PROPERTY NEWS - Open-plan living has become an incredibly popular layout choice for homeowners and renters alike. But while open-plan living has many pros - well-suited to hosting dinner parties and giving the illusion of space and openness, amongst others - it is worthwhile considering the potential cons before deciding to renovate or move into an open-plan space.
These drawbacks to open-plan living may make you reconsider your decision.
Line of sight
While an open-plan configuration is great for entertaining (who wants to be stuck in the kitchen away from their guests?), it can cause anyone who is house-proud a bit of discomfort knowing that their guests can see the dirty pots and pans left behind during the cooking process!
Furthermore, you may be the kind of person who battles to unwind if you can see a pile of dishes in the sink - and with nowhere else to put them, "out of sight, out of mind" isn't an option!
Lack of privacy
Open-plan living is great for fostering a sense of togetherness and sharing. However, sometimes you may want to escape it all, which can often prove difficult when there's very little privacy on offer apart from your bedroom or a bathroom! Similarly, if you're trying to get some work done, make an important phone call or even have a private conversation, an open-plan arrangement doesn't lend itself to accommodating you.
Moreover, if you prefer peace and quiet and the pleasure of vegging out alone in front of the TV, open-plan living will definitely be the wrong choice for you.
Anyone with a family knows how loud things can get, especially when everyone is in the same space! Add a range of in-use electronic devices to the mix and the noise level could become unbearable. Sound also travels much easier in an open-plan environment, especially those with hardwood floors and high ceilings.
If you do opt for an open-plan space, be sure to use rugs and/or fabric wall hangings to combat echoes or unwanted acoustic noise, otherwise you might find yourself wanting to escape the cacophony but with little option as to where to go.
Controlling the temperature
It is very difficult to control the temperature in big, open spaces. It can also be quite costly to heat or cool, depending on your seasonal needs, so this should be kept in mind when viewing an open-plan space or building with the intention of going the open-plan route.
If you live in an area where the temperatures are extreme, you could opt for an open-plan space with a few sub-divided areas to keep costs down and manage the temperature easily.
Managing a large space
A big consideration when it comes to an open-plan layout is whether you have enough furniture and decorative items to fill a large space. Not having enough furniture in the space can make it feel empty, or even too big. Conversely, it's difficult to bring in a warm, homey feel without any walls, so trying to decorate and achieve the aesthetic you want could prove challenging if not considered and planned for properly.
Storage and display
In an open-plan area with less available wall and storage space, the opportunity to store and display items is greatly reduced. It also often means that your home constantly needs to be tidied to avoid it looking chaotic, cluttered or untidy.
On the other hand, in trying to make sure everything is kept pristine and in its proper place, your space runs the risk of looking sterile and unlived-in, so a lot of thought and effort needs to go into striking a balance between these two extremes.
Ultimately, open-plan living is not for everyone. It all comes down to personal preference and what will work best for you. It really is worth considering the type of person you are and the kind of activity your home will be known for, before you find yourself living in an open environment with nowhere to run… or hide!
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