For the last two decades, open-concept floor plans have been a dominant architectural trend. This concept generally joins a kitchen, dining area and living room into a large open space without dividing walls. Knocking down walls to an open, multipurpose space still tops renovation wish lists for older homes.
By adding heavy-duty beams, this type of construction eliminates the need for some interior load-bearing walls. This creates openness and can aide in traffic flow for a more aesthetic design.
However, trends may be shifting. If you are considering renting your home as an investment property, you may want to take into consideration the downside to an open plan. While open space is great for entertaining large groups, they offer less privacy for roommates or families, have less wall space for art and bookcases, and are noisy when crowded. Designers and architects are reporting more home shoppers are searching for more of a hybrid plan- the feeling of openness, but with some separation of rooms.
History of the Open Floor Plan
Post WWII, we started to see open floor plan designs start to appear as a first-floor configuration without doors. Architects like Frank Lloyd Wright began to design homes with a large open living space that combined dining areas and living areas, often separated by a large open fireplace. The kitchen was still a separate space serving a utilitarian purpose. This layout is still the hallmark of midcentury modern design.
However, open floor plans continued to evolve, with today’s first-floor space almost entirely free of interior walls. Natural light is able to spread through the home. The kitchen, now considered the heart of the home, allows people to have shared culinary experiences, parents to keep an eye on kids while cooking or cleaning up, and guests to gather nearby without feeling disconnected.
Lately, some of the most heard reasons for wanting more defined spaces is that open-concept floor plans provide little sense of privacy. As the millennial generation starts to have children, privacy becomes even more important. Mom or dad may want a room to get away from others for a while, other than the bathroom, or have a designated play space so toys are not spread across the living room.