These days it’s all about the open floor plan. Like, really all about the open floor plans. Like, over 80% of people want an open floor plan whether they’re building from the ground up or taking out some frustrations on an innocent wall. And what’s so special about them anyway? Well – pardon while we throw a little history atcha – turns out open floor plans aren’t anything new. When the only source of heat in a home was a giant hearth, homes were using the open floor plan out of necessity. It wasn’t until the Victorian era that homes of the wealthy could afford to shut off the rooms of the help. But as advances in heating and cooling, as well as in building materials, kept coming man decided he liked the open plan best. The question, however, remains. Is an Open floor plan really worth it?

What’s Not To Love?

Plenty, actually. What is there to love? … Plenty, actually. But looking at the negatives first (you go and save the best for last) and there are a few things – both subjective and objective – to heed. First, if you’re remodeling the common areas of your current home if might not be structurally possible to have a truly open floor plan. You’ll need to review this with potential contractors. You can always work around it by creating columns or pillars where there needs to be support. Your contractor will have a solution and point you in the best direction.

Open floor plans are drafty. Sure, it’s great for overall air flow. But when it comes to keeping the home warm and cozy, a lack of walls will give you a challenge. Just like with structural support, there are options from simple, DIY/decorative solutions like fluffy rugs and thermal curtains, to additional heating elements such as heated floors, solar heat, or even a hybrid heating system.

There’s no moment alone in an open floor plan. Unless you’re actually alone in the house with no one else around. For dinners, game night, or other parties the open floor plan is a dream. And if you’re the type that really enjoys entertaining – you have people over at least once a week – then an open floor plan is the way to go. But if you prefer designated spaces such as game room, office, bedroom, tv room, we could go on and on – keep with the more traditional closed floor plan. OR, if you’re unlike Congress and you enjoy the art of the compromise then you could mix in a little of both. Open up the kitchen, dining, and living room leading to your equally open backyard and keep the laundry room, office, and bedrooms to yourself. There’s nothing worse than being at home, needing to focus on a specific task, and you’re plagued with distractions of the tv, the radio, or conversation. Besides, do you really want the neighbors to see your dirty laundry?

Less wall space for fun stuff. It’s true. If you’re an art lover, but also want the open floor plan, you’ll have to be very picky with what goes up on the walls. However, minimalism might be your style. Because there aren’t walls blocking any of the windows in an open plan there is easier access to natural light. Or you can just add more windows. Either way, consider heat/air are often released through windows. Make your windows work for you, not against you.

Choose What Suits You

When all is said and done, there are pros and cons to any floor plan. If you’re remodeling, you might be limited to what your house can do. If you’re building from the ground up, then the world is truly your oyster. But before deciding, consider all the elements; design, function, utilities, cost. Weigh each issue carefully and mindfully, and with the unbiased assistance of your contractor. In the end what really matters is that your home is a reflection of you.