for everyone; for some people, not being able to get away from a mess by closing a door may be frustrating or stressful.
How you store and organize your belongings is something that you may need to change in an open layout. Do you have one area in your home that you like to keep private? For example, if you place items that you are saving for later or do not have time to deal with in an area that others cannot see, you may need to invest in a storage solution or reconsider if an open layout is the best choice for you.
3. How will this layout change may kitchen?
While open layouts can be conducive to entertaining, they also present a challenge when you need to go into the kitchen to complete or clean up after a meal. In an open layout, your guests will see everything you’re doing, and you will have to decide if you are comfortable with taking some time to tidy the kitchen after a meal (to maintain a clean space) or if you will leave the kitchen as is to spend valuable time with your guests.
Besides entertaining, it is important to consider how your kitchen will function and operate on a daily basis. Through your design choices, you can integrate visual separation into the space. For example, you can choose an island with a waterfall cabinet, place storage on one wall or use the same cabinet faces on the front of your appliances for a cohesive look.
4. How will I deal with the noise in an open concept layout?
One of the benefits of having an open layout for families is that parents can keep an eye on what their children are doing or watching. However, it may be noisier than they anticipated. Noises tend to sound louder because they are amplified in open spaces.
If you need a quiet place to concentrate on your main floor, you may consider adding one room with a door for you or as a room to watch television, play video games or as a child’s playroom.
5. Are your plans for entertaining realistic?
Answer these questions to determine how important entertaining is to you versus your day-to-day life. How many times per year do you actually entertain? Do you think making this layout change will increase how often you invite people to your home? Is entertaining one of the main reasons you are considering this renovation?
Most people actually entertain less often than they think they do. Even if you entertain fairly often, it is important to make this decision for you and your immediate family who live with you rather than the friends and family members who will be visiting you. After all, this is your home!
If you’re considering an open floor plan, we hope that you ask your designer these questions before you make your final decision to change your home’s layout. Whatever you choose, we sincerely hope that you make the best decision for your lifestyle.