Design Trend: Open Concept Floor Plan

January 7, 2015   |   Design Dilemmas, News

If you have visited any newly built homes recently, you probably noticed two things missing… a formal living room and dinning room. Today, homes are all about flow and functionality making it no surprise that open concept floor plans are all the rage.

Open Concept Floor Plan

Open floor plans rank high on the list of must-have amenities for many people remodeling or looking for homes. Homes featuring open floor plans combine the kitchen and living room into one large space. Larger spaces, such as in the photo shown above, allow family members and guests to interact during an entire visit without having to vanish to prepare dinner. People can be lounging in the living room while others are in the kitchen and yet everyone is still together!

Today’s new homes are more practical than houses built 25 years ago because they reflect the way people live and an open concept is a much sought after bonus. However, very few houses being toured in the Greater Grand Rapids area have them. Most of these homes are older with small broken up rooms, not ideal for entertaining. Just imagine inviting all your friends and family over for a party in a non-open floor layout. It would be crowded… and chances are  you’d probably end up bursting through the walls and create an open concept kitchen and living room by accident! Around here it is understood that a little elbow grease is in order to make the dream of an open concept floor plan a reality. Knocking down a wall or two during a remodel isn’t uncommon and totally worth it if you’re looking for extra space.

The result of taking down a wall between the kitchen and living areas is a home that inspires a more modern relationship between the kitchen (traditionally considered a working zone), and formal living spaces. With open floor plans the kitchen becomes the heart of the home often times featuring an island that provides extra counter space with casual seating. Islands such as these help bridge the gap between “work space” and “living space” by providing a space for kids to do homework, enjoy light meals, or for guests to chat with the cook. With this concept sometimes a formal dining room is eliminated entirely, and replaced with a large table serving as the family eating area. Auxiliary rooms designed for organization and convenience, such as a butler’s pantry, mudroom, or home office, are usually sited adjacent to the main living area.


Although an open plan is especially associated with very modern designs it’s not entirely new. Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), who coined the term organic architecture, first implemented the concept of an open floor plan. The idea of organic architecture refers to how a homes design is carefully thought out and becomes a unified interrelated composition. Like with many designs it is cool to see them evolve and come full circle. Today, all kinds of homes are being built with free-flowing layouts and are beginning to expand outside of just the kitchen and living room. Vaulted ceilings and generous outdoor living areas are being added to the mix creating a more open feeling in today’s house plans.