Real Estate Buying Advice: The Pros and Cons of Open Concept Homes
Wednesday Jun 26th, 2019
Open concept homes are certainly on-trend, especially in spaces where cooking, eating and entertaining happen. And, chances are, if you are buying a new build home today, you are almost guaranteed an open concept floor plan. In fact, when polled by the National Association of Home Builders, 84 percent of builders in the United States said that the kitchen-family room arrangement is completely or partially open in the homes they construct. While this is an American stat, the same premise is true for Canadians.
For buyers that are venturing down the presale route, many are opting to purchase houses that have a traditional layout with the goal of completing a major home renovation to create an open concept space. This type of project is a big undertaking with structural and design requirements to keep in mind, as well as municipal codes, electrical considerations, plumbing challenges and HVAC improvements. Needless to say, this is the type of undertaking that’s best left to professionals versus a DIY-er.
But, even with its popularity, there are some pros and cons to consider when buying an open concept home or remodelling your space into one. It’s not a layout for everyone and it’s better to know if it will suit your lifestyle and home life prior to purchasing or taking on a big renovation.
Benefits of an open floor plan
- Smarter use of space: Unlike a traditional layout that has walls and doors keeping spaces contained to one or two uses, an open floor plan offers homeowners greater versatility with how they utilize their square footage. Open floor plan homes also feel larger and less claustrophobic, and they eliminated underused spaces.
- Better natural lighting: By removing walls from living spaces, natural light is able to travel throughout rooms, reducing the need for artificial light during the day and making the home feel larger, brighter and airier.
- Improved social connections: Whether entertaining guests or keeping an eye on young children while doing chores, open concept spaces make it easier to be social, connect and be with family without feeling on top of one another.
- Open sight lines: With no walls to block your view, the beauty of your home, family and decor are on full display.
Challenges of an open floor plan
- Containing cooking smells and excess heat: Pungent aromas and heat from the oven will waft throughout open concept spaces, which may be a turn-off for some homeowners. A heavy-duty vent can help keep smells and residual heat contained, but they can be noisy.
- Less formal living: If you are a person that enjoys formal occasions within the home, an open concept floor plan might feel too casual for you. Many new builds are eliminating the traditional dining room in favour of more living space or a smaller eat-in area in the kitchen.
- Minimal privacy: If you are an introvert that likes to recharge by your lonesome or have family members with competing interests, like watching sports, reading quietly or playing video games, a traditional layout might be a better solution for when you crave privacy.
- Noise: Walls and doors act like sound absorbers and when they are removed in favour of an open floor plan, you will have more noise to contend with.
- Harder to contain messes: The benefit of a traditional floor plan is being able to hide messes by simply closing a door, while an open concept living space puts them on display, whether you want to share them or not.
If you are in the market for a new home, consider if an open concept layout is right for you. If you are a regular entertainer or have young children, there are numerous benefits when choosing an open floor plan. However, downsizers with personal hobbies and interests, or folks who prefer a more formal touch, might appreciate a traditional layout with segregated areas to carry out daily life. In the end, this is a very personal decision. Take both the pros and cons into consideration and choose a home layout that's the best fit for your family.
To learn more about your options, contact me, Deborah Clerk, Real Estate Sales Representative, ASA with Keller Williams Realty Solutions, Brokerage in Mississauga, Ontario.