When I purchased my family’s home about 9 years ago, I had no idea about would make for a good family home. It’s not until I had kids (twins) a few months after into moving into our house, did I begin to recognize what home features a mom truly appreciates in a house.
For one, I discovered that my home’s open floor plan can be ideal for raising a family. My kitchen looks out into the family room, which made it easy for me to keep an eye on my tots as I cooked in the kitchen.
The open floor is also great when we have friends and family over, because it gives us a lot of space in which to entertain.
The difference between an open floor plan (or an “open concept”) design and a traditional design is that in a traditionally designed home, the rooms on the main floor – such as the living room, dining room, family room and kitchen – are distinct spaces with their own rooms. For example, in a center hall Colonial (a very traditional home design) you might find a main hallway that leads to the kitchen, with the living and dining rooms on either side of that hallway, and perhaps a family room in the back portion of the house.
With an open floor plan home, on the other hand, you might enter directly into the living room, which will lead into a kitchen that may have only a half wall separating the kitchen from the family room, as my home is laid out.
Pros/Cons of Open Floor Plans
I’ve discovered, however, that an open floor plan isn’t always ideal. For one, since there are few walls to break up the space on the main floor of my home, that means that guests can see everything — including toys that need to be picked up or dishes that should be washed – almost immediately upon entering the home. Also, figuring out how to lay out furniture or paint the walls can be difficult, as all the spaces tend to run into each other.
For instance, the living room in my home seems more like a giant hallway (from the kitchen to the front door), so I still haven’t figured out how to furnish that room, as I don’t want the furniture to block traffic from the main staircase (leading upstairs) of our home and from the front door.
I have friends who wish that their home had an open floor plan (because they like the open spaces and the light found in open floor plan homes), while I have friends with open floor-plan homes who wish their home’s rooms were more compartmentalized to wall out the visual clutter and to keep down the noise (since noise travels more easily in an open floor-plan home).
If you are a very tidy person, or if your home has other spaces in which your children can play (such as a basement playroom), then an open floor plan home might suit your family just fine. But if keeping clutter to a minimum is a struggle and the home you have in mind doesn’t have another space (besides the main-floor living area of your home) in which your kids can play or store their toys, then perhaps you’d like a home with a more traditional design instead.