Open floor plans continue to have a strong hold on being the most popular architectural home design out there. You might be wondering what an open floor plan really means and if there are different types. Whether you’re designing a new custom luxury home in the Bay Area or you’re thinking of remodeling an older home with a closed floor plan, consider the top reasons that homeowners continue to lean toward open concept floor plans and tips on how to design your space.
WHAT IS AN OPEN FLOOR PLAN?
An open floor plan is designed to keep the common spaces in a home flowing from one space to the next without interruption. This doesn’t mean it’s one large room. It can still incorporate alcoves and narrow walls that give the impression of designated spaces, but keeps sightlines open, often combining the dining, living, and kitchen areas, but not always.
Open floor plans require hearty beams that extend across the entire space to support the rest of the structure, rather than the use of load-bearing walls in a traditional, closed floor plan. For this reason, it’s ideal to include an open floor plan in the initial design of your luxury home, but not impossible for an older home with separate spaces to be remodeled to have an open floor plan.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF OPEN FLOOR PLANS?
Not all open floor plans combine the same rooms. In some cases, a common space may still be closed off from the other spaces. It comes down to whether a homeowner would prefer to keep one room, like the kitchen, more tucked away than the others.
Kitchen and Dining Room
Combining the kitchen and dining spaces just makes good sense. Traversing through doorways and around walls while balancing plates and serving ware full of food can be a hassle or a potential mess. By combining these spaces, you’re creating convenience. To differentiate the spaces, include an island–or even a double island. It offers more seating when the table is full and a space to place the main serving dishes for anyone who wants seconds.
Living Room and Dining Room
An open space that includes the dining and living rooms is a great option if you entertain often and prefer the mess in the kitchen to be hidden away. It creates a space where multiple people can gather and move between dining and lounging more freely.
Completely Open Floor Plan: Kitchen, Dining, and Living Rooms
Combining all of these common areas into a large space creates a feeling of connectivity. Even with partition walls to distinguish the different areas, you’ll have clearer sightlines and the ability to communicate with someone in the living room when you’re in the kitchen, for example.
WHY DO HOMEOWNERS PREFER AN OPEN FLOOR PLAN?
Open floor plans, or open concepts, remain popular for many reasons, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top five reasons homeowners still lean toward this design choice.
1. KEEP IT FLOWING
Without the interruption of doors and walls to navigate, an open floor plan allows you to move from one space to the next seamlessly. The openness of this plan will afford your family more convenience during your morning routine, evening quality time, and entertaining guests. Keep an eye on the kids in the living room while you prepare dinner, easily transport meals from the kitchen to the dining table, and keep a spread available while your favorite movie is playing nearby.
2. LET THE SUNSHINE IN
Kitchens are notorious for lacking wall space for ample windows to access natural light. Take advantage of sprawling windows in the living area to light up the entire space. Using the right layout and materials, you can carry the natural light further into the space. Include a vaulted ceiling with clerestory windows and bring even more sunshine in, reducing the amount of artificial light you’ll need to use throughout the day.
3. FEEL CONNECTED
Most homeowners that have dealt with closed-off spaces will tell you that it can be isolating. Especially if you’re working in the kitchen and separate from family and friends. Be a part of the conversation, communicate with dinner guests, always be within earshot of your favorite record that’s playing across the room, and have a sightline to the kids in the living room. Open floor plans can connect both spaces and people.
4. BE OUR GUEST
An open concept home, especially one that includes the kitchen, makes entertaining guests easier. Better enable social gatherings with different zones across the open space. Have a dinner spread on the dining table, a small bar set up on the island, games in the living room, and plenty of spots to sit and chat, while all being in the same grand space. If you’re worried about the dishes, also include a butler’s pantry to hide away all of the used dinnerware until you’re ready. Also include a double kitchen island to create even more surfaces for prep, service, and seating.
5. INCREASE THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME
Open concept homes remain popular and it’s a top must-have with buyers. Through surveying real estate experts, we know that homes with an open floor plan tend to fare better on the market than comparable homes with a closed floor plan, including in the Bay Area. Up to 15% better. The investment might be a bit much if you’re remodeling your home just to put it on the market, but if you’re preparing to build a custom luxury home, an open floor plan will serve you well if you might sell in the future.
3 TIPS FOR DESIGNING AN OPEN FLOOR PLAN
Choosing your finishes and furnishings for an open-concept home might feel a bit overwhelming because you’ll have to consider the aesthetics of the whole space. To start you off on the right foot, consider these tips for designing your open floor plan.
Open floor plans can be a bit tricky to design in terms of your color and finish choices. In some cases, like with a narrow partition wall that subtly defines the spaces, you may be able to change the paint color from one space to the next. However, without partition walls, you should use the same color throughout. Flooring, the metal color on lighting fixtures, cabinet styles in the kitchen and built-ins in the living room, and other finishes and styles should also either be consistent or complement each other.
2. Some Spaces Do Need Seclusion
Of course, the open concept floor plan can lend to messes being more visible. Some functions would be best kept in a separate space, much like the bedrooms and bathrooms. The playroom, office, and perhaps a separate space for gaming and hobbies could be in their own isolated spaces to keep messes tucked away and to minimize interruptions that can happen in one large common area.
3. Capitalize on the space
With a large open space, you can make it feel even bigger with vaulted ceilings. Also, because you’ll have longer expanses of wall space, fill them with large rows of windows for optimal natural light. An open floor plan is also a great opportunity to expand the space outdoors into an outdoor kitchen with a deck that spans the full length of the connected common areas.
DISCUSS YOUR OPEN FLOOR PLAN OPTIONS WITH A PROFESSIONAL
With so many advantages to creating an open floor plan in your luxury home, you may be ready to jump right in and start planning for your new open space. Perhaps these insights have only sparked more questions. Either way, talk to a professional custom home builder about your options and what approach would work best for you and your family.
K.C. Customs is a high-end custom home builder and remodeler based in the Bay Area that excels in expert artisanship and service. We are focused on guiding you through the entire process and work with the area’s most reputable and experienced architects. For any questions about open floor plans and other remodeling or custom home building concerns, reach out to K.C. Customs and we’ll schedule a consultation.