There’s a trend sweeping the world of house building these days: the open floor plan. Conceived as a way for savvy builders to maximise the potential of the living room, an open layout avoids using walls between common spaces that traditionally define each room’s functionality. Designing a house this way increases the flow between your home – rooms move seamlessly into one another and provide open, airy, light and bright spaces.
Contrast this to a closed floor plan. Closed floor plans focus on compartmentalising the house. The kitchen is a place for cooking, the dining room is a place for eating, and the living room is a place for entertaining. They are very separate spaces. It’s more of an old fashion way of designing houses, and while it is still a preference for many, an open floor plan may be better option for those who love wide open spaces.
When designing a custom home that suits your personal needs, it’s important to consider all of the pros and cons of each of these floor plans to help us at Canny create a home that’s right for you.
The driving force behind the rise in popularity of the open floor plan is a change in the way we entertain our house guests. Gone are the days of formal dinner parties, where entertainment was restricted to the dining room, and the kitchen was kept out of sight and out of mind. House gatherings nowadays are much more relaxed. We like to be able to talk with our guests while preparing dinner, to lounge on the couch after the meal, and to all be together in the same space.
When you’re not having a party, an open plan encourages social living. Keeping the family all in one shared space allows the occupants of a home to become more open and engaged in dialogue. Open floor plans also allow for a lot more natural light, which as well as having the benefit of making your house feel warmer, also encourages outdoor living. You’re much more likely to use your patio if there’s a clear, open view to it from the living room.
Furthermore, with space becoming more and more of a premium – even in custom built luxury homes – opening up your living space can simply make your house feel larger.
It is important to note some common mistakes that are often made when designing an open floor house, and how to avoid them. Large, open, unstructured spaces can feel lifeless, less personable and cold if not done right. To avoid this, you can visually divide sections of the large room through colour coordination, grouped furnishings, sectional furniture or ornaments. Try to create intimate functional zones that have their own identity, while incorporating a cohesive feel throughout the entire floor plan.
Let’s look at some examples. This Brighton home blends contemporary living with traditional family time using timber cabinets, a marble hearth and a remote-controlled fireplace which is seamlessly integrated into the design of the home to conceal high-tech entertainment systems from direct view.
This Glen Iris home uses sectional furniture and techniques, such as a huge kitchen island and a half-wall in front of the entertainment area to keep things open while still providing some very specific areas of separation.
Finally, The Faversham display home has an incredible outdoor entertainment area, and utilizes full length windows to blur the line between outdoor and indoor entertaining. With all of that natural light and the views of the pool and yard flowing into your living space, it makes the big open space feel full and bright.
While the benefits of an open floor plan are far reaching, there are still some cons you need to consider. An open plan will never feel as private as a closed plan. Mess, which can be contained in your kitchen in a closed plan, is open for the world to see in an open one. If you are watching TV in the living room, it can be difficult for someone else to have a conversation with someone else in another part of the shared space. When you remove walls, you also remove storage – something that many homeowners covet.
So what’s the solution? It all depends on your individual taste. Do you prefer privacy, or would you rather have an open, social space? There’s nothing that says that your house has to be one or the other as hybrid designs, such as those which allow homeowners to open and close off rooms at will, are another option.
Whether you decide on an open or closed floor plan, or something in between, Canny can design fully customised homes or you can choose from one of the many different facades within our portfolio.
Contact us today to discuss your new home journey or call 8532 4444.
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