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The Pros and Cons of Open Floor Plans

May 08, 2020 by Maurie Backman

If you're in the market for a new home, you may be focused on a property that features an open floor plan. As the name implies, an open floor plan is one where multiple rooms flow into each other, as opposed to being walled off from one another.

For example, you may find an open floor plan home where the kitchen opens up right into the living room, which then opens into the family room or den. A lot of the more modern homes you'll see on the market feature open floor plans, and they're commonly found in new construction. But before you get your heart set on an open floor plan, it's a good idea to recognize both the advantages and drawbacks that come with that type of setup.

The pros of open floor plans

There are plenty of good reasons to buy a home with an open floor plan. For one thing, open floor plans give the impression of a larger living space, which is important if your home isn't exactly loaded with square footage. Open floor plans can also lend to more natural light. With fewer walls blocking off windows, light from the outside can reach different parts of the home more freely.

Open floor plans can also give you more flexibility with regard to usage and furniture. If you have a kitchen that opens into a living room, you can arrange your living room furniture to face the kitchen so that those tasked with preparing foods can also engage with those sitting on the couch.

Finally, if you have children, an open floor plan can be a lifesaver. Imagine you're busy trying to prepare dinner and have a toddler underfoot. If you leave your toddler to watch TV in your living room but that room is walled off, you'll have no idea whether your little one is sitting quietly or secretly pulling wires out of your corner closet. But if there's no wall to block your view, you'll have an easier time multitasking.

The cons of open floor plans

On the other hand, not everyone loves open floor plans. All of that openness can lead to less privacy, and if you're sharing a home with a lot of people, you may start to miss the idea of more defined spaces. Along these lines, homes with open floor plans can be very noisy. Imagine you have a couple of kids who tend to hang out in the family room. If that room opens to the kitchen, you may be subject to screams galore while you attempt to cook or put food away.

Furthermore, homes with open floor plans can be more expensive to heat and cool than those with closed-off spaces. When you have extra walls and doors that close, heat and cool air can more easily get trapped in the spaces you're occupying. When your entire home is open, you generally need to spend more money to ensure that each area of it stays warm or gets cool enough for comfort during the summer.

Is an open floor plan right for you?

Clearly, there are logistical implications -- not just aesthetic ones -- associated with choosing an open floor plan versus a home with closed-off spaces. Think about the advantages and drawbacks of an open floor plan, and definitely check out homes that feature both options before making your final decision.

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