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The Evolution of Open Plan Homes Over the Decades

The Evolution of Open Plan Homes Over the Decades

Homes at one time had multiple small rooms, partly because they were easier to build and to heat in winter. In the late 1880s, however, home builders started replacing the smaller public rooms that had specific functions with larger spaces that could fulfil several purposes. The kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms remained enclosed areas, but the larger rooms were made possible by the new methods of central heating that enabled bigger spaces to be kept warm enough.

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the first architects to design homes based on a centralized kitchen area, which gave the housewife a chance to remain involved in family activities instead of being confined behind closed doors.

Growing in Popularity

The open plan concept grew in popularity during the 50s and 60s, with the development of the nuclear family under a home executive who simultaneously cooked and kept house while supervising the children. As land increased in price it became important to make the best possible use of the space available, and long passageways leading from one room to another were simply impractical. The idea of a “flow of activity” from one part of the home to another took hold, and houses were built to be more functional for the occupants than they were previously.

Advantages of Open Plan

This home style has a number of benefits for the residents, including:

#1. Interconnected spaces

The particular designs vary tremendously, but one of the defining characteristics of an open floor plan is the decrease in the number of walls separating the spaces. Most open plan houses have a large great room or central area, which acts as both a living and a dining room. The kitchen is adjacent to the main living area, which enables home builders to create a spacious environment that is comfortable and inviting and perfect for entertaining.

#2. More access to natural light

Open concept homes typically have walls either reduced in half or removed completely, which allows natural light to penetrate deeper into the home. Not only is access to sunlight more pleasurable, it releases endorphins that make residents happier and lowers your power usage and other costs of lighting.

#3. Increased family togetherness

This isn’t just about Mother keeping her eye on the kids – walls are made to keep people apart. A home with an open floor plan promotes family togetherness, with specific “zones” for activities such as sit-down dinners, homework, watching television and reading in private.

#4. Improved safety for seniors and children

Families with seniors or young children appreciate the value of being able to work while keeping an eye on vulnerable members. Open-plan homes offer unrestricted sight lines where responsible adults can be aware of everything without the need to keep physically checking on their charges.

#5. Better utilization of space

Open plan homes give the impression of being more spacious because of their design, which eliminates wasting space on non-essential walls and hallways. This enables home builders to get the most use out of the available footage.

#6. Enhanced energy efficiency

In addition to the benefits of natural light mentioned in #2 above, homeowners can expect to receive lower energy bills from an open plan home. This type of design is more energy efficient because it’s easier to heat and cool than many smaller rooms.


Where there are benefits there are also usually at least some disadvantages, and when it comes to open plan the three main ones are:

1. A lack of real privacy: Open plan can be uncomfortable for those family members who like their personal space, and cause you to end up having to use folding screens and room dividers that defeat the purpose.

2. Pressure to keep it tidy – you can no longer simply close the doors on a messy area, which means putting pressure on everyone in the household to keep the space tidy.

3. Higher noise factor -  it’s fully expected that you’ll experience an increase in noise levels in an open-plan environment. This is because multiple functions are co-existing in the same area, such as watching television and operating kitchen appliances simultaneously. Your home builders can partially resolve this issue by using textured finishes on walls and ceilings.

For more information about open-plan home developments such as the Crestwood or other new home styles, please contact Saddlebrook Properties at 1-865-966-8700.


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