Open Plan Living: Is it Here To Stay?

Open Plan Living: Is it Here To Stay?

Open Plan Living: Is it Here To Stay?

Posted on: 29th September, 2022

Open-plan living has been the must-have design feature of modern homes in the last 10 years. With the potential for seamless indoor-outdoor entertaining areas, zoned living and increased natural light and ventilation, it’s not hard to see why it was so popular.

But the last two years have seen a shift in living and working habits, as well as wider cultural changes, with kids staying home well into their 20s and grandparents moving in. The result? Family members of vastly different ages and needs are living under the same roof. So, has this reduced the appeal of open-plan living? Will we see a shift towards separate spaces for work, play and relaxing?

Benefits of open-plan living

In the past, meals were enjoyed in the formal dining room, guests were entertained in the lounge area and only the host was allowed in the kitchen. These days, it’s all about communal living, with multi-purpose open-plan spaces that allow you to help with homework while cooking dinner during the week, and entertain your guests on a Friday night all within the same space.

In Australia, open-plan living also encourages a connection with the outdoors – it’s not uncommon to see indoor living spaces open out to courtyards, gardens or even an alfresco dining area. This makes entertaining even easier, with the possibility of extending your dining area on short notice.

Of course, fewer walls means fewer light blocks, so most open-plan spaces are light-filled, with fantastic ventilation.

Why we might be moving on from open-plan living

Acoustics have always been a challenge with open-plan living – a sizzling pan means putting the volume on the TV up as there are no physical walls to block the sound. Rugs and fabrics can do a little to absorb sound, but they are nowhere near as effective as walls.

Post-COVID, this challenge has become more acute, with a shift towards single-use spaces that accommodate for privacy. With hybrid working now here to stay, homeowners are requiring quiet spaces, such as a study, yoga space or ‘Zoom room’ to work, take phone calls or unwind without distraction.

Smells travel just as far as sound, so the same problem apply when cooking. Your delicious fish dinner or curry feast may not smell so great when you’re sitting on the couch a few hours later. Just like smell and sound travel, so does heat, making open-plan areas harder to temperature control.

The best of both worlds?

Over the past 100 years, home design has gone from one extreme to another. With so many options, it’s now possible for homeowners to cherry-pick the design features that work for their family.

Garages or pool houses can solve the issue of privacy by offering a single-function space, like a study or yoga room, without having to compromise on open-plan living in the main home. Alternatively, you could opt to introduce a multi-functional room that could operate as a study by day and dining room by night or special occasions.

Either way, your home should always be a reflection of your lifestyle first and foremost. So if open-plan suits you and your family, then that’s the way to go. If you’re on the hunt for privacy, it may be worth considering other options.

At Achieve Homes, we’re dedicated to making sure our clients’ homes enhance their lifestyle. Get in touch to discuss how we can bring your vision to life.

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