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SWFL Custom Homes Blog

Open Concept vs. Traditional Floor Plan: Which is Right For You?

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If you’re considering building your own custom home, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the decisions that need to be made. One of the most fundamental choices is whether to go with an open concept or a traditional floor plan, because it has such a big impact on the livability and even cost of your new home.

To make the right pick for your household, you’ll need to evaluate your preferences and needs relating to several factors. We’ll walk you through some of the most important ones below.

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Design Variety

The aesthetic flexibility of your home’s interior is going to be far less if you have an open concept. Now, this may not be a bad thing. If you don’t mind having a completely cohesive look throughout a large portion of your home, an open concept can actually make the task of interior decorating far simpler.

Instead of having to decide upon different looks and accessories for several separate rooms, you’ll be able to stick to a single theme for the whole common area. This can be great if you want a more tranquil feel from your home’s aesthetic.

In the case that you do want more variety within your home’s interior, a traditional floor plan may be more suitable. You’ll have the freedom to play around with a number of different looks in the distinct zones of your home. This is ideal if you like to experiment with bold colors, patterns, and furnishings.

Privacy & Quiet

Open floor plans and traditional floor plans fall at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to how well they accommodate the need for privacy and quiet.

Sharing a large, open space is going to leave little opportunity to find solitude, unless you retreat to private bedrooms or bathrooms. But if you have a low-key household with few people, the atmosphere may be serene enough for that not to matter.

Traditional floor plans with distinctly separated rooms, even in the common areas, are going to offer a lot more seclusion within the home. However, this can create feelings of distance and isolation for those who crave constant connection.

When assessing your need for privacy and quiet, consider the size of your household and the habits and dispositions of its members. Does everyone enjoy spending most of their time together? Does anyone get overwhelmed by constant sensory stimulation? Does anyone partake in loud activities that may disturb others? Do you suspect your human children were switched at birth with Tasmanian devils?

The answers to these questions can give you an idea of whether or not an open floor plan is right for your family.

Entertaining Ease

Your nuclear family’s day-to-day needs may be modest, but what about when it comes to entertaining? Do you often have lots of family and friends coming by for get-togethers? Or is an appointment with the cable guy the closest thing to a social event in your home?

Another big factor to weigh is the frequency and nature of your entertaining. Open concepts can accommodate a large number of guests more easily, and they also remove physical barriers to mingling. Many avid hosts prefer open floor plans because they can still chat and engage with guests while they prepare drinks and food.

On the other hand, those who like a more formal style of entertaining can find traditional floor plans to be superior. For example, having a separate dining room can give the host more control over the atmosphere for the guests, and also keep the kitchen out of sight. The latter point is especially advantageous if you’re a messy cook, or if you’re passing off takeout as your home-cooked special recipe!

Energy Efficiency

Now, we’ll be getting into the economic considerations. Energy efficiency is a major point to think through before you commit to an open floor plan. That’s because open layouts tend to require more energy for heating and cooling than their traditional counterparts.

In a floor plan where the space is divided into distinct rooms closed off by walls, it’s far easier to control the temperature of each. Central HVAC vents and doors to unused rooms can be closed, directing all the heating or cooling effort where it matters. If a single bedroom or office needs individual temperature control, there is always the option to use a space heater or a fan.

These possibilities are what make traditional floor plans more energy efficient than open concepts. With the latter, you’re stuck heating or cooling the entire common space, even if you’re only occupying a small portion of it.

Building Costs

Finally, it’s essential to note that the building costs of your custom home project will likely be affected by the type of floor plan you choose. This comes down to labor and materials.

Constructing a traditional floor plan with several distinct rooms is going to require a lot more of both. There will be more walls that need to be framed, and there may be a need to install more doors, windows, HVAC vents, electrical fixtures, and other components.

In an open concept, you’ll need less work to be done, since your common areas will all be consolidated into a single space. You’ll likely buy fewer building materials overall.

Let the Pros Weigh In

If you’re still not sure whether an open concept or traditional floor plan is better for your custom home, we can help. As one of Southern Florida’s premier builders of custom homes, we’ve helped hundreds of residents pick the type of design that best suits their needs.

Via a professional design consultation, we’ll hone in on your family’s preferences, as well as any constraints presented by your construction budget and desired cost of living. If you’d like to find some inspiration beforehand, you’re welcome to view our collection of floor plans, or even schedule a visit to one of our model homes. Get in touch with us today to start exploring the possibilities.