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How to Create an Open Concept Home


Open office concepts have been growing in popularity over the last few years, but now that trend has moved to your average home. If you feel constrained by too many doors in your home and are yearning for more open space, an open concept home may be just what your remodeling doctor ordered. An open concept home can result in more space, light, and energetic flow for you and your family to enjoy. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Tear down non-supporting walls: Begin by hiring a drywall contractor to verify that any walls you want to tear down do NOT contain electrical wiring, water or gas pipes, or ductwork. Of course, make sure that you only want to tear down non-load-bearing walls. If you decide not to hire a contractor, at least turn off the circuit breakers to the electrical outlets in the rooms that contain the non-load-bearing wall that you wish to tear down. Have a plan for drywall repair as well. The whole process, if done professionally, can cost anywhere from $500 to $4,000, and may include destroying drywall and studs, rerouting electrical wiring, handling new ductwork, patching the floor, and patching and paining the ceiling. Hire an architect or structural engineer if you want to take down a load-bearing wall. Also, consider only tearing down half of a non-load-bearing wall and making it into a bookshelf or bar.

Create clear space divisions: If you are going for a full open concept, make sure that you use furniture and furnishings accordingly to still create the idea of divided space so as to not overwhelm your senses. Accent walls help to define specific ‘rooms’ as do rugs and the unique arrangement of furniture.

Consider an archway: In place of an interior door, choose an archway! Just take the door off of its hinges, remove the hinges, and do any minor drywall repair. If this way doesn’t resonate with you, many archways come premade or you can design a custom-built one. You can also choose a new door for your new archway.

Consider skylights: Skylights typically let in 30% more sunlight then your average window. Talk about extra Vitamin D! More light also equals the illusion of larger rooms.

Change the fabric of your drapery: Sheer fabrics or blinds let in more light than dark, heavy, opaque fabrics.

Widen your windows or choose French or sliding patio doors: New windows tend to be energy efficient and will let in more light if you choose a larger size. Exchange a 3 x 5 foot window for a 5 x 5 foot one. Another option is to install French or sliding patio doors in place of your windows to show an ‘open’ connection to the outside.

Learn more about your ceilings: If you have dropped ceilings that can be removed, you could remove them and have higher ceilings instead (an increase of 6 inches to 2 feet)! You could also explore vaulted ceilings, but they tend to be very pricey and will involve that architect or structural engineer again.

Explore your staircases: Finally, you can remove the wall or walls that flank your staircase and opt for free-standing rails instead. You can also alter the materials used in the banisters. Again, consult an architect or structural engineer for full staircase remodeling.

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