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Why We Build Walls: The Need for Privacy in the Age of Open Plan Houses

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The open plan concept remains a popular design among modern houses today. Homeowners around the world, from Chicago to Melbourne, are tearing down walls and installing sliding glass doors over their hinged doors counterparts to make living spaces look bigger, airier and be more functional.

Homeowners and interior design experts alike have raved about the benefits of open plan homes, as they have a spacious atmosphere that is inviting and great for entertaining. It promotes togetherness among family members since there are no walls sealing each other off. Natural light can reach deeper into the home, allowing residents to enjoy the sunlight. On the practical side, an open area becomes a multifunctional space, allowing parents to oversee their children in the living room while they prepare dinner in the kitchen.

The Issue of Privacy

However, not all homeowners are keen on the concept of open plan living, with the lack of privacy being a common issue.

According to an opinion piece on Real Simple, a monthly women’s interest magazine, open floor plans create extremes. Although the area promotes togetherness, it also forces separation. For example, when someone is watching television while another person tries to read a book in the same room, the latter is forced to retreat someplace quiet.

The need for privacy also stems from the self-consciousness of having outsiders peer into private spaces. Although large windows bring in natural light, they also allow neighbours and passersby to see what is going on inside the house. This also makes the house more vulnerable to burglary.

The lack of walls inside the house allows guests to see even the unsightly parts of the home. For example, guests being entertained have a full view of the mess being made in the kitchen while the meal is being prepared.

Adding Privacy to an Open Plan Home

When you live in an open plan home and want to add privacy, the straightforward solution is to build walls. This entails huge construction costs that are more reasonable for long-term planning.

There are cost-effective and creative ways of adding privacy to an open plan home. Solutions are as simple as using bookshelves and dividers to section off a part of the room where privacy is needed. Plants can also be used as interesting partitions and to direct the flow of traffic between spaces.

Windows and glass doors can be sprayed with frost so that no one from outside can peer inside. Curtains are naturally a cost-effective method to close off the home when at night or when family members require privacy.

Adding a second tier or a raised bar to the kitchen island doesn’t completely separate the kitchen, but it helps hide dirty dishes and the mess from meal preparations. Aside from a massive sofa for the living room, add accent chairs and small tables to create a nook for tasks that need extra quiet.

Although the open plan concept is popular among many homeowners, it’s not for everyone. Others crave for the comfort and privacy that traditional, partitioned homes offer. When you live in an open plan house and want some space to yourself, it’s a matter of finding creative ways to achieve the privacy that you need.

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