Open concept floor plans have become popular for the last two decades, particularly in urban areas where carpet area is less than in suburban areas. However, millennials now started to prefer closed floor plans due to their privacy advantages. Well, it’s still controversial to pick between an open concept floor plan and a closed floor plan. Both come with benefits, but can traditions keep up with the trends?
As per the new research, homes with open floor plans appreciate 7.4% per year, quoted realtor.com. At the same time, close floor plans don’t affect the resale value substantially.
I’ll get to the statistics at some point – let’s begin with a non-biased introduction to both floor plans.
Open Floor Plan
If you’re following HGTV, you can see they highly advocate open floor plans. Nearly every home renovation results in an open concept floor plan. Does that mean closed floor plans are dead?
No, their executives revealed that open concept plans were promoted because men love to watch open concept floor plans.
While both plans have their own advantages and disadvantages, let’s understand open floor plans,
An open floor plan refers to a residential open concept design where two or more common spaces have been joined to form a larger space by eliminating the partition walls. This does not necessarily mean that there are absolutely no doors or private spaces.
An open floor plan has private bedrooms, bathrooms, and home offices. The common area with the large space can be a combination of the dining room, kitchen, and living room. To be more precise, here are the top combinations of shared living spaces in the open floor plans.
- Shared Kitchen and Dining Room
- Shared Dining Room and Living Room
- Shared Kitchen, Dining Room, and Living Room.
The open floor plan is ideal for spaces under 3000 square feet. Beyond 3000 sq ft, your rooms will be spacious anyway, and you don’t need any open floor plan. However, this is not a rule. I’ve seen open floor plans in spaces over 3000 sq ft.
The shared common areas have their pros and cons, but we’ll get to the comparison once we’re done with closed floor plans.
Closed Floor Plan
A closed floor plan is a traditional floor plan where multiple rooms and areas are separated by walls and doors. Each area of the house becomes its own separate space or room, including the dining room, kitchen, and living room.
The closed concept home is generally preferred for more comfort, such as having adequate privacy and sound isolation to focus on work. While open floor plans have been trending for a long time, many modern homeowners have shifted to closed floor plans for their convenience.
Also, closed concept floor plans are returning to the trend after this pandemic, according to mydomaine.
Now that we have a good grasp of both architectural concepts, let’s find out the major differences or benefits that the plans have over each other. Here are the most essential and basic benefits of both floor plans.
The is no simple math about which plans are costlier or cheaper. It totally depends upon the way you want to build the house. While open plans look cheaper with less no of walls, it doesn’t like that.
Remember, renovation (closed floor-to-open floor or open floor-to-closed floor) will always cost more than building from scratch. Because, in the renovation, you add or remove walls which costs money.
For example, when you remove load-bearing walls for an open plan, your roof lacks support, and to overcome that, you may need to install point loads which may attract additional costs. A multi-story building costs much more to remove walls than a single-story building.
Let’s know the major extra costs when remodeling the open-to-close floor plans and vice versa.
Close to open floor transformation: wall removal cost ($300-$10k), floor transition installation ($80-$100/ strips), plumbing ($45-$200), electrical wiring ($50-$100), wallpaper removal ($1-$2/ sq ft), installing drywall ($1.50 per square foot), etc.
Open-to-close floor transformation: wall construction ($35-$150/hour), paint($20-$50/hour), point loads installation($50-$100/hour), wallpaper installation ($20-$80/hr ), moldings ($65 – $105/hour), etc.
Remember, I’ve just shared the labor charges. Material costs are extra.
angi.com has shared data about how much wall removal costs for different types of walls, i.e., non-load-bearing, load-bearing, and loading bearing with a multi-story building.
Not to forget, open concept floor plans will also use more energy, which could add to the costs in the long run. This is the reason why open space is said to be more expensive.
Safety is a vital factor, especially when you have kids around. The open concept floor plan concept provides for good safety as it is easier to keep an eye on the little ones. You can cook dinner in the kitchen and still be able to keep an eye on the kids in the living room or the dining room.
However, the downside is your kids will have open access to the kitchen without any barriers. They can touch kitchen appliances anytime, which is a safety hazard to me. Here’s a list of dangers your kid can face in the kitchen.
If you are a person that loves a little alone time every now and then, privacy must be essential to you. While the open floor plan provides some privacy in the bedrooms, the closed concept floor plan ensures that you do not get disturbed by any distractions. Hence, more privacy.
