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Open Floor Plans: What to consider before knocking down walls

The open floor plan is a popular solution for homes that feel small and cramped or lack a modern feel. However, while an open concept sells homes much easier, it’s not suitable for every home and every lifestyle.

Here are a few things you should consider before you begin construction on your home:

  • Structure. There is more than one type of open plan.  For instance, walls could be taken down to make more space vertically or horizontally. Before you tear down the walls, consider how you want the open space to work.  You will also want to look at your homes size, amount of stories, structural integrity, locations of plumbing and ductwork, and the existing structural supports.  It is always best to consult with a structural engineer, especially if it’s an older home.  Putting an open floor plan in an older home can be rather expensive due to problems with floor and ceiling joist lengths.
  • Lifestyle. An open space means zero privacy.  If you live alone, privacy is of no concern.  But if you’re sharing a space, you have to consider how much of that space you want to share. If you’re sharing that space with children, you will need to consider their needs as well as yours. Yes, it’s nice to spend time in the space with your whole family, but every once in a while you need time and space for yourself. One solution for when privacy is desired is putting up half walls, screens, and sliding wall barriers. And when it comes to the décor of your space, make sure the furniture matches the look of your new space.
  • Challenges. Echoing and unclear, across the room conversations are issues when you have few to zero walls and high ceilings.  Some solutions are putting up window treatments and laying down rugs, since soft materials absorb sound.  Loud kitchen appliances can also be an issue, so consider investing in quieter appliances.  Storage needs to be taken into consideration because of the openness. But the biggest challenge with open spaces is electronics, since access to light sockets, cable outlets, and phone jacks are limited. Some solutions include storing large devices and systems in a closet or cabinet, wiring under floors and in ceilings, and installing an integrated control system.

Before you jump into demolition, take time to consider the changes and challenges an open floor plan will bring, and determine if such a plan fits with your lifestyle.

If you are considering giving your home an open floor plan, feel free to give us a call at Cipriani Construction.  We are happy to answer any questions you may have about taking on a project such as this.

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