It was a growing trend long before Joanna Gaines ever came on the scene, but her constant… “I want to take this wall out and open up this space” … on Fixer Upper no doubt increased its popularity.
Yep. Open floor plans are all the rage.
When we were house-hunting a year ago, we visited homes of all shapes and sizes and designs, but guess which ones wowed us the most! It was those with open floor plans.
So it is no surprise that the first time we walked into our current home we fell in love. We loved the yard. We loved the neighborhood. We loved the garage and the basement and virtually everything else about the house. But there is no question the open floor plan was one of the biggest selling points for us.
So maybe you’re doing a little house-hunting of your own. Maybe you’re thinking of building, or doing some remodeling. You may have considered an open floor plan, but you’re curious the pros and cons of an open design.
Well after 10 months in a house with an open floor plan, I can share with you my 5 reasons for LOVING it! (And I’ll be honest enough to share some of its less-than-ideal qualities, too.)
The open floor plan makes my house look and feel much larger than it is.
The main floor of our current home contains the same number of bedrooms and baths and is a mere 350 square feet larger than our old house. When I tell friends and family that, they are startled by it. Why? Because the open concept design literally makes this house feel twice the size of our other home.
Hallways, nooks, and random walls consume a lot more space in a house than I ever realized. Removing them has left me feeling like we’ve doubled our square footage.
The open floor plan is a perfect design for family.
I love the fact that my husband can be doing his paperwork on the couch, my son can be reading at the kitchen bar, my daughter can be drawing at the table, and I can be cooking. And we are all in the same room at the same time. It makes conversation easy and comfortable, and allows us to be together, even when we’re doing our own things.
The open floor plan is also perfect for homeschooling. I can work in the kitchen and still keep up with my kids’ progress in their studies. Or when we’re working on subjects together, we can spread out and be more comfortable, even while being close enough to make discussion easy.
The open floor plan is ideal for entertaining.
For years I wanted to be able to entertain people in my home. And I tried! But when a house is chopped into too many spaces, every space very quickly feels tight and crowded. It gets very miserable very fast.
This year we hosted Thanksgiving for my husband’s family and we were able to add a folding table and chairs and comfortably seat 18 people in one room. With an open floor plan it has been so much easier to add seating or allow room for mingling and avoid separating my guests.
The open floor plan has provided awesome design flexibility.
While obviously I can’t move my sink or kitchen cabinets around at will, I can shrink or enlarge the size of my dining area or family room whenever I please, so long as I don’t overfill our great room with furniture.
We very easily shrunk our dining area and rearranged furniture to make room for Christmas decorations. For a youth Christmas party at our house we were able to move furniture all over to make space for games.
The open floor plan floods our living space with natural light.
This is a biggie for me, especially in the winter when I struggle with seasonal gloominess. Natural light, (and lots of it!) lifts my mood and boosts my energy level. I love that the room our family shares most is the brightest and cheeriest room in the house!
Okay, so are there any negatives to an open floor plan? Well, yes. I would be lying to say there aren’t.
Heating and cooling a great room can be tricky.
Maintaining a perfect temperature in a large, open space is not exactly easy. In mild weather it’s not a problem, but when outside temperatures are more extreme it seems we can get the temp right in the bedrooms or the great room, but rarely can we get it in both.
Not to mention cooking can heat the entire room up very quickly, much faster than I ever would have imagined.
There is NO hiding a messy kitchen.
I suppose this would actually have to be my biggest issue with the open floor plan. In my old house I could invite an unexpected guest into my living room and it is possible they would never lay eyes on my kitchen. In my current home, however, anyone who enters my home WILL see it! I try to keep it clean of course, but I cook 3 meals a day almost every day of every week and I’m a messy cook by nature. Disasters happen in my kitchen and if somebody drops by unannounced, they will be seeing it in all its disastrous glory.
Mixed Media can sometimes be a problem!
I may want to listen to the radio or a podcast while I work in the kitchen, but my kids have a video for school or they want to watch a movie. The two don’t work so well together. And I hate ear buds.
We’ve learned to give and take some in this area, but it’s definitely very different from my old kitchen where I felt so cut off from the rest of the house and I could listen to whatever I wanted without disturbing anyone else or them disturbing me.
It’s harder to sneak snacks without anyone seeing.
Okay, I’m kidding about this one. Kind of. 😉
But, trust me, these few drawbacks are not enough to make me regret choosing a home with an open floor plan. It has been ideal for our family and our homeschooling lifestyle, and you can’t beat the flexibility it offers!
So, no question — take that wall out and open up that space! I don’t think you’ll regret it. 🙂