Open-plan living is when walls and doors are taken down, merging different rooms into one large space. Generally, this is seen when walls are knocked down and the kitchen, living room, and dining room become a single flowing space.
While open-plan living has its upsides, over-reliance on the scheme comes with its risks. To determine if it’s the right way to proceed, you should consider your lifestyle and needs — and if they’re affected by the risks of over-reliance on open-plan living, you may want to reconsider your choice.
Keep reading as we share the downsides of open-plan living and check to see if they apply to your lifestyle!
Compromise on Privacy and Unobstructed Noise Travel
Having an open-plan living area can bring family together and contribute to a bustling environment, but it also means less privacy. If you have noisy kids, or your partner is binge-watching a show you haven’t caught up on, your open-plan living plan won’t provide enough privacy to accommodate the situation.
Open-plan living also allows unobstructed noise travel. Surfaces absorb noise, and with a lack of walls, noise will travel throughout the space without any obstruction. So, with working at home becoming a norm, finding a quiet area to focus (or study) may become difficult. Choosing to do these tasks in the bedroom is an option, but it may not be a practical solution if the room size is too small.
If you do opt for an open-concept living plan, consider these ways to reduce noise.
Reduced Energy Efficiency
The bigger the space, the more difficult it is to keep it warm or cool. This is because fewer walls make it difficult to preserve heat in winter and keep the space cool in summer. This is also enhanced by the fact that open-plan living spaces usually have high ceilings. So, the ways to keep your home warm will generally be less effective in open-floor plans, thus affecting your utility costs.
Kitchen Integration Concerns
The kitchen is better when kept separate, especially if you don’t like the smell of food wafting throughout your entire home! Pungent food aromas tend to spread across the space and permeate into furnishings and rugs, affecting the ambience of your interior.
Open-plan kitchens may also be unsafe if you have kids. It can be difficult to keep little ones away from hot appliances and other dangerous tools if the kitchen is fully accessible at all times.
Fewer Opportunities for Wall Decor
Open-plan living means breaking down walls. And fewer walls mean less space to hang artwork, wall-mounted shelving to display your favourite souvenirs, and other wall decor ideas. If you love adding character to your space with meaningful art, an open-plan living plan will restrict the opportunity and provide little space for satiating your inner wall art-lover.
Less wall space translates to minimal storage opportunities, so you have fewer ways to hide and store items. This means organising your home through compartmentalised spaces will not always work for your open-floor plan. If you’re knocking down the walls, it’s essential to find new storage solutions. An example would be incorporating multifunctional furniture featuring hidden storage compartments.
Additionally, open-plan living spaces mean surfaces that tend to be cluttered are always on display. This includes kitchen countertops that can quickly get cluttered when you cook, the sink that is frequently filled with dishes — or the dining table that may be messy while your children do homework.
Eliminating Load-Bearing Walls May Be Expensive
When you think of adopting an open-concept plan, your first thought while looking at walls to break down should be — is that a load-bearing wall? Here are some tips on how you can tell if a wall is load-bearing or not.
If you want to know with for sure if your wall can be knocked down, show your wall to one of our Structural Engineering Gurus over a video call, and they will help you determine if it’s a load-bearing wall.
Knocking down such key walls is a very hefty task in terms of expenses, and always requires professional assistance. Such walls are often replaced with beams to hold the weight of your home, and these come at a huge cost.
Remember, what works for someone else may not always work for you. If the above-mentioned concerns don’t affect your family, for example, you don’t cook in much, don’t have little ones around, live alone and don’t have privacy concerns, or you’re not fond of displaying too much art so don’t need wall space anyway, the open-concept living plan can work perfectly for you! It all boils down to personal preferences and requirements.
Struggling to decide whether or not you should opt for open-plan living? Get in touch with one of our Interior Design Gurus for advice personalised to your needs and lifestyle!