This month our focus falls on living spaces. Some inspirational photos, talk about open plan living and even how to enclose open living spaces. Two decades ago the ideal house would have consisted of separate rooms, each one for a specific purpose. The more rooms you had definitely made the house more attractive on the market! Do keep in mind that the houses built at that time was bigger and built on larger plots.
As times have changed, and the cities filled up, space became an issue. With this came the trend of open plan living spaces. This would normally combine the Kitchen, Dining room, Living room (and in South Africa even the Braai room) in one big space. Here are some pros and cons to consider when planning you new house or renovation.
Conventional house layout Open plan layout
Space – Having one open living area will give the illusion and feel of more space than three or four separated rooms, with great flow between the different areas. This option also lends to furniture to be moved around easier, without going around walls and through narrow door openings.
Family togetherness – Open plan design allows parents to fulfill their household duties, like cooking or cleaning, while keeping an eye on the kids playing in the Living room. This way the family wouldn’t feel quarantined while each is busy with their own activity.
Entertaining – Having a dinner party but the hostess is hidden in the Kitchen? Not with an open plan design. When the Kitchen, Dining room and even the Living room are connected it makes it much easier to entertain as you could cook and join in the conversation.
Airflow and natural light – Without walls in the way light and fresh air can travel freely through the room. And not to mention the uninterrupted views to the outdoors!
Easy to separate areas – Should you wish to temporary separate areas there is a number of options to choose from. From furniture, like room dividers and cabinets, to design options, like glass or wooden folding doors or built fireplaces.
Example of an open plan design –
Keeping it clean – When one area of the open plan living area is messy it reflects over the entire room. This is especially true when looking at the Kitchen. Having a tucked away Scullery will take care of this problem.
Heating and cooling – Heating of cooling a big room takes a lot longer and will definitely cost a lot!
Noisy and busy – Due to the many areas within an open plan living area, the room could get very noisy and busy. As each household member is a different age and have a different schedule this could cause distractions and interruptions.
Privacy – Keep privacy in mind especially when thinking about the study and bathrooms. When the study is a part of the living room, cooking or watch TV could be disruptive for the person using the study. The same applies when having the En-suite open to the bedroom. Light and noise from the En-suite could disturb your partner sleeping in the bedroom.
Limited space against walls – When most of the internal walls are taken out, you are only left with the external walls, which are mostly occupied by windows and doors. For the art enthusiast this will be disappointing!
Example of a conventional design –
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