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The Art of the Open Plan

Almost every property listing you look at nowadays will contain the words: ‘open plan’. Usually, this is followed by a description which indicates that the open plan includes within it the kitchen, dining area, and living area. But what is this open plan? Why the sudden surge of this choice of interior in the recent years?

There are a number of positive things which come with having an open plan area in your property, but there are also some negatives which you need to consider when building or choosing a residence with an open plan.

Pro: Making a small space feel larger

This one is self-explanatory. If your living space feels cramped because your kitchen, dining room and living room are on the smaller side, you can remedy this by knocking down the walls which separate the rooms from each other. This allows the rooms to become one larger space and it gives the illusion that there is more room than there really is.

Con: A large space may feel too big

If you have a large space it might be counter-productive to the homey feeling you are trying to create. Areas which are too big, especially if accompanied by high ceilings, can give the sensation of being in an echoing warehouse – definitely not the feeling you want your home to radiate. Even more problematic is the fact that heating and cooling such a large open space will be more difficult, and as a result, more expensive.

Pro: Being more social and convenient

Having an open plan allows members of the family to socialise with each other more easily as the person in the kitchen will be able to talk to those in the living room. Furthermore, if you have guests over, they can sit in the living area without feeling abandoned while you prepare food and drinks. An open plan increases the sense of togetherness.

Con: No way to contain the mess

If you’re a perfectionist or a neat freak forget the idea that the area is going to be tidy all the time. As your children are playing in the living area, the scattered toys will be visible during dinner. The same things goes if you’re entertaining people. While guests are sitting in the living room, the mess left behind in the kitchen will be clearly visible. If you’re not one to thrive in chaos, you may have to rethink the possibility of having an open plan.

On another note, you should also keep in mind that as things become more social with an open plan, privacy also becomes a difficult thing to find.

Pro: Open sight lines

In an open plan, the main areas of your home will be on display and this will create a lovely effect of warmth, continuity, and flow. Moreover, open plans tend to be bright and airy as all the windows from the different rooms will be in one area. If you’re lucky enough to have large windows or balcony doors, the outdoor effect will also be inside – a concept known as indoor-outdoor living.

Con: Knocking down load-bearing walls

If your open plan wasn’t built initially within the residence and you wish to knock down some walls to create an open area yourself, you have to be careful that you don’t knock down any load-bearing walls. Doing this may cause infrastructural damage to the property and fixing it will come at a more expensive cost than creating the open plan in the first place. Avoid this by consulting a professional before knocking down any walls.

If you’re convinced that an open plan is the right move for you, then go forth and prosper in the bright, airy spaces your home will provide you with. On the other hand, if you’re one who can’t stand mess, noise, and lack of privacy, maybe you should properly consider whether an open plan would be more disadvantageous for you.