An open floor plan is a term used in interior and architectural design for a floor plan that makes use of large, open spaces. In residential design, open floor plan is the elimination of walls and doors that normally separate different functional areas, such as living rooms and kitchens.
Residential homes up until the 1950s were designed so each functional area had its own separate room or enclosed space. After the second world war, the enclosed spaces of a home with distinct functions began to be replaced by larger rooms. Commonly, a large room would encompass the family room, dining room and kitchen.
Many homes in the modern world employ open floor plans and designs because they cost less in terms of labor and supplies. Furthermore, they reduce isolation and encourage more communication and togetherness by providing a communal area.
Open spaces compared to closed-off spaces are easier to clean, reduce utility costs, make a home seem larger, allow more natural light and provide a large entertainment area. However, open spaces lack privacy and are less quiet. It is also difficult to hide clutter.
Open floor plan layouts are ideal for small-space homes, such as apartments and flats and for individuals who use wheelchairs or walkers.