How to Make an Open Floor Plan Work for You

Reprinted from HouseCall

By Monica Thomas

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Once a trend, open floor plans have become a staple of most modern homes. An open floor plan generally means the living room, kitchen, and dining room are combined into a large space or great room. Before taking a hammer to all interior walls, it’s important to know the structure of your home, as well as the benefits and ways you can accomplish an open concept.

Benefits of an Open Floor Plan:

Space

Small, cluttered homes can be transformed into airy, more breathable spaces by knocking down a few dividing walls. A demolition project may seem daunting, but the average cost is just over $3,000. Just be sure to have a professional take a look before wielding a sledgehammer. Hiring a structural engineer will cost you about $500, but you’ll save yourself the headache of rebuilds, fines, or structural problems.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at this article on HomeAdvisor and find out when to hire an engineer. Once you have a professional’s input, you’ll be amazed at how much larger your home seems.

 Natural Light 

Without walls blocking the windows, natural light is able to stream in your home, making the open space seem even larger and more airy. Along with knocking down walls, you can bring natural light into your home by connecting the outdoors to your home’s interior with large patio doors. On average, you can install glass doors for about $1,600. You may even consider widening your windows to allow more natural light into your home.

Inclusivity

It’s right there in the title: an open floor plan means more openness and inclusivity in your home. When you’re preparing dinner in the kitchen, for example, you won’t be closed off from the rest of the house. This is great for both entertaining and every day. When you’re entertaining, you can still be a part of the party, even while preparing food and drinks. And as an everyday solution, you’re able to keep an eye on children, pets, or—let’s be honest—the TV, while still going about your daily tasks.

 Open Floor Plans and Storage

The benefits of an open floor plan are clear, but what about storage? It’s easier than you think to create creative storage solutions in your open floor plan design. Consider spaces that may be wasted in your home. Corners are a great place to start:

  • Look for corner storage units with shelves and cabinets to store your things without detracting from your open concept. Wall storage units are another great option.
  • Add shelving and cabinets to a large wall to utilize vertical space up to the ceiling. This will make your great room appear taller, adding to the airiness of the design.
  • Add drawers or cabinets beneath a staircase to maximize storage in what is often wasted or inaccessible space. This project can be done for as little as $200.
  • Opt for convertible furniture. Consider dual solutions like an ottoman, bench, or a coffee table with built-in storage. By getting creative, you can enjoy all the benefits of your open floor plan without sacrificing storage.

 Attics and Basements

Many homeowners have had success opening their attics and basements to the rest of the home. The cost to convert an attic into livable square footage is an average of $49,500; however, a 2015 report by the National Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) found that attic conversions retain 61 percent of their value at resale. The same is true of basements. See how one homeowner opened their basement to the rest of their home.

The extra space, natural light, and social inclusivity of an open floor plan continues to appeal to buyers. In fact, increasing the light and space in your home can increase the resale value of your home. Get creative with storage, consult a professional before you knock down any walls, and enjoy your light and airy space!

About marilynsellshollisterrealestate

I am a native Californian born in Los Angeles and have resided in San Benito County since January 30, 1959. I attended the University of Southern California. I am a licensed Real Estate Broker, license #00409787, active for almost 45 years. I started my career in 1972 and still am totally committed to the highest level of service to my clients. I am currently associated with Intero Real Estate Services. I am Past President of the San Benito Association of Realtors, serving in the role on numerous occasions. I was a Director of the California Association of Realtors for over 18 years, having served on numerous committees. I also served 2 terms representing the California Association of Realtors at the National level, NAR. I am a certified SRES (Senior Real Estate specialist), since 2005. My community involvement has included membership in the Hollister Rotary Club, serving as their first woman President in 2002. In the late 1960's, I became a member of the El Torillo Chapter of Children's Home Society, and served as President, and was also President of the Tri-County Council of CHS, which is today Kinship Center, and I am currently a Senior Active. I am a member of the San Benito Chamber of Commerce. From 2002-2008, I served on the Board of the Hollister Downtown Association and was their President from 2006-2007, and still serve on sub-committees of this organization. And, I am currently serving my 3rd term on the Community Foundation. My record of performance and my reputation have made me who I am in the industry. I am a household name in San Benito County, when you think of Real Estate. My name is recognized not only in Hollister, but in our neighboring counties, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. I have been involved in land development, marketed several subdivisions, sold ranches, commercial leasing, bank-owned properties, short sales and own a Property Management Company, Hollister Rental Properties, for more than 35 years. I am proud of my sales record and for the majority of my career I have been in the top 1% of major Real Estate Companies including Van Vleck Realtors, Cornish and Carey, Contempo, Seville-Contempo, Century 21, Coldwell Banker and finally Intero Real Estate services for the last 15 years. Using my skills in negotiating, mediation and transaction closure, during 2010 and 2011, I was involved with the City of Hollister's First Time Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance Program. The program was the City's Redevelopment Agency, under Bill Avera, with the assistance of CJ Valenzuela who was working with the County of San Benito. CHISPA, a non-profit, was responsible for restoring homes to equal to new condition that the City had taken back in foreclosure, or that they had acquired. When the homes were restored, we put them on the Multiple Listing Service and we went out and promoted the City's Down Payment Assistance Program. Buyers were screened and qualified by our preferred lenders. I facilitated workshops for First Time Buyers explaining the programs. I negotiated the contracts for the City of Hollister and with the Buyers. With this program, I closed 2 homes in 2010, and 4 homes in 2011. On a personal note, I am married to Richard Ferreira, a retired General Contractor/Developer. We have a combined family of six daughters, six grandsons and 3 granddaughters. We share commons interests in travel, movies, entertaining, and Richard has picked up my love of cooking. Our spare time is spent with family and enjoying our grandchildren.
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