Over the past year, many of us have spent a lot of time in our homes. This has allowed many homeowners to rethink the way they use certain spaces, ranging from using “found space” as home offices to creating outdoor living and entertaining areas. In all of this change and adaptation, many have been left asking, “Is this the end of the open floor plan?”
The original concept of the open floor plan began as early as the 1950s. Today, one of the hallmarks of “midcentury modern” architecture is an open floor plan (often featuring a central fireplace open on all sides) with the kitchen as the center of social activity. By the 1990s open floor plans, also called great rooms, had become the norm in new construction. The benefits of this way of living are many, including allowing for individual activities and social togetherness to coexist. For entertaining, the kitchen, dining room, and living room blend together into one large party space.
However, over the past year in particular, the cons of an open floor plan have been realized. For example, some homeowners have learned that a lack of interior walls means that the sounds, sights, and smells of everyday living travel between rooms, resulting in fewer areas of quiet or privacy. In addition, open floor plans require constant upkeep because even the smallest amount of clutter can make the space appear messy.
In addition to spending more time at home, the make-up of the American family is also changing. For the past several decades, there has been an increased movement toward building homes for multigenerational living. In order to meet the needs of the expanding household, families are looking at alternative ways to use space. For example, designing a home for multigenerational living is all about using space wisely. Ideally, a multigenerational home will have primary living areas with an attached suite including a bedroom, kitchen (or mini-kitchen), and a bathroom with a separate entry. Whether renovating an existing home or building new, many homeowners are taking these considerations into account and moving towards a more compartmentalized design.
So is this the end of the open floor plan? While the demands on our homes and lifestyle changes have increased the desire for more separation, the desire for connected living spaces will not disappear anytime soon. Instead, look for a combination of the two. For instance, homeowners can consider adding architectural features or pocket doors to their main living areas, allowing them to create separate rooms when desired. Many homeowners are adding a second kitchen to the home, thus creating a cooking kitchen and an entertaining kitchen. In this case, the mess and smells of cooking can be contained in a separate space while family and friends can congregate in the entertaining kitchen for socializing and day-to-day living.
If you are considering building a custom home, or remodeling your current home, and would like to discuss to pros and cons of an open concept layout further, please contact us today!