Architects in Pakistan are increasingly opting for open floor plans within houses. As their name suggests, these plans include large, multi-purpose ‘open spaces’ instead of small ones which serve a single purpose.
Furthermore, they work best in smaller houses as they make the house appear to be larger than it is.
If you are thinking about opting for an open floor plan, factor in the following:
Houses with open floor plans have fewer walls than those with closed ones. As a result, architects have to ensure that heavy beams are used in order to support the structure – and these are 10 to 15% more expensive compared to regular houses.
Furthermore, cooling and heating costs are higher in houses with open floor plans as larger spaces require more energy to control internal temperatures.
However, this cost can be recovered in the long term as houses with open floor plans tend to be eight to 10% more expensive than those with closed ones.
Open floor plans work best as common spaces that combine kitchens with dining rooms, living rooms with dining rooms, or TV lounges with dining rooms, and kitchens.
In such spaces, furniture (such as large sofas and bookshelves) and other elements (such as kitchen counters) can be used to ‘divide ‘the space visually and physically to serve specific functions.
One of the benefits of an open floor plan is that they are relatively easy to reconfigure as moving furniture around is not very difficult in a single space.
However, they are more difficult to keep tidy as they are large, and have a tendency to appear cluttered very easily.
Open floor plans are ideal for families as they allow all members to be in the same room while engaging in different activities. However, they do not allow for privacy and noise levels are higher compared to closed spaces.
By Farah Rizwan. The writer is an adjunct faculty member at Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture.