The Past and Future of Open Floor Plan Homes


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If you watch home design shows or peruse interior design magazines, you’ve noticed the trend toward more open spaces. The open floor plan has seen a surge in popularity in Myrtle Beach and in other cities around the country. However, if you think back to the house you grew up in or your grandparents lived in, you likely remember many more walls and closed-off rooms. Where did this modern trend toward open home layouts come from and is it here to stay?

The Past

Before the late 19th century, home builders didn’t have the materials to make many of the unconventional load-bearing walls we have in modern homes. Homes needed to be divided into individuals living spaces to allow for better temperature control and to fit the more private customs of the time.

By the start of the 20th century, steel was becoming a more common material in home building. Additionally, families began to seek more comfortable, flexible living areas and spaces for less formal entertaining. Lots for home became smaller, making economical use of space a necessity. Multi-functional rooms started to be more desirable.

While there are houses dating back to the 1930s with open plans, it wasn’t until later in the 20th century that it became the norm. In the late 1970s, homes were becoming less closed off, but many rooms still had dividing walls. By the 1980s, higher ceilings and split floor plans rose in popularity. Half walls replaced full dividers between shared living spaces. At the turn of the century, the idea of an open floor plan home was beginning to be the norm in new construction. Kitchen, living and dining rooms flowed together into one great living space.

The Future

All evidence points to open floor plans staying in high demand for the foreseeable future. However, some homeowners still prefer the privacy that more divided living spaces offer. There are many pros to the open plan model, from increased versatility to ease of social interaction. On the other hand, open floor plans are often louder, offer less space for hiding clutter and offer little privacy.

While it’s clear the majority of modern homebuyers are in favor of an open plan home, the future is still up in the air. The most likely scenario we’ll see in the years to come is a combination of an open and closed floor plan that offers privacy but still facilitates easy flow between living spaces.

What do you think about open floor plans? Will they stay popular throughout the years to come or will we return to the more closed-off designs of the past? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.

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