Since the start of the millennium, few real estate trends have gained and retained as much popularity as the open floor plan. Though they range from expansive great rooms paired with traditional bedroom configurations to fully open, sun-drenched loft apartments, it’s a fact that no other type of configuration has been in such high demand.

If you’re preparing to look for your first home, or upgrade the home you have, you are no doubt mulling over the pros and cons of open concept living—and you’re correct that such designs aren’t for everyone.

Let’s take a closer look at some important factors to consider before you make such a huge decision.

The Pros

1.) Freedom to Socialize

Open floor plans are perfect for entertaining and spending time with your family. Whether you’re cooking, watching TV, or working on a craft project, you’ll be in a shared space with everyone else. 

If your current home leaves you feeling isolated, or if you find yourself frequently strategizing on how to fit all of your friends into one room for game night or book club, an open concept home is a great solution.

2.) Endless Furniture Configurations

Unlike more restrictive traditional home designs, open floor plans will allow you to arrange your furniture any way you like. In fact, your furniture will replace the function of walls by providing important functional and visual structure.

Are you feeling like one of your decorating challenges is the very size and shape of your rooms? It will likely be easier to create a cohesive yet gently grouped arrangement of furniture in an open concept home rather than looking for a home that’s divided perfectly.

3.) Natural Lighting

In an open concept home, you won’t have to hope for optimal window configuration in each of your home’s main areas. Instead, the whole home will be drenched in light from the windows that will surround open areas.

4.) Maximize the Sense of Space

If homes in your budget are smaller than you’d prefer, an open floor plan will make the most of the space you’ll have. Rather than losing visual impact to multiple walls dividing each room, the wide-open space will give you and your visitors alike a feeling that the home is more expansive.

The Cons 

1.) Loss of Privacy

Whether you have small children, reclusive teenagers, or an aging parent living with you, you will have less privacy in an open-concept home. Likewise, if you like to work jigsaw puzzles in quiet and your partner prefers to root for their favorite sports teams at top volume, you may grow to resent each other’s hobbies if you’re continually forced to share space.

2.) Cooking Aromas

In a traditional floor plan, it’s easier to switch on your range hood and crack a window while you’re preparing bacon, sauteing aromatics, grilling fish, or accidentally burning some food. This will be more challenging in an open design, and you may find yourself struggling to remove stubborn odors from your book collection, sofa, rugs, and curtains.

3.) Loss of Display Space

Are you an artist, photographer, or avid collector of art? You may find it difficult to find enough space on your walls to hang your pieces in an open concept home. While a soaring ceiling can give you added wall surface, it won’t offer you more spaces at eye level—which is just where your art belongs.

4.) Nowhere to Hide (a Mess)

If we’re all being honest, it can be very convenient to have a room where a little extra clutter can be whisked away at a moment’s notice. Whether you have young children, are a frequent crafter, or simply do a lot of work from home, you may want to stick to a floor plan that will preserve this option for you.

5.) Loss of Sound Isolation

Run an ice machine, blender, vacuum, or have a phone conversation in an open concept home, and everyone in earshot will hear it. Alternatively, if you’re on the phone and your partner gets some ice while your child watches TV, you may find yourself losing your patience.

We’ve all been in a restaurant while twenty or more people speak more and more loudly to be heard over each other, and you may face this same issue when you hold parties in your open concept home. Even a subdued dinner party may get surprisingly loud, especially when you add in the aforementioned ice machine or blender.

The Takeaway

After pondering these pros and cons, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not open concept living is ideal for your lifestyle and family structure. If you decide you’d rather not have a fully open home, keep in mind that you can still enjoy the expanse of a great room while retaining the selective privacy and diverse purposes a semi-traditional home design can offer.

Do you currently live in an open concept home, or have you lived in one in the past? Are you a Millennial who was a teen sharing an open concept home with your family of origin? We would love to hear from you in the comments below. Let us know what you loved, what you didn’t, and whether you’re looking to buy an open concept home or perhaps are ready sell the one you’ve got.

Posted by Parks Real Estate on


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