Homeowners love open-concept floor plans, and oftentimes, it’s a requirement for many new home buyers. For those looking to remodel, maximizing and opening up a space is an attractive upgrade. But is this concept right for you and your home? In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of this particular floor plan, along with different floor plan ideas, and how Tilghman Builders approaches this type of project with its customers.
The Pros and Cons
There are many benefits to an open-concept design that make this floor plan a popular choice among homeowners. An open floor plan is achieved when common spaces, such as the kitchen, living room, and dining room, are grouped together without partition walls, resulting in an open, communal space with an inviting layout and easy traffic flow.
A Sense of Togetherness
Perhaps one reason this design has gained so much popularity is due to the sense of togetherness it creates. The kitchen is commonly thought of as the heart of the home and the center of social activity. Whether during family time or while entertaining guests, it’s where people congregate the most. The open-concept plan allows family members to focus on their own activities, whether cooking, homework, or playing, while still being able to see and communicate with one another. When entertaining guests, the main areas of the home blend into one large party space. If you are cooking in the kitchen, you’ll still be able to interact with your guests. Additionally, this plan encourages traffic flow from one room to another, helping to avoid overcrowding.
Keep an Eye on Young Children
Open-concept living is especially attractive to young and growing families. If you are preparing a meal, doing dishes, or working at the kitchen table, you can still keep an eye on children as they play, even if outside.
The construction of open-concept floor plans has become very practical thanks to innovations in materials and methods such as steel structural beams, central heating systems, drywall, and cinder-block construction that make it easier to build rooms that span long spaces and serve them efficiently with heating. Additionally, having fewer barriers opens up the space, making it feel larger, and the shared light from windows in exterior walls improves the distribution of natural lighting throughout the home.
Flexibility in Layout and Functionality
Without walls, it is easy to reconfigure your main living space to suit changing or temporary needs, such as hosting a large meal or setting up a work-from-home station. There is more open space to move or rearrange furnishings and accessories, and the space can serve as a family room, recreation room, home office, or entertainment space according to the occasion.
While there are many advantages to open-concept floor plans, they aren't for everyone. When choosing a layout for your home, you should consider your individual needs and priorities.
Higher Energy and Construction Costs
Without partition walls, open-concept homes depend on steel or laminated beams for support, which can be costly to install. Furthermore, the entire space must be heated or cooled, whereas a traditional floor plan allows you to heat or cool only certain rooms. These layouts often have great rooms with high ceilings, which can be more expensive to heat and cool. And while the large windows often found in an open-concept layout can be great for lighting, they can make your home warmer in the summer and colder in winter, further driving up those energy costs.
Reduced Sound Control and Privacy
The downside of the communal environment created by an open floor plan is the potential for poor noise control and lack of privacy. For example, you might find it disruptive if you are working or studying in the living room while others are cooking and carrying on conversations in the kitchen. In the case of a two-story house, the high ceilings and lack of barriers also allow noise from conversation, music, or television to travel upstairs where little ones may be sleeping.
Difficulty Managing Clutter
Traditional floor plans allow you to confine furnishings and other items, such as paperwork and toys, to their designated spaces. With an open layout, such items can be more difficult to “hide” or may encroach into other areas of the home.
Open-Floor Plan Ideas
If you decide an open-concept floor plan is the right fit for you, there are many options for making the space both functional and unique. Consider how you will use the space. Do you plan on a lot of entertaining? Cozy nights by the fire? Working from home? Think about what design choices will help make the space your own.
Visualize the space as a series of rooms. While open floor plans are meant to be just that—open—you’ll still want to separate areas for different purposes. For instance, rugs are a great way to define an area, such as a foyer, or place beneath a furniture grouping to create a living area. Incorporating a sectional sofa is another method for zoning off the living space. You can also assign different personalities across the space by switching up paint and wallpaper choices or by using an accent wall, but be sure to stick to the same color palette in order to maintain the fluid feel.
Rugs are also useful for absorbing sound. Reduce the noise that is often amplified by an open floor plan by using these and other soft materials, such as pillows, cushions, and heavy curtains, throughout the space.
Connect to the Outside
Use floor-to-ceiling glass windows or doors to expand your open feel to the outside. The backyard will become an extension of your interior space, a great option for both entertaining and keeping an eye on children while they play. The larger windows and doors will also enhance the natural lighting throughout your home.
Make the Fireplace a Focal Point
A double-sided fireplace is a statement piece that nicely divides the kitchen and living space, helping to create zones, while also spreading warmth throughout the home and adding a cozy factor to the open space.
Add a Rustic Touch
A barn door can accomplish many things for an open-concept floor plan. It’s an on-trend solution that can create temporary privacy, offer a reprieve from noise or just help define a zoned area. This option would be useful while working or for having a movie night.
What to Expect: The Tilghman Approach
The end result of an open living floor plan looks fantastic, but working with a reputable and experienced contractor is a must. This is not the project to DIY or cut corners on. Opening up spaces involves removing walls, and keeping the home structurally sound is crucial. Once customers qualify for open-concept floor remodeling with Tilghman Builders, work is done right away. Measurements and photographs are taken during the initial visit, and preliminary design plans are soon in the works. Customers will then receive a detailed rough estimate of cost, within a 5% margin of error, which is rare to find among most contractors.
Customer Project Spotlight
Tilghman Builders has designed open floor plans for many clients. For the Briarcliff project, the upper kitchen cabinets were removed to add windows across the length of the home, giving more natural light to the space. The room was expanded to offer additional seating, and the island dining option allows better traffic flow throughout. Columns and counter space define zones between the kitchen and living area while allowing plenty of openness for conversation. This family will enjoy the comfort of this modernized space for years to come.
“Great to work with. Very professional team. Eric was our team leader who managed all project details efficiently and with a focus on our needs and ideas. What a fun group to work with! I will miss them but happy that my home makeover – especially my kitchen – is done and done beautifully. Plan future projects with the Tilghman group." –Maureen
The Creamery renovation features double islands, each with its own sink, allowing the owners to add seating and maximize the use of their kitchen. Pendant and recessed lighting complement the ample natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows and doors. The islands and open entry to the living space make traffic flow a breeze, while the vaulted ceiling and stone fireplace make the living space feel expansive, yet inviting, all coming together as a perfect spot for entertaining guests.
Open-concept living is a wonderful option for growing families and those who enjoy entertaining. From its large, spacious feel and ease of traffic flow to its versatility and added light, the open floor plan offers many attractive features. This type of plan also lends itself to many popular design choices, such as large windows, double-sided fireplaces, barn doors, and kitchen islands. However, the open layout may not suit every lifestyle. Working with the right builder can help you determine if an open-concept floor plan is the best choice for you and your family.
Here at Tilghman Builders, we specialize in home remodeling and renovations, serving Pennsylvania homes like yours in Bucks County and Montgomery County for over 40 years. If you’re considering an open-concept model, connect with us to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to creating a space you will love for years to come.