Tired of conventional home layouts, many homeowners are seeking contemporary design solutions. For years, we have witnessed the ‘four walls and one door’ approach at play in our living rooms. But now it’s high-time that we changed our orientation.
Nowadays, open and broken floor plans are all the rage in home design – and for good reason.
Homeowners increasingly want their living spaces to be spacious, airy, and bathed in natural lighting. Both open and broken plan living approaches fully cater to these requirements.
Explaining open and broken room layouts
An open plan layout features continuous space.
It lacks obstructions like walls, panels, and screens. It promotes the concepts of better socialisation, lighter rooms (literally), and an informal mode of living. American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is generally considered the artist behind this design innovation.
Modern home construction and designing technologies make open plan living a more economically feasible option. Issues of heating, cooling, and controlling privacy no longer prevent us from creating less-enclosed structures.
A broken floor plan offers similar benefits. But it differs by featuring floor levels and partial walls that enable more privacy for house residents. This type of layout is often considered ideal for the modern nuclear family, which desires a sense of informal living and ‘unquestioned’ privacy to go hand-in-hand.
House spaces employed for conducting everyday family activities benefit the most from such planning. These include the family room, the kitchen, the dining room, and even the study. Living spaces planned with a broken layout approach are also more energy-conserving.
Choosing between the two layouts
Both open and broken plan living offer their distinct benefits and drawbacks. What you choose comes down to your specific living needs. You will have to weigh each layout’s advantages against its disadvantages. And then decide on the approach most suitable for your case.
- Open plan living benefits
An open layout, as mentioned, provides better in-house socialising opportunities. Each room in the house seamlessly connects with the other.
Consider this: You will be able to cook in your kitchen and entertain your guests in the living room at the same time.
Moreover, this type of floor layout brings more light and ventilation into the home, thereby making each room appear bigger. For a small-sized home, this offering is a big deal (as anyone who resides in one would know!).
- Open plan living drawbacks
Unfortunately, open plan layouts also come with their share of design shortcomings.
More ventilation means you will encounter more odours in the house. For example, the smell of food from the kitchen will always feature prominently in your living rooms. And if you didn’t already know this, these ‘scents’ aren’t always pleasant.
Meanwhile, a spacious house is also susceptible to external noise. This can make it hard to get a decent night’s sleep following a long, stressful day. And of course, there is always the looming issue of privacy (or lack of it) to contend with. Open plan living, therefore, is not recommended for large families, or those receiving frequent guests.
With such a construction approach, homeowners will also generally need to invest in larger heating and cooling units. This leads to increases in utility bills, along with a possible deterioration of indoor air quality.
Meanwhile, converting a regular home layout to an open one is a costly venture – one that can put your house’s structural integrity at risk.
- Broken plan living benefits
Broken room layouts offer a flexible lifestyle. The addition of partial walls provides a sense of privacy despite the enhanced space.
This approach also makes your house look more organised. While the rooms are still interconnected, the divides serve as de facto boundaries for each one.
You can also choose to be creative with how you construct these divides. Homeowners can make use of frosted glass panels or concrete pillars in their designs; both of which are aesthetically pleasing.
Partial divides can also come in the form of shelves (to be used as storage spaces). Your heating and cooling units will suffer reduced operating burden too, as a result.
- Broken plan living drawbacks
Just like open plan living, broken room layouts are not flawless either. Their partial divides make home décor difficult to manage. You will need to find the right balance. Otherwise, your home will either feel enclosed, or too open; with both being counterproductive to the idea of broken plan living.
It is also costly to implement. This is especially true in case you are interested in converting an existing living space.
First of all, you will have to spend money on removing the walls. Then you will have to spend more to install your desired floor levels and partial divisions.
Choosing the best fit
In the end, what you choose totally depends on the kind of lifestyle you want to live.
However, the broken plan living style has become trendier in recent years due to its offered flexibility. It is definitely worth considering if you’re engaged in building a new home at the moment.
If you’ve got some ideas on open and broken plan living, please share them with us in the comments section below.