FORGET THE OPEN FLOOR PLAN: IT'S TIME TO BRING BACK WALLS

Although residential architecture trends have taken a turn towards more rustic accents and designs, the trend does not extend to a home’s floor plans. Homeowners are still loving the entry-kitchen-dining-living room combination. Others are wondering when individual rooms will return? CityLab’s Kate Wagner makes a case for rooms in her recent feature and why open-concept floor plans need to end.

 

If closed floor plans are considered such a nuisance these days, why did they prevail for almost 100 years in single-family working- and middle-class suburban housing? The answer: closed floor plans make a lot of sense, from both an environmental and a living perspective.

 

As cultures of consumption change and people become more environmentally conscious, homes must change to reflect this. Designing homes around “entertaining” that happens only a handful of times a year is a wasteful, yet still mindbogglingly popular practice. When people come to visit, they are there to see you, not your open concept.

 

The best thing about the closed floor plan? It offers what it has always offered: aural, olfactory, and spatial privacy. Humans have always needed the sense of comfort and refuge that defined rooms provide. That may explain the rise of “man caves” and “she sheds”—closed spaces that rebel against the open concept.

 

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