Open floor plan living spaces started to become popular in the 70s, and still rules the real estate market today.
An open floor plan means that there are fewer separations (or walls) that partition the space inside a home. The biggest advantage it brings is that the open living space encourages communication and bonding in the household.
The average condo size in the country is around 40 sqm. Some are as tiny as 15 sqm. Even if you go up to 90 sqm and above, most of the condos on offer have open floor plans, especially for kitchen-dining-living spaces.
There are other reasons than just the design modernity, or practicality because it would be difficult to divide a 15 sqm space and make it work, for example. Nevertheless, there is a way to make a tiny home with an open floor plan a beautiful and cozy one. Read How to Maximize Your Tiny Condo.
The Advantages of Open Floor Plan Living Spaces
There are many benefits to have such a floor plan inside the home.
1. Better communication
An open space is more conducive to better communication among the family members. This lack of physical barriers allows the people at home to see, hear, and connect with each other.
Filipinos are a very social people. Most of us have close relationships not only with family members but also friends, who more often than not, are treated as part of the family. With living room, kitchen, and dining area configured as one space, socializing also becomes easier to do. Now that the world has opened up, such an open space makes get-togethers much easier for the hosts to manage.
2. Natural light is maximized
Without too many partitions, natural light can stream unimpeded throughout the different areas. This is definitely an advantage if the number of windows is limited and located at only one side of the home.
The challenge would be to get the artificial lighting right with a combination of ambient or general lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting.
3. Better traffic flow
With less rooms to navigate, it would be much easier for traffic flow in the home especially during the busy times, like in the mornings before everyone leaves for work or school.
4. Multifunctional spaces
We learned how to maximize the use of living spaces during the pandemic during the quarantine when we had to find spaces to double as a home office for the adults and a study space for the kids. Depending on the time of day, an open floor plan could be used as a family room, a recreational space, a home office, an exercise studio, etc.
The Disadvantages of Open Floor Plan Living Spaces
There are also disadvantages to having an open floor plan.
1. Lack of privacy
Even if the family is close-knit, privacy is still something that people would like to have. For example, conducting a business discussion is difficult to do when there are people milling about. It is distracting.
It also goes without saying that the lack of privacy is because the open space can become noisy. If you’re a student, it would be hard to concentrate. So yes, sometimes it is good to have a private space when focus is required.
Kitchen smells may not be welcome if you’re in the living room. When oily and pungent smells permeate your clothes and the rest of the house, it can become unpleasant.
3. More expensive to cool
An open space is more expensive to cool. During summer when it can get really warm, turning on the aircon may be necessary to stay comfortable inside the home. With a bigger space though, this may be more expensive.
4. Upkeep is important
Keeping the place tidy is non-negotiable. Dishes in the sink, clutter in the living room, a dirty dining table—all these bring down life quality. Having an open floor plan is a good exercise in the family’s discipline to keep the place neat and tidy.
The Importance of Design Choices
For open floor plan spaces, design choices for the different functional areas should be cohesive. In other words, your choice of sofa, dining table and chairs, and kitchen fittings matter to the overall look and feel.
One way of creating that cohesion is having a single paint color for the walls. On the other hand, if you want to zone the spaces, having different paint colors in each space can also work. Just make sure that the colors go well together. When you choose colors or materials for home accessories, furniture, fittings, and fabrics, take into consideration the whole open floor plan space, and not just sections of it.
You may want to bring in an interior designer to help you with design choices. If you don’t have the budget for it, then do read up on
The Seven Principles of Interior Design
The Seven Elements of Interior Design
The 60-30-10 Rule for Colors
The 80-20 Rule
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