Open Concept vs. Rooms

Architecture and interior design work together, or at least are supposed to, but when debating between open concept and rooms, there’s a lot to take into consideration: Do you prefer smaller, quiet spaces, or do you anticipate hosting many parties/events? Are you drawn in by modern design or a classic look? Are your kids young and require constant supervision, or are they older and looking for their own space?

This article is intended to help you decide which floor plan is best suited for you and your families lifestyle; open conceptvs rooms.

WHAT IS OPEN CONCEPT

Barriers are eliminated with open concept homes. Walls don’t stand in the way anymore resulting in a seemingly larger layout. With open concept floor plans, hallways, and doors are limited, in hopes of creating a more inviting space. When the room isn’t decorated or utilized properly, however, a colder, unwelcoming atmosphere takes over instead. 

BENEFITS OF OPEN CONCEPT

  • SPACE: In smaller homes, walls take up space. With an open concept design, walls aren’t there to break up the flow and foot traffic of your home. 
  • VERSATILITY: Being able to turn your floor plan into anything you want creates freedom for your interior design. The lack of walls makes it easy to designate areas for different purposes, making it easy to redesignate and redecorate whenever you want. 
  • SAFETY: When it comes to families with kids, it’s easier to keep an eye on them at all times when you’re in the same room. This means you can be preparing dinner in the kitchen while keeping an eye on the kids while they watch TV.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: An open concept floor plan is beneficial for people requiring mobility aids. Navigating hallways and doorways can otherwise be difficult. 
  • NATURAL LIGHT: One of my favourite benefits of an open concept home is the abundance of natural light filling the room. Since walls aren’t around to break up the space, the light can disperse creating a warmer, brighter atmosphere. 

DRAWBACKS TO OPEN CONCEPT

  • ODOURS: Smells can travel much easier throughout the home, this is fantastic if you’re baking cookies but that’s not always the case. 
  • NOISE: It can be difficult to have a conversation in the kitchen, while the TV is on just a few meters away. 
  • TEMPERATURE CONTROL/EFFICIENCY: A larger room can feel more drafty and it’s harder to control the temperature of the space. 
  • PRIVACY: There aren’t many other options for family members to hang out in solitude, except for their bedrooms. 

WHAT IS CLOSED CONCEPT

This is a traditional floor plan, which many older (unrenovated) homes have. As you probably guessed, it means multiple rooms are separated by walls, with doors to further close off each room. Every area of the home is a designated space, including kitchens, living rooms, and playrooms. 

BENEFITS OF CLOSED CONCEPT

  • TIDINESS: A closed floor plan makes it easier to hide clutter. 
  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY: In an open floor plan, the entire space must be cooled or heated. In closed floor plans, rooms that aren’t used that often can be left alone while the warm or cool air you’re looking for stays in the popular areas of the home. Better efficiency means lower utilities.
  • SOUND CONTROL: If you have kids, you know how well sound travels, inevitably they will seem much louder in an open concept home. 
  • INTERIOR DESIGN: From a designers point of view, a closed concept is more appealing because it allows each room to have its own theme/feeling. It’s also more difficult to hang shelves or pictures in an open concept floor plan. 

DRAWBACKS TO CLOSED CONCEPT

  • LESS NATURAL LIGHT: Even if every room had a window, sunshine will still have a harder time reaching all the rooms the same way with an open concept.
  • SMALLER SPACES: Not only will each room feel smaller, but some floor space is lost thanks to the walls, and the likely addition of a hallway.
  • LESS ACCESSIBILITY: Many door frames are too narrow for some mobility equipment, especially wheelchairs. Additionally, it can be harder to keep the mobility device nearby, because of the lack of space in a smaller room.