Open floor plans have been extremely popular for a few years now. How many times have you turned on a home improvement show to see the hosts talking about knocking out a wall or two? According to the National Association of Home Builders, 84% of new single-family homes have fully or partially open layouts. Before you buy a home with an open floor plan, consider the following pros and cons to decide if it’s really for you.

Pro: More Usable Square Footage

Walls take up more space in a home than you realize and can make things feel claustrophobic in a smaller home. Knocking down walls or creating pass-throughs can help give the illusion of more space when things are cramped.

Pro: Freedom to Mingle with Guests

Home with open floor plans are perfect for entertaining. Your guests will have plenty of space to spread out and see who’s around. And instead of being stuck in the kitchen cooking or preparing drinks while your guests chatter away in the other room, you’ll be able to see them and join the conversation too.

Pro: More Flexibility

Without walls dictating where furnishings can and can’t go, you’ll have more freedom to arrange and decorate your space however your heart desires. It’s easier to change things up, too! Moving furniture around is a snap when you don’t have any doorways to cram your soft through.

Con: Less Privacy

The downside of having more open space is that, well, everything’s open to whoever walks in your front door. If your family is watching the big game on TV and you just want to curl up with a good book, you’ll have to retreat to a bedroom or other private space to get away.

Con: Inability to Hide Messes

You know that mad cleaning dash we all make when we get a five-minute warning that a friend or family is dropping by? It’s much harder to hide messes quickly when there’s no door to shut or wall to toss your kids’ toys behind temporarily. An open floor plan requires more vigilant organization if you want things to look neat and clean all the time. Be aware as well that if your kitchen is open to the rest of the living area, smells (and smoke from those burned biscuits...oops!) will travel.

Con: Trends Eventually Die Out

Even though open floor plans have been popular for a while now, it’s still a trend in home design, and trends eventually go out of style. Remember when everybody wanted a separate, formal dining room? That trend will come back around at some point too. If you go with an open floor plan, make sure it’ll be possible to section it off later on down the road. You never know: open layouts could be completely undesirable when it’s time to sell your house.

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