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  • Writer's pictureInteriors Withlove

Open Concept vs. Traditional Floor Plan?

More often than not, renovation projects knock down walls and remove doors to create wide open spaces. But with many companies announcing employees will be working from home—even after the pandemic is over—we began wondering if this popular home trend will start to lose its appeal.

An open floor plan creates the feeling of more square footage without actually adding to your space. But it comes with its disadvantages, including a lack of privacy. “Sure, an open design is great when you’re socializing or when you need to keep an eye on small children, but when everyone is working and studying from home, things can get stressful pretty quickly with no doors to shut.

For years, an open design has been high on many prospective buyers ‘must have’ list and has, without doubt, added value to a seller’s home. Open concept living hasn’t completely lost its appeal, young couples and families are now requesting more closed-off spaces, including an office or extra bedroom, which are things that wouldn’t have been a priority prior to the pandemic.

Will walls and doors once again become fashionable?

Traditional Homes Will Make a Comeback

More delineation between spaces allows you to feel like you're not always sitting in one room. Traditional homes where designers refrain from taking down every possible wall are making a bit of a comeback. The open concept was kind of already on the way out before the pandemic, which only accelerated the departure.

Dividing Up Spaces is "IN"

Design has shifted from a focus on entertaining spaces to creating ‘destination rooms,’ like a study, front parlor, or music room. In older homes, where we had previously taken down walls, spaces are being divided once again and clients are looking for traditional layouts, which often includes a first-floor guest bedroom. These flex spaces that can easily shift from remote learning to welcoming guests or extended family members in the future.

The Emphasis is on Functionality

Open concept design is not a good fit for everyone, seems like more and more homeowners are wanting dedicated spaces for classrooms, offices, and private places to have meetings. We are reimagining basements and media rooms, and putting more functions into dens and offices.

Open Concept Will Become Impractical

In the eyes of the new homeowners, open plan is lacking practicality. Wide open kitchen can be very impractical, especially when you have a client who cooks often, as do most people these days. Most don't want the sights and smells traveling to the living area where they spend most of their time.

Rethink Layouts

The work-from-home policies will create greater demand for homes with separation and privacy. In dense cities where square footage is extremely limited, apartments with open concept design could get subdivided with glass walls or French doors to maintain a sense of openness while allowing natural light to permeate throughout the space. This concept could be used in most homes as well.

Open Concept isn't completely going away

Many people don't want to go back to the more traditional home layouts, with smaller, private rooms that tend to feel a bit claustrophobic. The biggest effect work-from-home will have on the open concept floor plan is how we utilize it. With technology, custom millwork, and the ability to carve out specific areas within the larger space, it's possible to create an inviting and functional live, work, play, and study environment.

Embracing Flexibility is Key Open-plan design has an enduring appeal will not change for city dwellers where joint living-room and kitchens are too small to subdivide. The differences, while subtle, will be that the spaces we inhabit will become more flexible and dexterous. For example, coffee tables will become table height, while electric sockets will get closer to the sofa and dining table.

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