Residential Open Floor Plan Design

Combining Rooms Requires Architectural Design Considerations

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Home with a modern open floor plan
Home with a modern open floor plan
index sitemap advanced

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission, which helps support the site.

Open floor plans have been popular since around 1990. They’ve been the center of attention in many comprehensive remodeling projects in older homes. The objective is to join kitchen, dining room, and living room, (or some combination of the three) into a form of communal living space, or as it has come to be known, the “great room.”

Positive Open Floor Points

  • Rooms can share lighting such as pendant track lighting fixtures with others, reducing duplication of resources.
  • Improves traffic flow between rooms.
  • It’s a contemporary style so it protects your home equity. This is key if you ever plan to sell your home.
  • It enhances sociability; communication between spaces is made possible (and you can keep an eye on the kids while you’re cooking).

Negative Open Floor Points

  • It will potentially cost more to heat and cool. Homes with stand-alone rooms can utilize heating and air conditioning zone control.
  • Forget about sound control.
  • There is a higher initial cost going it because, hey, no load-bearing walls!

Designing Around the No-Zoning Issue

Ironically, the very thing that gives the open-floor scheme its appeal, openness, can also present its own problem. With no delineation between the kitchen and other areas the space loses character. One way to give the living room its own identity is taking advantage of the furniture. A long sofa is a great way to create a delineation line.

Further, adding an area rug under the sofa and a floor lamp or two beside the sofa will give more definition to the living zone. Standing lamps will also serve to give your living room its own identity.

Resist the Temptation to Incorporate too Many Styles

A certain degree of eclectic design is great, but don’t overdo it. Mismatched furniture and interior decor items will visually over-complicate your open floor space and make it look busy. Choose furniture and accessories that differ in color and material but are still in agreement with one another visually, such as different shades of the same color. Different, yet compatible.

A Focus on Lighting

One common mistake is not carefully planning lighting at the beginning of the project. This is the time to do it! Lighting is not only functional, it also sets the mood in the space. Think carefully regarding your furniture placement. Be sure that your lighting is positioned where it needs to be. As an example, if your sofa is located to be a a delineation line, as mentioned above, an electrical outlet may need to be installed in the floor.

Also, consider the type of lighting technology you want where. Soft, bright, daylight, cool? LED, halogen, or fluorescent lighting? The types of fixtures can vary in the different rooms. One fixture I have is an LED light fixture that features three adjustable wings. Each wing can be adjusted which makes it very versatile. In some situations it is the ideal solution.

Make Your Kitchen Conform

One mistake that is often made is styling the kitchen separately for the other areas. Your kitchen should be considered an integral part of the architecture of your home and the style of your living area. When you are choosing elements for your kitchen like colors, cabinet styles, countertop, and backsplash materials be sure that they conform to the design era of your home as a whole as well as the decor you add to the adjoining spaces. For example, something as simple as repeating the same “family” of colors and finishes in your kitchen and living spaces will infuse a sense of cohesion aligning the two areas.

Residential open floor plan design is not difficult when you keep these concepts in mind. With new construction and a solid concept, it’s easy to do everything right the first time. When remodeling a home that currently has the separate-room concept, things get a bit trickier because special consideration must be given to removing load-bearing walls. And when buying a home that’s already open floor, you’ll want to make it your own stylistically, so keep these principles in mind.

Further Reading

Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

I Can Fix Up My Home

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas

As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Hire Me!

Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.


Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Glass, Ceramic, and Porcelain Floor and Wall Tile

by Kelly R. Smith

A glass tile wall with an accent strip
A glass tile wall with an accent strip

Article updated on 08/09/20

Tile is a very advantageous building material. It’s durable, inexpensive (usually), available in a huge range of styles, and easy to install with a few tools. Here are a few of the most common types of wall and floor tile that you are likely to encounter.

As with any new or remodeling construction project, it is important to approach it methodically and go in with a solid plan. Consider your construction budget, the living area and of course your style and tastes.

Glass Wall Tile

Glass tile is a great solution for shower walls and counter top  back splashes. The photo above is a bathroom shower glass tile installation that I recently did during a re-build following the Great Flood of ’18 (Hurricane Harvey).

This tile is clear glass with a colored paper backing which means it’s somewhat transparent at some angles and lighting conditions if the colors or marks on the underlying wall vary. Because of this it is important to apply a suitable white primer before applying the tile. Also, use white thinset as an adhesive.

Be aware that you will also need a special glass-cutting blade for your wet saw. Glass also chips easily so if you are making a narrow cut it is not only important to make a half cut and then flip it over and cut from the other direction but cut very slowly.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Porcelain and ceramic tile is suitable for floor, kitchen back splash installation and wall applications. The difference between the two is susceptibility to water absorption due to content of materials and how they are fired and boiled.

The advantage of porcelain is that it resists moisture much better than ceramic so consider your application. It is also more costly in general.

Going Beyond the Ordinary; Tile Patterns

A 3D ceramic tile pattern
A 3D ceramic tile pattern

There is no reason that your tile installation project has to be bland. The photo above shows a 3D center area with a border tile pattern that I am currently working on. It is available through Home Depot and is the Twenties collection by Merola and the pieces are Diamond (for the 3D center), Corner, and Frame. And of course for the outside I’m using matching gray tile of the same size.

In my case they didn’t carry it at my local Home Depot store so I ordered online and picked it up there in a week or so. Free shipping!

Looking for more great content? Visit our partner sites:

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas

As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Hire Me!

Did you find this article helpful? Thanks for supporting this free site with a small donation!

Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email
Follow Me