Architectural trends come and go, but one that’s continuing to gain in popularity is living areas with more open space. People are moving away from home styles full of niche rooms – an enclosed dining room, a boxed-in kitchen, a segregated family room – and finding unique ways to open up their main living areas for a more relaxed, breathable experience.
Why open up your floor plan?
A number of benefits are derived from removing walls within a home, not the least of which is the realization of more overall space. An open floor plan also allows both natural and electrical light to spread further, reducing or preventing the need to have each living space lighted separately.
Navigating through the home is usually easier when there are fewer doorways to go through and walls to go around. And most homeowners are amazed at how large their homes now seem after walls are strategically removed.
Why this trend, when for years we lived in highly segregated home environments? It might be because today so many of us work in the “information sector,” which often means cubicles or small offices in which we spend the majority of our work days. Then we leave work and get in our cubicle cars, drive on jam-packed streets and highways and shop in congested stores. What a breath of relief to come home to a house that’s free and open!
Don’t start tearing down your walls yet
The removal of walls in a home is not a job for novices. There are many different types of walls behind which lie many different wiring, pipe and conduit systems that you could easily destroy if you jump head-long into the project. Additionally, these systems will have to be re-routed when the wall is removed, and that’s something most of us don’t have the first clue about.
There’s also the very big issue of what type of wall it is. Does the wall in question serve as a support for what’s above it? When removing a load-bearing wall, you have to compensate in some way for its support. Typically this is accomplished with properly installed posts and beams.
It is strongly recommended that you consult with an architect or a structural engineer when removing load-bearing walls. Even for simple wall removals, if you aren’t experienced in this kind of work, hire someone who is. The last thing you want is structural damage to occur down the line, requiring that more and costlier work be performed.
Finally, you don’t necessarily have to remove entire walls. In many cases, taking away just half of a wall will create the satisfying openness you’re after and give this place you call home a new feeling of energy and tranquility.