That is indeed a question. One you may be pondering as you prepare for that much needed, or just desired, remodel in your future. If you’re building a home from scratch, it’s definitely something to consider. Open floor plans are all the rage these days, and for good reason. But don’t jump to that decision just yet because it may not be what’s right for you. On the other hand you have more fingers, and your house is already constructed you’re just giving it a makeover. In this case, the structure may or may not allow for an open plan. Renovations may be like the seventh circle of Dante’s Inferno, but they are for sure better than moving. Before you hitch your horse to the idea of an open plan consider these things first to aid in your decision making.
What type of family are you? Growing? Settling into old age? Or facing a fast approaching empty nest? If you fall into the Growing category, the privacy and containment of a closed floor plan could be key in maintaining the sanity of the fam. Especially if you have younger children with oodles of toys – you know the fifty bajillion that they never use because they’d rather play with the box it came in – having a closed off space dedicated to just the kids and their playtime activities would work better than one giant “great room” that is a kitchen, dining, living, and bed room all morphed into one space.
Even if you don’t have small children, but you value your privacy or even work from home, having a closed off space for solitude would suit you better than the open floor plan. Having a small reading nook or office with built in shelves, cozy seating, and hidden storage may just be the piece of paradise you’re craving.
While the promise of an empty nest might seem like the perfect opportunity to knock out some walls and create space just remember, it’s called Empty Nest Syndrome for a reason. The goal of an open floor plan is to create more space, or give the illusion of a bigger home. Taking people out of the equation also makes your space feel bigger. Ask any parent with their youngest child finally off to college. It’s empty; it gets lonely and the house instantly feels bigger, even with their bedrooms still in tact. Both options have their pros and cons, but your family and schedules are well worth taking into account when deciding how to update your home.
Functional and Purposeful
What do you see yourself doing in this space? What are the overriding goals driving this remodel? More space, or the feeling of more space, is the big benefit of open floor plans; it’s why so many apartments will use a more open floor plan. Small spaces feel bigger with less walls compartmentalizing everything. But does that fit with what you want out of the functionality of your home? For the Hostess with the Mostest, having an open floor plan is perfect for parties and gatherings. Whether it’s the holidays, movie nights, birthdays, or major sporting and awards events an open space allows your guests to mingle from area to area, circle to circle with conversations, food and drinks flowing as easily as the room does. Conversely, do you ever host catered events in your home? In that case, having a kitchen that can be closed off for such events is actually pretty nice. Multiple staff (2-3 cooks, bartender, and 2-3 servers/bussers) trying to coordinate feeding 20+ people quickly, while it’s still hot and fresh is a tense situation. Add to that the fact that there are no walls and that’s a recipe for an awkward and stressful evening. Obviously, unless you’re some fancy pants Crazy Rich Person the frequency of those events are most likely few or far between. Even still, preparing holiday dinners for the whole family can carry its own amount of stress; privacy wouldn’t be such a bad thing. So maybe it comes down to a compromise of closing the kitchen, but opening up the dining and living area, and front and back entrances. Either way, consider how you plan to use the space and how you can make it purposely functional.
The Nitty Gritty.
How do you decorate? Are you that person who never paints a wall, hangs maybe one photo of shoes at the beach you took on that memorable trip to Cabo that one semester in college? Or is your style more, It’s cheaper and less work to patch the holes than paint. Let’s hang everything on the walls! ? It sounds silly, but there’s a sense of minimalism when you eliminate walls in your home. Minimalism has its wonderful qualities – make no mistake – but if you’re an art enthusiast, or create your own art/photography, or you simply prefer things on the wall, that beloved space will be scarce. Prime real estate.
In the end, remodeling your home is about YOU and your personal tastes. Take all this information, obsess over it for the next week, then throw it away. Do what makes you excited to walk in your door at the end of a long and stressful day. Happy Floor Planning!