When it comes to home floor plans, Americans are divided. While 48.8% of people prefer a traditional floor plan, 51.2% say they like a home with an open floor plan.
At MJS Designers Group, we do not believe either of these floor plans is better than the other. Instead, the best floor plan for you depends on your unique needs and interior design preferences.
We created this guide to the pros and cons of open floor plans to help make your decision easier. We will explain what an open floor plan is, how it has evolved over the years, and why you might consider it in your new home.
Are you ready to find the floor plan that is perfect for your custom home? Then keep reading this guide. And stick around until the end to learn more about our luxury home design and building services.
The Open Floor Plan: Explained
The open concept or open floor plan may not be a new invention (more on the history of open floor plans below), but the term has come to mean something different over time.
Prior to the 1970s, homes with open floor plans did not have any or had very few doors. Today, however, we usually think of a home with an open floor plan as having fewer walls. Some experts refer to the modern type as ‘open concept.’
But what exactly do open concept floor plans share in common? First, they tend to have high ceilings and tall windows. Open floor plan homes also feature one large living space with no walls dividing them.
Usually, these open living spaces consist of the kitchen, the dining area, and the living room. Often, a large island with bar-seating sections off the kitchen area from the rest of the room.
The open concept floor plan has reigned supreme for at least the last 25 years. But it came as a response to the floor plan dominating 18th, 19th, and early 20th century homes: the closed floor plan.
Open vs. Closed Floor Plan: What Is the Difference?
We generally distinguish between two types of floor plans: the open floor plan and the traditional or closed floor plan.
Unlike open floor plans, closed floor plans feature separate rooms that connect via doors and hallways. And in the past, traditional floor plans featured lower ceilings and smaller rooms.
Traditional and open floor plans have been around since the beginning of home construction. But where traditional floor plans were historically preferred by the wealthy elite, open floor plans were more common in peasant homes.
Over time, the class divide between floor plan preferences has all but disappeared. That is because each floor plan has started to cross over a bit, creating homes with a unique mixture of the two.
For instance, some traditional-style floor plans have adopted characteristics of the open floor plan like taller ceilings and larger rooms. Meanwhile, in some cases, open concept floor plans have become a bit more closed.
Benefits of an Open Floor Plan
If you still do not know which type of floor plan is for you, that is okay. Our next section explains some of the benefits of open concept homes to help you out.
One of the oft-touted benefits of open concept homes is that they are an entertainer’s dream. Before open concept floor plans, the kitchen walled off entertainers from their guests who mingled in the living area.
But with an open floor plan, you can be in the kitchen and with your guests at the same time. So, an open concept floor plan is a great option for you if you get serious FOMO when hosting gatherings at your place.
Modern and Contemporary
Traditional floor plans are, well, traditional. That means they can be hard to pull off with modern or contemporary home decor. An open concept home, on the other hand, looks modern and of-the-now.
If you prefer industrial or modern farmhouse styles, the open floor plan is an excellent choice. This floor plan type also looks great with other modern and contemporary design styles such as mid-century modern and Scandi.
Homes with open floor plans are not necessarily larger than those with closed floor plans. But they do offer more space because they have fewer walls. This allows for a better flow of traffic and flexibility with how you use the space.
Homebuilders used to apartment living will love this option. And again, the spaciousness of your living area can be better for entertaining compared to the chopped-off rooms of a traditional floor plan.
Open floor plans seem spacious because they do not obstruct your line of sight. When you are in the kitchen, you can see into the dining and living areas and vice versa.
If you have children, you can see the benefits here. You can cook dinner while your kids watch TV or work on their homework at the dining table. This type of floor plan is also great for adults who care for their parents.
Even though Americans are split on which floor plan is better, the open concept is in high demand in some real estate markets. In fact, in 2017, Realtor.com found that homes with open floor plans saw an annual appreciation of 7.4%.
Markets with smaller work-from-home populations, in particular, will continue to prefer open floor plan homes. However, this trend is changing.
Disadvantages of an Open Floor Plan
With all the benefits of an open concept home come a few disadvantages you need to consider.
Here are the top five complaints homeowners have about open floor plans, plus how to address them if an open concept is a must-have for you.
For each person who praises the open concept’s entertainment-friendliness, there is an entertainer who hates open floor plans. Why? Two words: kitchen mess.
No one wants their guests to see a messy, tomato sauce-splattered kitchen. This is why many builders have begun to design open concept homes with so-called “mess kitchens.”
A wall and/or door separates the mess kitchen from the open concept living area. That way, you can make a mess in the kitchen, and none of your guests will be the wiser.
Not Suited for Work-from-Home
The pandemic changed the way people live and work. And this has resulted in a shift in preference for open vs. closed floor plans. Homeowners these days want more division between working and living spaces.
But an open concept home can also accommodate work-from-home. For example, many people use a designated office during work time and close it off after work hours.
Another way to differentiate your work and living spaces in a smaller home is to create partitions between separate spaces. For example, you could place a screen between the living area and the dining area where you work.
It is no secret that the open floor plan is trendy. But since the pandemic, there has been some indication that the trend tide is changing. According to Zillow, 27% of Americans are considering a move to a home with a closed floor plan.
Now, more homeowners than ever before are requesting traditional-style homes with more rooms. And these homeowners expect this trend to continue.
In the meantime, you can incorporate both traditional and open floor plan styles in your home. A transitional floor plan offers you the flexibility of an open concept with the added privacy of a closed floor plan.
A Cohesive Design Is Required
One of the main benefits of a closed floor plan is that each room can have its own style. You can have a cottagecore-style room on one end of your home and an arts-and-crafts style room on the other end.
But with an open floor plan home, you must maintain one cohesive style. This is especially true of open concept living spaces. You must incorporate similar design elements throughout your living, dining, and even kitchen spaces.
Of course, you could choose an eclectic design style. Eclectic interiors incorporate multiple design styles in one. That way, you can have your open concept while also incorporating your many interior design style favorites.
Custom Home Design in Orlando, FL
The open floor plan features fewer walls to divvy up spaces. In open concept homes, the main space combines the kitchen, dining, and living areas. This type of floor plan can be great for families, entertaining, and resale values.
Whether you are ready to build an open concept home or you are looking for a more traditional style floorplan, we can help! MJS Designers Group offers luxury home design and building services ‘near me.’ Contact us today to start designing the home of your dreams!