How to Decide Between a Closed Layout Vs. an Open Layout

Deciding between a closed layout and an open layout might not be the biggest decision you ever make, but it is likely to make a huge difference to the look and feel of your home. For the past few decades, open layouts have reigned supreme in the interior design world – and in fairness, they’ve got a lot going for them, adding a spacious, airy feel that’s rarely unwelcome. But recently, there have been whispers of a shift in the opposite direction. Apparently sick of the lack of privacy that comes with open plan living, more and more homeowners are starting to rebuild their walls, to the end that we’re starting to see a return to closed, clearly defined rooms.

But which is best? Both closed and open-plan layouts have a lot to say for themselves, but in the battle for supremacy, which takes the crown? As with most things, it’s not as clear cut as it sounds. Some people will always prefer the coziness and privacy that comes with a closed layout. Others would forgo any amount of coziness for the sense of space that goes hand in hand with open layouts. Here’s how to figure out which one will work best for you.

The Case for Open Layouts

  • Best for SpaceAs writes, the big attraction of open layouts is the sense of space they create. Granted, that feeling of open space is an illusion – unless you’re planning on knocking down your exterior walls at the same time as your interior ones, the overall square footage is going to be the same. But providing you feel like you have more space, who cares if you actually have it or not? Combining multiple rooms into one essentially makes for one big, airy space – and who’d no to that?
  • Best for Light – Natural light is a huge deal, leaving your house looking brighter and you feeling happier. Dividing your home up into square cuts off the flow of light between rooms, creating a darker environment and seeing you reach for the light switch more times than you’d like. Removing those walls does the opposite, allowing for the sun’s rays to permeate every square inch of space. You might not be able to get away with quite such a hit-and-miss approach to cleaning (after all, even those dusty corners will now be feeling the light of day) but most people would be happy enough to reach for the duster if it means cutting back on their energy bills.
  • Best for Socializing – If you’ve got friends over for dinner, you don’t want them to be having all the fun in the dining room while you’re stuck sweating over the stove in the kitchen. With an open-plan layout, the kitchen IS the dining room (and vice versa), meaning no one needs to miss out on the entertainment if they don’t want to.
  • Best for Multi-tasking – These days, multi-tasking is next to godliness. But keeping one eye on the kids, another on the stove, and some mysterious third eye on what the dog’s up to is nigh on impossible when you’re all in different rooms. With an open layout, the problem’s solved – you’re all in the same room, all the time. For some people, the lack of privacy that comes with that can be a problem. For parents who like to keep a tight watch on their kid’s internet browsing habits, it’s a blessing.

The Case for Closed-Layouts

Summing Up

As we’ve seen, both open layouts and closed layouts come with some great benefits and some not so great ones. When it comes to deciding the winner in the battle of closed layout vs. open layout, there’s no right or wrong answer that’s going to apply to every person and every home. Think about how you use your house, who lives in it, and what’s going to work best for everyone concerned – then go with it. And if it turns out it doesn’t work – well, a wall can be put up just as easily as it’s taken down.

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