In previous generations, people used to get excited about the number of rooms a house had. In fact, the number of rooms that you had in your house was considered a status symbol. Those days are long gone. The new trend in home- building and remodeling is to create an open floor plan.
Gone are the days of sectioned-off places to live and others to entertain. People want to do things together in open spaces. If you are going to remodel your home to make it more “open,” however, it takes more than just taking some walls down. If not done correctly, you can compromise the integrity of your home’s structure.
Not every home is open floor plan-ready. That is why, before you settle on a house to remodel, it is imperative that you have an architect or engineer come to make sure that opening a space up is even possible. If you don’t know what load-bearing walls are, then you must hire a contractor, architect, or engineer to tell you what you can and cannot do to combine more than one room together.
There are several ways to create an open floor plan that don’t necessarily need walls to be taken down.
Widen the window space
Often a room can feel cramped because there is no natural light in it. If you are limited in the ways that you can open-up space by structural confines, adding light through expanding window sizes can make a room feel less constricted and more “open.” It is also a very inexpensive way to create the illusion of space if you are on a tight budget.
Sliding or French patio doors
Instead of opening up your floor plan, consider adding space through the use of a sliding glass door or French doors that open to the outdoors. Outdoor spaces are an excellent way to add room to your house without any additional expense, having to remove walls or dealing with the hassles of construction. Adding sliding or French doors creates an illusion of combining the great outdoors with the inside. On warm days, open them up and let guests come and go or gather on a patio strategically placed for more seating and gathering room.
Add a skylight or roof window
Sometimes when you are limited by construction constraints, using natural light that shines from above can make the room feel much bigger. Skylights are an excellent way to brighten up space and make it more welcoming and friendly, even if you can’t increase the square footage. Sometimes it is just the appearance of room that makes a space more livable.
Increase the ceiling height
If you have an older home, there may be a dropped ceiling. Older homes had the main ceiling and then a ceiling above that one to allow for more insulation and to provide a buffer. Vaulted ceilings may not do anything to give you more floor space, but they can make any floor plan feel more open and airy. A significantly less expensive idea to make your home feel grander, it runs about half the price of tearing things up and typically takes very little to add trusses or beams to reinforce the drop ceiling.
Sometimes a space can feel limited because there is too much furniture and too many “things” in an area. If you want to make your house feel more “open,” sometimes doing something as simple as creating built-ins throughout to lessen the space that your belongings take up can help to create more space for guests and fewer obstacles for real living. Too much clutter can make even the biggest spaces feel small, visit beautiful model homes for inspiration. Once you create built-ins, another good step is to declutter and go through your things to ensure that you aren’t holding onto things that you don’t need. Use the one-year rule. If you haven’t used it in one year, then it is time to get rid of it.
Open floor plans are ideal for entertaining and living in any space. Unfortunately, not every space is built to be opened. Many older homes are limited in what you can do with the structure of its construction. Luckily, there are ways to create space that don’t involve ripping out walls or replacing floors. Sometimes illusions are good enough to revamp an old home.