Is Open Plan Living On The Way Out?

Lockdown Has Created The Need for Separation

Open plan living relies on a pattern of phased occupation. If there are too many people using your open plan layout at once, it’s time for a rethink.

The Covid-19 pandemic may have forever changed the relationship we have with our homes. As millions of Brits were forced into months of lockdown from March 2020, this has meant spending more time than ever before with our families in the same confined space. Work-life balance has been impacted, in some ways favourably, but in other ways it’s been more of a challenge. Where open plan living has been a key design trend in recent years, how will it fare following Covid?

How Does Open Plan Living Work?

Open plan living is created when you tear down the walls of your small downstairs rooms, and transform them into one large multi-functional space to be used as a kitchen, dining room, living room and work area. The benefits of such a configuration include allowing plenty of natural light to flood a large layout which is important in any interior décor scheme. You also have the advantage of creating a sociable living area, where parents can cook whilst watching their kids do their homework, or relaxing in front of the TV. It’s also a great layout for entertaining, as you can be busy preparing food whilst chatting to your guests enjoying a drink around the kitchen island.

Extra People At Home

However, one of the reasons that open plan living has worked so well, is that it relies on phased periods of occupation. Your house might be reasonably quiet during the daytime, allowing one parent to work from home whilst the kids are at school, then enjoying the benefits of the sociable layout come dinnertime. But as less people are commuting and potentially both parents are working at home, the extra activity around the house has raised the need for separate work and living spaces. Those who need to work at home would usually prefer to do so in a quiet area away from the hustle and bustle of family life. There’s also been an increase in those interested in permanent homeschooling. So, if you’re planning on having your children in the house for extra hours during the daytime, then you’ll need plenty of space for productive study too.

What Are Buyers Looking For?

Top of the wish-lists for post-lockdown buyers, are homes with dedicated office space and those with large gardens according to a Chelmsford estate agent. Buyers are reportedly willing to forego vanity features like the size of a kitchen or the external appearance of a property. These have been pushed aside in favour of buying a home with a more practical layout to suit their new circumstances.

Prior to lockdown, only 5% of employed Brits worked from home for most of the week. But the success of remote working has led many companies to rethink the possibilities of allowing their teams to work from home on a more permanent basis. If this is your situation, ask yourself if your home is ready to adapt the extra occupation during working hours? If you need extra space then you might look at converting a garage, moving into the loft, or checking out new properties that have avoided an open plan design. Open plan still has plenty of benefits, but if you live in a busy household, it might not be the right design choice for you at this stage in life.

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