Open Floor Plan Home : The Pros and Cons
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The Pros and Cons of Having an Open Floor Plan Home

Home floor plans have evolved over the years.  In the 1950’s-60’s, the idea of compartmentalized rooms was a common theme.  Starting at the entry door, individual rooms were centered off a main hallway and the activities of each room were isolated. By the time the 1980’s floor plans evolved, rooms began to flow into one another. The concept of half walls and visual dividers allowed a family to converse and interact while staying in their separate rooms.  Today, the open floor plan has become a sought after amenity in homes. For some people the noise travel, and visual distractions is a con of living in an open floor plan.  Follow these tips to see if the pros and cons of having an open floor plan are for you and your family.


1.) Assess how clean you keep your home, honestly: One of the pros of having an open floor plan is being able to visually connect living spaces in décor and aesthetics. The cons of this concept are if your family isn’t tidy, your entire home will always look this way. If your family leaves a trail of destruction in every room they touch, an open floor plan may not be for you.

2.) Determine how much art work you have to hang: Art work, especially large pieces require space to hang.  Since open floor plans are removing many of the dividing walls between rooms, the area to hang and display artwork will be minimal compared to a closed floor plan.

3.) Watching children in an open floor plan can be safe: Open floor plans that are open from the kitchen into the living spaces are great for monitoring children while they play, and you make dinner.  This reduces the amount of time away from your important tasks, but for safety reasons allows you to watch them out the corner of your eye!

4.) Noise tends to travel in an open floor plan: For those who love to listen to their surround system televisions in the family room while the kids play in an adjacent room, talking on the phone could be a challenge. Open floor plans allows for visual connection and also allow for sound to travel easily.  Remember this when considering if a floor plan is for your family.

5.) Open floor plans allows for more natural light: Since many interior walls are reduced to half walls or are removed totally, natural light from windows can reach further in to the house.  For those of you trying to renovate your home to achieve more natural light into interior spaces, think about removing (non-load bearing) walls. This will bring in more light and will make your home feel more spacious.

6.) Assess your entertaining needs with an open floor plan: If you love to have guests over and enjoy cooking, mingling and engaging in conversation at the same time, an open floor plan is right for you. Depending on the floor plan the kitchen can overlook into the dining and living rooms and often out to a porch or lanai areas – perfect for entertaining!

7.) Entertaining guests from the kitchen has a downside: If you’re a chef, the idea of a few dirty dishes doesn’t concern you.  For those of you that like to entertain without the sight of dirty dishes in the background, an open floor plan may not work for your needs. You will have to determine if your lifestyle will fit into an open floor plan concept.

Home floor plans have come a long way in layout and feel.  Long hallways have been replaced with half walls, and dark rooms now get natural light from the perimeter adjacent rooms. The open floor plan concept is not for every family. Use these tips to see if it will be a fit for you.

Freshome reader’s do you live in an open floor plan home? Do you prefer the floor plan to have individual divided rooms instead? Let us know, as we’d love to hear your comments.

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14 comments

  • netcat August 22, 2010 at 13:18 PM Login to Reply →

    And the ventilation must be great, unless you want to smell last night’s tacos all through the house.

  • Vicki bergelt August 22, 2010 at 16:14 PM Login to Reply →

    I love open floor plans. Whenever I renovate a house the first thing I look for is what walls are bearing so I can view my options to open things up. Open floor plans allow you to use all areas of your home.
    The con I have felt is if to many tv’s or music is on in the different areas can be frustrating, noisy, and confusing.

  • Elli Davis August 22, 2010 at 19:36 PM Login to Reply →

    Just like Vicki I really like open floor houses. It is not practical in many ways but it looks just great. The main disadvantage I can see is the absence of privacy.

  • Kitchens August 22, 2010 at 21:23 PM Login to Reply →

    lol Netcat makes a good point! I notice in the first picture also that you can see the bed from the kitchen. I would hate this unless I lived here alone.

  • Brook M August 23, 2010 at 09:02 AM Login to Reply →

    There is an alternative that may be a solution for open floor plan lovers and cons. Moving walls (I know freshome have posted some) or floor to ceiling transparent and/or translucent windows. If you want some privacy just close your curtains (I leave the choice of curtain style …). Enjoy

  • JulieB August 23, 2010 at 13:27 PM Login to Reply →

    I love the thought of a completely open-plan home, however, I don’t think it would really be my thing on a day-to-day basis. I’m afraid my family is just way too messy, and I would probably get depressed by your first point! As it is, we have a little bit of both – a semi-open plan family space with kitchen/dining/playroom that, while not completely open plan are visible enough to allow everyone to interact. Then we also have a more formal living room that is the adult sanctuary for my husband and me to hide in once the kids are in bed.

  • LK August 23, 2010 at 18:30 PM Login to Reply →

    There is an ideal combination of the two concepts of separate rooms and an open floor plan:
    Build in walls to separate rooms but break them open with window-shaped empty openings. Or with some rows of glass bricks, to avoid noise or smells, but to let light in.

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  • Samraj.T. March 26, 2011 at 05:27 AM Login to Reply →

    I would love to be in a open floor (one room) home. I live in a house which is more than 70 years old. Built in the colonial style with a veranda, 2 high ceiling rooms on either side and two low roof rooms behind. I live in the mountain side. A first floor open floor home will definitely be my favourite.

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  • laura May 21, 2014 at 09:39 AM Login to Reply →

    In real luxury homes, rarely the kitchen and the living spaces will be combined. Also, in medium-sized homes, there is usually no big need for, at least, an open kitchen (which has some significant disadvantages, especially if you have a larger family or like to entertain).

    In my opinion, open floor plans were invented as an economic solution to cramped smaller homes or for homes with 1-2 inhabitants, who don’t cook much or who entertain informal guests.

    Personally, I prefer closed floor plans for conveniences such as privacy, easier cleaning and maintenance. Also, I would prefer a decently-sized kitchen so that closed doesn’t equal cramped.