There was a time where open concept living wasn’t really a thing. Homes each had their dedicated spaces downstairs as well as upstairs. The downstairs rooms were divided and separated no matter how small, to fit in either a front room or dining room, living room and kitchen.
As with most things we get used to, we did a total flip and decided that dedicated room spaces weren’t the way to go anymore. So walls in older houses were knocked through, interior doors removed and open concept became the new norm! Where kitchen, dining room and living room became one open flowing space.
One big communal area for cooking, relaxing, watching the tv, entertaining and for the kids to play. For some of us that open area also includes some kind of work space too. All in all the open concept makes for a more open, sociable area and for a variety of living possibilities. Easy to see why the concept is favourite for homes today.
Is Open Concept Favourite?
Understandably, light and airy living spaces create more enjoyable and welcoming atmosphere. You get the most out of your square footage and it becomes a space of amazing potential. But how practical is it for everyday family living? Where so many activities are done in one space. Especially when in today’s world where new build homes seem smaller than before and working from home is now more common than before.
It seems that even when there are those of us that option to build our house as wanted, that open concept is still the preferred way. There was an old episode of Grand Designs I watched recently, the home was designed where they had put in a mezzanine area. Which was above the open concept living room and kitchen area. The mezzanine floor housed the home office and on the other side a playroom for the kids. My first thought was “Oh no that can’t work!”. (For me at least). And I thought how much open living concept is too much? Is there such a thing?
Have we become stuck on one way of living?
So here are reasons for and against open concept living. See which side you fall on…
For Open Concept Living
One of the main advantages of open concept living is that it’s sociable!
You can see everyone and if you or a partner or one of the children decide to slip off in to a corner, it’s still “sociable”. This is especially the case for entertaining when you’re still cooking in the kitchen. You can keep chatting away to family and friends and nothing is going to get burnt. (In theory).
2. Traffic Flow
The removal of interior walls means you get a lot more out of the space.
It also gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of layouts and furniture options. The furniture can be re-arranged if necessary or just for a different feel and look. Also allowing for bigger pieces of furniture than would normally allow.
4. Airy & Light
The more natural light you can get in the home the better. This is a part of biophilic design. We feel the affects of it in every way in our well-being and behaviour. Open concept living tends to feel light and airy because of having minimal obstructions. This connects us with any nature that might be surrounding us as well.
Against Open Concept Living
If you’re living alone this isn’t an issue.
But the bigger the family the less places there are to go in the home. Privacy is needed sometimes. Noise can be a big problem in open concept living especially when it comes working and studying. Bedrooms might be a place of refuge but not always practical for work depending on the bedroom size.
This is kitchen and dining area was featured in a Pinterest favourites a while back. It’s a great example of getting the balance just right. The bi-folding glass doors to the kitchen still let the light in but can be closed off if needed.
Putting in sliding doors is a great option if you’re wanting more of balance between privacy and open concept living.
Mounting clutter can be a problem. Due to no defined rooms or spaces it can sometimes be hard to stay on top of what should go where. Suitable storage and multi functional furniture is definitely beneficial.
Of course with a family home its probably never going to be 100% everyday. But clutter is harder to hide in open spaces. Good organization is key.
Multi functionality. A double edged sword. With so many options what do you go with?
I think some people can become stuck when designing a big living room space that has so many needs to fulfill. Not to mention getting the right sized furniture. A lot of people still stick to the comfort of having their furniture up against the walls, even with all the free space!
The bigger the space the more expensive it is to heat and keep warm. With a larger and open space to contain the warmth you’ll notice a when a cool draft appears.
What do you think? Is open concept living the only way to go for you? Let me know in the comments below!
Featured Image Source: Ben Ashby – Unsplash