I Hate Open Concept Floor Plans

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I Hate Open Concept Floor PlansThis may be an unpopular opinion, but I hate the open concept floor plans that houses and apartments seemingly everywhere have embraced wholeheartedly. My husband and I have been looking at houses online for months now in preparation for eventually buying a house. I know this is a terrible time to be in the market because it’s 100% a seller’s market. It’s tough. 

We’ve been looking at houses for years now, doing what I like to think of as window shopping for houses. We’d go to new construction neighborhoods and look around, we went to open houses for neighborhoods we thought looked nice, and we’ve looked through hundreds of listings on Zillow or other sites. 

One thing I’ve learned about myself through this process is that I absolutely hate open concept floor plans.

This is unfortunate because, as I’ve already mentioned, it seems like every single new build is open concept. Every big builder in the area seems to have 90-95% of their plans featuring open concept living spaces.

I’ve had a few people ask me why I don’t like open concept floor plans, and I’m realizing it’s a little unusual for someone in my particular stage in life. I’ve got two young children and stay home with them right now. They’re young enough to still be getting into anything and everything, and need decent supervision when they’re enjoying playtime. So to a lot of my friends, the idea of not wanting all that open living space is counterintuitive. 

So I thought I’d go through a couple reasons I’ve seen friends say they like open concept and compare those to why I don’t like it. 

The biggest reason I’ve seen for families to love open concept living space is that it gives them a great line of sight to their children’s activities. That’s a totally fair reason in my opinion. You can look across the kitchen counters or islands and see if your kids are playing nice with each other. You can call them out when they start getting into things they shouldn’t. It’s just easier to supervise when you have a line of sight while you’re doing chores or fixing breakfast. 

I totally get that, and I agree that sometimes it’s nice to be able to glance over and see what the kids are up to. That said, open concept living spaces don’t just create a great line of sight, they also create lots of open space to fill up with noise. As a person who seriously craves quiet in my life, having an open concept living space would drive me batty between the regular sounds of cooking or cleaning and my children being loud or watching a kids’ TV show. The constant noise would wear on me until I’m exhausted and unable to concentrate on anything else, and I wouldn’t be able to manage my children or the work I need to accomplish. 

Another big reason I’ve seen that people prefer open concept is because it makes entertaining nicer for the hostess. If you’ve ever hosted a big family dinner, a holiday gathering, or even a small group of friends over for a meal, you know that as the hostess you are the one spending the least amount of time with the people you’ve invited over. You might be slaving over an intricate meal in the kitchen for a few hours while your guests are mingling elsewhere with the rest of your family. In an open concept living space, however, that is mitigated by having everyone relaxing together in the same area as you prepare food. For a lot of people, that ability to spend more time enjoying one another even while working is a great benefit of open concept. 

In our current home, the kitchen and living room are only divided by a partial wall and are fairly open in nature. When I have friends over, they generally go downstairs to the den where most of our entertaining and living happens, with the exception of my best friend who will come sit at my kitchen table while I work. In all honesty, I don’t really mind being the one who spends time in the kitchen cooking because it’s something I enjoy doing for others. 

The last big reason I’ve seen people really enjoy open floor plans is because they allow for more multi-functional use of common areas. The dining room area can function both as a place to eat meals and a place to work on homework. The living room area can be a place to relax and watch TV and a spot for the kids to set up toys and play for hours at a time. It can be a great gathering spot for many different uses. 

Unfortunately that multi-functional use leads to clutter and lots of it. Certainly there are ways to cut down on that, but I’m a little old-fashioned I suppose and would just prefer certain areas of the house to contain things relating to them. I’d like my kids’ toys to stay in their rooms or in a designated bonus room type of space where I won’t trip over Hotwheels and LEGOs that make their way to the kitchen space. I would love to have some kind of designated office space or even just desks in bedrooms for my kids to work on homework so I’m not constantly collecting papers from the dining room table before being able to set up dinner. 

As I’m going on this home buying journey, I realize I’ll have to compromise on a lot of my preferences, and I’ve already admitted to myself that open concept may be one of those things since it’s so hard to find anything that doesn’t follow this trend. Thankfully my husband and I have both agreed that we may not be buying our “forever home” when we finally put down money on a house. So I can prepare myself to compromise on what we buy because it won’t necessarily be our house for life. 

Are there any trends in houses you don’t like? I’m always curious to hear what other people prefer. Feel free to share in the comments!

9 COMMENTS

  1. “The dining room area can function both as a place to eat meals and a place to work on homework. The living room area can be a place to relax and watch TV and a spot for the kids to set up toys and play for hours at a time. It can be a great gathering spot for many different uses. ”

    The odd part is, even if these were their own separate spaces, it wouldn’t defeat them being used in multiple ways. An open floor plan wouldn’t do much of service if the dining room was being used as a work or homework space where a quiet atmosphere is seen as golden when the kitchen is being used or if the tv is on. An open floor plan is basically an indoor park where there is no privacy as noise is literally heard wherever you are.

    Plus, I question the “line of sight” point. In a more advanced, and arguably safer world, I find it odd that parents these days are far more paranoid about their kids safety.

  2. Yes I agree. I hate open concept houses. Kitchen and dinning I can tolerate to be open but not to other parts of the house. The only homes you can find like this now is older homes that typically need a lot of repair which I also don,t want. Very disappointed in the current housing market.

  3. You are not alone in disliking open floor plans and I think this is starting to die. Open kitchens are noisy, stinky and allow clutter to extend from them and into them. I am always designing the house I want and it includes many architectural features that would allow building or tearing down walls/dividers that could give the occupants the flexibility to transform the space to fit their current living situation.

  4. I also dislike open floor concepts. Always having the kitchen in plain view just invites mindless snacking and mess stress.

    Also, with an open floor plan, you only get one color/theme for the whole area. Too bad for you if you want a blue and gold kitchen, a red dining area, and a purple living room. Nope! You get neutrals with a pop of color now and then. Bleh.

  5. I completely agree. As for people in the kitchen during parties and get togethers wanting to be “part of things” I call foul. First that person should be focusing on cooking, second how many people can you hold a real conversation with at the same time? Especially while you’re working? Open concept is also worse with small children because there’s no way to keep them out of a potentially dangerous kitchen.

  6. I agree, I never liked the open concept style. Probably because I grew up in a Craftsman. Also, I’m a type “A” with some OCD, and I would have a very hard time sitting in the living/family/great room, with a full view of my messy kitchen. I would not be able to sit and visit after dinner, I would have to get up clean.

  7. My issue with open concept is that visually it gets old. If this one giant room is all your rooms then you spend all day staring at one room. Your kitchen MUST look similar to the dinning/living room you’ve opened into. With a separate dining room you can create a new feel in that room than you had in the kitchen.

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