Open Concept Floorplan

Open Concept or Traditional? What You Need to Know

Open concept homes have dominated the home-building scene for years, but why? This popular layout has more than one advantage over traditional floor plans. Understanding the benefits of open concept home design and how open concept compares to a traditional layout can help you decide which style is best for your home.

Both designs have their own pros and cons. It's important to go into the home building process with open eyes, and a realistic understanding of what your selected layout will mean for your life at home.   

What Is an Open Concept Layout?

An open concept layout is a type of home design wherein the common areas of the house - like the living room, dining room, and kitchen - are all fused together into one open space. Open concepts only apply to common areas, with each bedroom and guest room having the usual four walls and a door for privacy. 

Homeowners with an open concept layout often establish dedicated "zones" for activities like dining and lounging. Sometimes these zones are established with screens and rugs on the floor, other times the furniture arrangement alone is what shows where one space ends and the next space begins. These spaces are fluid and can be changed as needed, which is what makes open concepts perfect for entertaining. 

Advantages of open concept:

  • Flexibility. Want more space for your dining room and less living space? You can change the shape, size, and even location of your dining and living areas as needed. 
  • Great for parties. Open concepts are great for parties because they create large spaces where people can happily mingle, talk and enjoy each other's company.  
  • Small spaces look larger. Small homes look larger with an open-concept layout. And, because less floor space is taken up by walls, you can enjoy more useable space throughout your home. 
  • More natural light. Natural light bounces around the room in an open concept layout, while in a traditional layout more walls mean more shadows, more dark corners. 
  • More family together time. With an open concept layout, it's easy to spend time together as a family even when you're engaged in different activities. One person might be cooking in the kitchen, while another person is watching television and two other people are playing a game at the dining room table. They're all together, even though they're spending time in separate "zones."

Disadvantages of open concept:

  • Outlets. Most outlets are found on the walls of the house, but fewer walls mean outlets that are sometimes far away from electrical devices. Floor outlets are becoming a more common feature in homes with open-concept layouts. Your builder can help you decide where the outlets should be to ensure convenience and safety. 
  • Noise. Open layouts can get noisy, especially when several groups or individuals are engaged in different activities in one large space. If you use common areas of your home for activities like studying or engaging in quiet time like reading, an open concept may not be for you. 
  • Lack of privacy. In an open layout, there's no real privacy in the common areas of your home. If you need privacy for doing activities in these rooms, a traditional layout may be the best choice for you.  
  • Visible mess in the kitchen. Kitchens are often messy just before and after a meal. In an open concept layout, the kitchen is always visible. This can be frustrating for homeowners, especially during an important meal like Thanksgiving. 

What is a Traditional Layout?

In a traditional layout, the living room, dining room, and kitchen are more likely to be distinct rooms with four walls, doorways, and sometimes even doors. In these spaces, it's common for the doors to be hidden in the walls, to be pulled out when the spaces need to be fully closed off. 

Advantages of a traditional layout:

  • Easier to engage in quiet activities. Do you often study in the common areas around your house? Or perhaps you use these parts of your house for reading, doing yoga, engaging in meditation, or spending time in quiet reflection? If so, then an open concept layout could prevent you from enjoying these activities.  
  • Less noise. Smaller spaces tend to be quieter, which can be nicer for keeping the peace. Especially if you're easily upset by loud noises or chaos, a traditional layout may be more appealing to you. 
  • Wall outlets are easily available. There's no shortage of space for wall outlets in a home with a traditional layout.

Disadvantages of a traditional layout:

  • Not as sought after by home buyers. A traditional layout can be a disadvantage if you're selling your home. If you're not planning to live in your house for very long, a traditional layout could become a source of frustration during the home selling process. 
  • Locked into layout and dimensions. Once the traditional layout is in place, changing the dimensions of a room to suit your needs can be very challenging, and expensive. If you need flexibility because your family is growing, then an open concept layout may be more appropriate for you. 
  • Spaces may feel small and cramped. Sometimes traditional layouts can feel claustrophobic, depending on the size and dimensions of each room. If you're designing a modest-sized home, an open concept can help your home feel airy and spacious. 

Open Concept Floor Plan Vs Traditional Floor Plan: Making Your Decision

It's hard to choose a home design when you're building a new construction house. Working with an experienced builder can help, as can exploring open concept home decorating ideas, researching open concept floor plans, and exploring alternative options (like a semi-open floor plan).

If you're doing your research and working with an experienced builder, making a decision should get easier. Your home builder can answer questions you might have about whether open concept increases home value, what can be done to solve some problems created with an open concept floor plan, and more. 

Ready to Start Building Your Custom Home? Contact Sugar Creek Homes

At Sugar Creek Homes, we help home buyers like you make the best decision for their new custom homes. We provide quality home design and new home construction designed to last. To find out more about how your new custom home can be suited to your family and lifestyle, contact us today to make an appointment for an initial consultation. 


Sugar Creek Homes, LLC

237 Ridge View Trail  Verona, WI 53593

608.658.1127   |   EMAIL ME

Hours: 6am – 9pm Mon-Fri; Weekends by Appt

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