open plan living for families

Five Reasons Open Plan Living is Great For Families

This week, I saw my friend Rebecca Bowyer, share this article about how open plan living is pretty much overrated and is like living in an ‘echo chamber’. The writer of this article was quite negative about their experience with open plan living. Rebecca was planning for an open plan living design for her house, but after reading the article, she wasn’t so sure about whether the design would suit her family. I thought I’d share 5 reasons why I LOVE open plan living and how I could never go back to the houses of old where there was a separate room for each space.

5 Reasons for Open Plan Living

1. It makes our house feel bigger.

For some people, this may be a negative, but for a family of 5 like mine, extra space means we don’t feel cramped. We enjoy having other families over and we’re not limited by space. In fact the space is a godsend. A bigger space allows for enough seating for family and guests. It also allows for ease of movement and flow throughout the house. Your open plan living area could be a smaller space, yet because it’s open, it makes your home feel larger.

2. It allows for multi-tasking.

I can be in the kitchen and the kids can be playing at the coffee table or sitting at the kitchen bench helping me or drawing. I love the flow on effect where we can all be busy in the one space, but still be near each other. When my girls see me in the kitchen, they are often eager to help and learn some basic cooking skills.

3. Everyone is part of the party.

When it comes to hosting gatherings, everyone can be part of the festivities. No one has to be hidden away in a back kitchen and it allows for an inclusive environment for everyone.

4. Kids love open plan living so they can see where you are.

I don’t know about you, but my kids like to play where they can see me. Open plan living makes this easier because I can still get dinner ready, yet the kids can play or watch TV in the living room, where they can still have me in eye-shot. I can keep an eye on their activities as well.

5. The house looks lighter and brighter.

We have a fair few windows in our open plan area and the light streams in creating a wonderful atmosphere in our home. Light draws people in. This has the same effect on our family. They like to congregate where there is light and space. Separate rooms that lead off each other can tend to be darker and rely on lighting to brighten them up.

How to Overcome the Negative Parts of Open Plan Living

Not all house designs will have positive attributes. There are negatives to having an open space and that can be noise and an inability for privacy. But I truly believe these negatives can be solved a few ways.

For our house, we have a separate play room which has a door that can be closed off from our open living area. We’ve just put a tv in here for the girls, so the play room is a space for them to enjoy, while mum and dad can relax in the living room. The toys do come out into the living room from time to time, but they have a place to go back to in the playroom.

We did have a separate lounge, which I converted into my office. To be honest, we rarely used the separate lounge. But it’s a space we can convert back should I no longer require an office.

Another part of our house design is the kids rooms are at the back of the house and our room is at the front. Jacob and I can get privacy from our master bedroom, away from the noise of our girls as they get older.

I truly believe open plan living is a great house design for families – especially for the kitchen, living and dining areas. If you’re still unsure, choose a house design where rooms can be segregated and converted into a large communal area when needed.

Do you like open plan living? What do you love about living with an open plan space? Or do you prefer segregated rooms for privacy?

  • We’ve lived in a very open plan house, and although it was a little noisy, it worked well for our young family. Now they are all a little older the separation is working best, although we are still quite open. I think it all depends on the family and how they live in the space.

    • I love we have a separate section at the back of the house for the kids. It’s interesting how as children grow, the needs of a house and it’s zones change.

  • We’re fans of open living too for all of the reasons you’ve listed above. I like to know what the kids are doing and they like to be able to see me. We’re on a small lot as well, so the design worked for us. We don’t have any troubles with noise, but I guess we do have an upstairs area with the bedrooms upstairs.

  • Hugzilla

    I love open plan spaces but there is a tipping point where the room gets too big and it becomes cavernous. It works in my place because it is a 70s house so the space seems small otherwise, but some of these more modern houses are just way too expansive I think. And do seem quite impractical.

    • Yes, I do agree. I have been in quite big modern display homes with a huge open plan living area. I love the space we have in our house. I think it’s just right. Every family has to determine whats right for them I think.

  • We love open plan but there are still obvious zones and we have a chimney that helps to divide the space!

    • A chimney! Yes to having zones in the open plan area.

  • Love open plan living with specified zones, I love that I can be in the kitchen while watching and listening to the kids play. Even if we are separate in what we are doing we are still together!

    • Yes love this Bel. I like having specific zones too.

  • Bryony Sumner

    When we bought our first home hubby knocked walls down to make it open plan and I love it! I agree that it’s great for kids to see where you are (and vice versa)

    • You have a good hubby Bryony. Open plan is great for kids when they want to be able to see you or be near you.

  • We love our open plan living house – especially coming from a house that wasn’t. Whether it’s just our family or even a gathering – you never feel like a slave in the kitchen when you’re with everyone else. Even doing the dishes – you’re amongst it, you’re just in the cleaning motions. (like exercising without intending to – love that kind of trickery!!) #teamIBOT

    • I love my open plan living home for these reasons!