Open plan living is becoming increasingly popular around the world. Removing lots of poky rooms that mimic a rabbit warren in favour of an open living space, it creates a more contemporary, designer edge, and one that’s more practical for families. From knocking down internal walls to reworking where they’re positioned in your home, there are a number of ways you can create this open, harmonious space.
Extending a home is one of the first ideas people have when they feel like their current layout isn’t working. And, whilst this might be the only option in some cases, there are often other solutions that can be created within the current living space. A lot of traditional homes have small rooms that have then been added to with conservatories and porches, which only add to the problem. This can leave rooms even smaller with limited light and a cramped, uninviting feeling.
By renovating your home, you can create that additional space you desire but without having to go to the trouble of extending your property.
Planning the Space in Your Home
Before you start enthusiastically knocking walls down in your home, you’ll need to put together some floor-plans. This will help you to establish what space is going to work best and ideally, this should be done by a qualified architect / surveyor who will be able to maximize the space and provide you with professional advice about supporting walls etc. However, to start with, and to see if creating an open space is a possible solution, you could draw some basic plans yourself (these may be enough if the changes you are making are only minor).
Next, you should start to look at where the light comes into these rooms and at what time of day. Look at what side of the property gives you the most privacy and mark down the location of your electric and gas meters, soil pipes and so on. Also, make a note if there are any changes in ceiling heights of floor levels within these rooms.
Once you’ve put all of this together, you’ll be able to start playing around with the layout of your home, working out what space you can create by taking out a wall or opening up a doorway. Or perhaps you’ll be looking at what space can be created by converting your loft, garage or cellar.
Opening Up the Space in Your Kitchen
One of the most sought after open spaces people desire is within their kitchen. Uniting a kitchen area with an open plan dining area, this can create the hub of the house where family and friends can gather, eat and relax together. Some people also add a living room into this equation so all of the living space within the home is open and spacious. Converting an integral garage is often a great way that you can add this space to your kitchen, as can knocking down existing walls between the areas.
It’s important to try and find ways to create this space without removing lots of walls. The fewer walls you remove, the lower the costs of this building work. And adding walls (e.g. to create a utility room in your kitchen) is also cheaper than taking them down. When carrying out this type of work, it’s also a great time to install Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning, which will create an efficient heating / cooling system within this open plan space.
Opening Up the Space in Your Bedroom
Another popular room for converting is the master bedroom, as many seek a larger space that incorporates an en-suite bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe / dressing area. This can normally be achieved by knocking a wall down into a smaller, unused bedroom (the box room), which can be used to create the en-suite bathroom or dressing area. If you can find a location for this en-suite that will work with the soil stack, this will help to keep costs down.
Avoiding Common Problems
There are a number of problems that people can come up against when opening up the space within their home but most of these can be avoided with the right planning. For example, even though most supporting walls will be able to be removed, the longer these are, the most cost that will be involved in buying a piece of steel to reinforce this area. And, as these are normally added below ceiling level, it can create a bulkhead – but if you want to move these up into the floor space, be prepared to pay more.
With the right planning and preparation, you could transform the space in your home into a stunning, modern open plan living area that you and your family can enjoy.
Mike King has been involved in the Perth Air Conditioning industry for over 21 years. In 2015 he decided to only supply and install Actron Air Conditioners. These systems are built with the harsh Australian Climate in mind and as a result out perform all foreign designed systems. He has built his business on the motto “If its not good enough to be used in our home we won’t use it in yours.”