Open concept floor plans have been a popular design feature in residential Dallas homes for decades, and their popularity is only growing. They offer the most effective way to develop a larger communal living space that also increases the perceived size of a home’s interior.
A home with an open floor plan includes traditional enclosed rooms such as bathrooms and bedrooms but has as its core feature an open spacious ‘great room’ – typically including the living room, dining room, and kitchen. This open space maximizes communication, room flow, multifunctionality, daylight, and a home’s potential for entertaining large groups.
If you’re looking to design an open concept floor plan as part of your next home remodel, here are some ideas to consider:
Open Floor Plan Possibilities
There are several different open floor plan configurations from which to choose, depending on your existing property and lifestyle preferences.
An open kitchen and dining room space is excellent if you love to cook and eat together as a family and regularly entertain dinner guests. You can prepare food and at the same time chat with those seated at the dining table. A kitchen island might act as a subtle functional divider if desired. The main living space is kept separate.
An open dining room and living room space is similarly perfect for families and friends who love to eat and entertain together. In this configuration, the kitchen is kept separate. This can work well if you prefer to cook in relative privacy and wish to reduce the amount of food odor potentially wafting into the main living space.
An open kitchen, dining room, and living room space is the best of all worlds. This configuration is a perfect plan if you want zero divisions in the main areas of your home. You can cook and simultaneously chat to guests and family members who might be seated at the dining table, sipping drinks at the kitchen island, or sharing vacation anecdotes on the sofa – or all three.
Know What’s Hidden
Before removing walls and opening up your existing floor plan, it’s important to consider what might be impacted by such decisions. Television home improvement shows often make knocking down internal walls look more straightforward than it really is. But it’s also not that complicated with some professional guidance.
The key is to know what’s hidden in the walls and what can be moved. For example, interior walls might contain water pipes, HVAC ducts, and electrical wiring. These will need to be identified and then carefully rerouted.
Foundational limitations also need to be taken into consideration. For example, the removal of internal walls might result in more pressure on areas of your foundations that might first require strengthening.
Load Bearing Walls
Some internal walls are essential to the structural integrity of your home. These are commonly known as load-bearing walls (or structural walls) and carry a significant portion of the weight of a building’s structure, from the foundations through to the roof.
Load-bearing walls can be tricky to identify without expert assistance. They also vary in importance depending on the number of stories your home has. Removing a particular load-bearing wall might be possible but will require an alternative way of supporting that section of the building.
Half walls or flush beams are popular methods for opening a wall without impacting structural integrity.
As well as technical and structural issues, there are also a number of design considerations that go into creating the perfect open floor plan.
Maximize the perceived space
You can further maximize the open and airy feel of an open plan interior by raising the height of the ceiling or altering its shape. For example, vaulted ceilings increase the perceived size of the space, as do traditional coffered ceilings and eye-catching recessed tray ceilings.
Modifying existing staircases can also add to the expansive appearance. Flanking walls can be removed thereby opening up staircases. Removing the risers between each step will create a floating staircase look. You can replace old bulky banisters with stylish metal rails.
What do you see from one space to another? The view you have in front of you from any point in your home is called a sightline and is an essential consideration when designing a beautiful residential interior.
A positive sightline can enhance the sense of openness and flow, while a poor one can make the interior feel bland and restrictive. So before opening up your floor plan, consider where the most critical sightlines begin and end and what you will see from much-used points in your home.
You’ll also want to bear in mind what you want to be hidden from view – such as bathrooms and bedrooms – as well as safety-related issues such as being able to keep an eye on young children.
Keep scale in mind
When designing an open concept floor plan, it’s vital to keep scale in mind. For example, you don’t want an oversized kitchen zone overpowering the rest of the space. An open plan design is about balance and ensuring plenty of room for each zone.
The same also applies to furniture and lighting. Consider how each addition will work in relation to the overall space.
When it comes to zones, it’s usually sensible to define these in some way. A successful open plan design creates a unified space, but each zone still has its unique function and role. Rugs and furniture make excellent visual divides between zones while keeping the space open.
Paint is another wonderful way to define spaces further. You can potentially achieve this by painting a wall, nook, or even part of a ceiling a different color or shade.
Recover storage space
The removal of walls and the widening of windows often erases the space where cabinetry and closets were once placed. Consider how you can win back some important storage room with innovative storage solutions for open concept floor plans.
For example, multifunctional room dividers with built-in shelves allow you to create more definition for different zones while also increasing your storage potential. Think vertically as well. You might seek to increase the height of wall-based shelving and cabinets, especially if you have high ceilings.
Invest in furniture pieces with inbuilt storage features, such as coffee tables, ottomans, and kitchen carts. Use any nooks and crannies to develop shelving, cabinets, or hooks, such as around doorways, under staircases, beneath flush beams, and in ceiling arches.
A Warning About an Open Floor Plan
Open-plan interiors have many benefits, but there are also some drawbacks to bear in mind before a remodel.
The Covid-19 pandemic significantly changed how we work as a society, and private spaces in the home have become increasingly desired features. Open floor plans don’t necessarily lend themselves well to working from home or homeschooling.
The cost of heating and cooling a larger open space is another factor to consider. It’s potentially more expensive to keep a bigger space warmer or cooler than it is with more traditional enclosed rooms.
Noise can also be a problem, with sound carrying further than would otherwise be the case. Similarly, odors from cooking and dining may linger in the living room zone without proper ventilation.
Then there’s upkeep. With fewer walls to hide untidy areas, there’s more of a necessity to keep everything clean and decluttered. Unfortunately, even the smallest amount of clutter can make the entire space look messy.
But all these are drawbacks that can be overcome with proper planning around your lifestyle and preferences.
Renovating Your Dallas Home
Before embarking on a new home remodeling project, it’s sensible to sit down with experienced remodeling professionals. With proper guidance and correct planning, you’ll be able to achieve the home renovation of your dreams.
The design-build remodeling team here at Blackline Renovations in Dallas can help you with every aspect of your home upgrade. From the initial meetings to creative design and final construction, we’ll be by your side and guiding you through every step.
We offer friendly and expert in-home consultations where we discuss your specific needs and provide you with the optimal design solutions to meet them.
Call us today at 214-827-3747 or schedule a conversation to discuss ideas for your home.