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An open floor plan is an architectural design layout that rids an interior space of its common barriers and dividers, like hallways, adjacent rooms, walls, and doors. Spaces can be signified, in an open floor plan through the appointment of certain furniture, windows, or lighting.
The benefits of opening up your living (or work) space come from self-imposed limitations—fewer rooms and walls to hide your stuff in and behind. Less clutter means less headache. An open floor plan inherently encourages you to interact with your space more transparently: having to steadily make choices about what lives inside your space, who visits your space, and how you and others interact with a more raw indoor living environment. Perhaps, by removing a wall, or a room, you can install a panoramic window to showcase a view of the yard, or to expose the summer sunset that was otherwise hidden beforehand.
Whether you adhere to ancient design practices like Feng Shui, or a more contemporary approach like Marie Kondo, the psychological effect space design has on mood and wellbeing is undeniable. Natural lighting, clutter-free living spaces, or merely blending living spaces to do double duty, such as having a combined kitchen and family room, can enhance the flow of a space and thus the attitudes of the inhabitants of the space. Open floor plans breed better connectivity because there are no barriers to disconnect you from the people and energy within the space.
With all of that said, you must consult a professional to determine what walls are load bearing before taking sledge hammer to structure. An engineer or design consultant can verify the existing conditions and make necessary assessments of the structure to deliver thorough design plans and guide you in applying for building permits. A general rule of thumb when preliminarily assessing your space is that if the beams are running parallel to the walls, then it is most likely a load bearing wall.
An open floor plan can completely change the look, feel and flow of your home. Sometimes simplicity is key, and as in many other areas of life, less can certainly prove to be a whole lot more.