Building a house is one exciting adventure. It’s completely your own and has everything you want, just the way you want it. There’s very little compromise compared to buying an already built home. There are also a lot of decisions to be made in the process. The first thing you want to nail down, what kind of layout are you going to build? There are two options; close it up in a “traditional” style or open it up and let everything just flow together in one great room. Both have their merits, their appeal, and their drawbacks. Let us help you weigh the options.

Come On In!

Nothing is more inviting than an open floor plan. There are no walls, so everything is accessible to your eyes and the rest of your body. For the hostess with the mostest, this is a huge attraction. Nothing breaks up a party more than sectioned off rooms. It’s hard to gather everyone around for games or watch parties. Then there’s the issue of who gets stuck cooking and doing the dishes. The host – or guests – get cut off from the action when your kitchen is closed off from the rest of the house. Not so with an open plan. 

A Little Solitude Is Nice, Too

Some people like to listen to music while they cook while another person is trying to watch tv in the living room, or read a book. While the open and inclusive nature of an open plan is great, if you like being able to close the door on a room for a little alone time, well then you’re going to need a door and some walls. It really comes down to preference in this arena.

Keep It Clean

Open floor plans are gorgeous, until a few dishes get left out on the kitchen island. Or the mail starts to cover the dining room table. Or toys and bags and shoes are left strewn about the common area. In an open floor plan, when one part of the room is messy, the whole room is messy. In this way, containing your mess may feel more overwhelming than it actually is. But especially since the kitchen is in plain sight for all to see the second someone walks through the door, keeping it tidy becomes crucial to making the whole room look tidy. You simply have to tend to messes more frequently with an open floor plan.

Energy Efficient?

It actually takes more effort (and therefore energy, and therefore money) to keep an open floor plan at the perfect temperature. In a closed floor plan, the HVAC system is set up into zones, one zone for each room, and the doors between those zones can be opened or closed to contain or release heat and air. Close the doors with nobody in the room, and those zones don’t have to work as hard. In an open plan however, there are no walls or doors in which to trap the heat. You can give your HVAC system a little assist by installing heated floors and windows with UV coverings and glass filters, and then equip those windows with stellar treatments like curtains, blinds, or shades. But all in all, expect your energy bills to be higher in an open plan.

When it comes down to it, you want to choose what’s absolutely right for you. You can of course go for a combo of the two; open common areas (kitchen, living, and dining) and closed of intimate spaces (bedrooms, bathrooms, office). Or you can go full Frank Lloyd Wright and build only four walls and let the rest of the chips fall where you want them. The choice is ultimately yours to make. Weigh each of these points carefully and come to the conclusion that’s right for you and your family.