The work-from-home trend is rising, and 84% of people enjoy working from home, according to employementhero.com. That means people need privacy at home for their office work, such as zoom calls. Open office plans pose less privacy, and anytime your spouse or kids may appear in the zoom call background.
While the open floor plan does not provide much privacy, it ensures that the house is spacious. This is because the walls and other barriers are eliminated – making space for many furniture and appliances. Even a small home can be spacious inside an open floor plan house.
On the contrary, an open floor plan means your kitchen appliances, utensils, furniture, etc., can be viewed openly. If you’re unable to organize things, it’ll lead to visual clutter. These visual clutters can affect your mental health, as per verywellmind.com. If you don’t keep your home messy, an open floor plan is fine.
There are quite a few distractions in an open floor plan house – the smells from the kitchen can travel in the shared spaces. If you’re making Chinese or Asian Curries, the cooking fumes can travel all over the home and stick to the fabrics.
According to ScienceDirect, the kitchen is the noisiest place in the house. The kitchen remains open in an open floor plan. Hence, it may be hard to focus on work with the sound and the noises of other things, such as blenders, juicers, and whistling from the kettle.
A closed concept floor plan has better sound isolation, making it easier to focus on work.
Open floor plans can definitely make the house more spacious, but it is pretty hard to find an aesthetic that goes well with the whole house. Furniture arrangements can be a mess and require a lot of thinking. Since the area is large, there are many options to select from, and it can get very complicated – the dining room and living room have to coordinate with each other but also with the kitchen.
On the other hand, a closed concept floor plan house has more options for interior designing as every area and room has its own aesthetic. While the interior design may be cohesive throughout the home, not every design and detailing has to match.
However, one huge benefit of open house floor plans is the natural light flowing throughout the home. That is an aesthetic on its own.
Maintaining a closed floor plan is far easier than maintaining an open floor plan. Having guests over in the case of an open floor plan would mean cleaning the entire shared space. On the other hand, in a closed floor plan, you can simply clean up individual areas that the guests are meant to be in.
The resale value of an open floor plan is more than that of a closed floor plan. However, this depends on many factors, such as the location, market, and the home’s architectural style.
Statistically, more than 70% of buyers request an open floor plan when it comes to purchasing houses. This trend may change with time – but the popularity of house plans favors an open floor plan as of now.
As I said above, an open floor house has an appreciation value of 7.4% per year. This is also related to the type of flooring that has been used.
More Space for Entertainment
An open floor plan is better for entertainment due to the larger shared space. This can be a huge benefit of the floor plan if you are a person that is into house parties or an extended family and friends meetup. The kitchen, combined with the dining and living rooms, is spacious enough for everyone to blend in.
It’s a controversial question whether open or closed concept floor plans are energy efficient. In my opinion, it’s a tie.
Open floor plans have more open spaces without any barriers providing great ventilation. For that reason, it’s easier to heat or cool those spaces. Hence, lower energy bills.
On the flip side, in the closed floor plan, all the rooms and areas can have different temperatures. You can’t heat or cool the whole house at a time. You’ll pay bills for that small room you’re in, not for the whole house.
Nevertheless, with fewer walls, natural light will spread across the space easily without any hindrance, reducing your energy bill as you don’t have to turn on lights.
Parties and Events
If you are a person that hosts house parties or events at your house, an open floor plan would be a better choice. Open concept floor plans provide more shared space for a sociable environment. A research paper has published this fact.
Modern Or Classic
An open concept floor plan offers a more contemporary and modern look, whereas a closed floor plan provides a traditional look. There is no good or bad floor plan; it all depends on your tastes and preferences.
Here are some statistics and findings regarding the open floor plans vs. closed floor plans.
- According to the National Association of Home Builders, 84% of the builders said that the single-family homes they have worked on have partially opened their kitchen and living room. 54% of the builders had to do an open floor plan for the houses they worked on. Hence, hose owners prefer either partial or full open spaces.
- Research revealed that employees in open floor plan workspaces were found to be more sociable.
- A survey showed that 41% of remodelers had projects where they had to eliminate more walls to make an open floor plan more open.
Open floor plans are in trend, but the decision ultimately depends on your preference. There are many factors to consider before deciding which floor plan would suit you the best.