If you’re in the market for a new home and looking at prefab home plans, you might be thinking through the advantages and disadvantages of an open floor plan or “open concept” as it’s also called. The great thing about modular home floor plans is that there are lots of open concept options, and they are very customizable, so you can choose how you want your square footage to be laid out. If this is new information to you, then you’re not alone. The phrase “custom home” is almost universally thought of as a site-built home. And modular homes are, likewise, almost universally thought of as limited to a fixed number of manufactured homes floor plans. That’s a myth though. Traditional, old-school construction companies often do limit their customers’ options to a fixed number of floor plans. And many modular home builders, like Next Modular, have customizable modular home layouts and hence don’t limit their customers’ options to a fixed number of floor plans. Don’t get us wrong, there are certainly differences between modular and site built homes. But those differences have nothing to do with quality or customizability.
What are the advantages of choosing an open floor plan style for your modular home floor plans?
In short, an open floor plan is the architectural design of a living space that prioritizes open spaces with fewer separations between major rooms. A standard open floor plan design includes enclosed private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms and one larger common area that combines the roles of traditional rooms like the kitchen, living room, and dining room. This floor plan design merges common rooms into one open space to promote better communication, ease of movement, and increased lighting while maximizing your square footage. Aesthetically, a sense of openness and greater traffic flow is promoted by an open floor plan.
With that said, let’s talk about the five most important advantages to selecting open concept prefab floor plans.
1) Smarter square foot usage
There are a few reasons why the open concept is among the smartest of our modular home layouts. One reason is that it’s just less wasted space. You pay for every square foot whether you use it or not and the deciding factor for whether or not a space is underutilized in a home is often simply how well it serves our actual lifestyles. Most modern families are accustomed to combining activities. Eating meals is often combined with doing homework or enjoying some screen time. Kids playtime is often combined with cleaning or food prep time in the kitchen. So it’s just smart to have modular home layouts that accommodate our overlapping lifestyles. When your kitchen, living room, play and entertainment areas are combined into thoughtful multifunctional space, you can blend your activities together in a way that feels effortless and natural.
Open concepts are smarter too when it comes to accommodating bigger groups of people. With few doors or dividers, an open concept floor plan means that your housemates and guests can move around your great room easily. With busy morning schedules, there’s enough room for everyone to move around as they prepare for the day or wind down for the evening.
Open concept modular home floor plans also can increase your home’s value. In almost every instance, an open floor plan increases your home’s value to prospective buyers, up to 7.4% a year according to Realtor.com.
2) More flexible square foot usage
Another reason manufactured homes floor plans are better with an open concept is that you don’t have to commit to one layout for life. Walls are permanent and REALLY expensive to move if the layout no longer works for your family. Open concept prefab home plans are more flexible because you can change the layout with ease. No one treats their open concept like an empty white warehouse right? You break up the square footage into imaginary spaces. You use your furniture, wall coverings and paint to define spaces for play, dining, office work and entertainment. So what do you do when you decide to finish out the basement and move the tv down there? You just move your furniture around to repurpose the space into an intimate conversation space. When the back of a couch or the direction of your dining table define the “rooms”, you can move the rooms in an afternoon. And then do it again the next day if you don’t like it.
Some examples for using visual dividers rather than walls would be:
- Kitchen and dining room: Often a kitchen and dining area share one common space. Sometimes a kitchen island or peninsula acts as a visual dividing line between the two areas.
- Dining room and living room: A dining area and living room occupy one shared area. A visual dividing line may be in the form of a short set of stairs, two different paint colors, stairs leading to a sunken area, or a handrail.
- Kitchen/dining/living room: All three areas may be connected in a very large great room but defined by smaller sitting areas situated over rugs. A smaller conversation space space can be defined by a couple of chairs and an end table arranged to face a fireplace area, etc.
3) More natural light
If you are shopping manufactured homes floor plans, you are likely looking to save money without sacrificing the ability to build a custom home. The fact is, an open floor plan helps you get more bang for your buck. They make a smaller home feel bigger, there’s less wasted space from underutilized “formal” rooms and you get more light from the same number of windows.
Without partitions or walls between the kitchen, living, and dining space, natural light can easily flow from one room’s window into another room. In an open concept home or working area, more light can also help make the room feel bigger. It’s counterintuitive but 3 rooms with one window each feels darker than one big room with 3 windows.
So modular home layouts with an open floor plan help you get more light for your money by omitting interior walls, which provides sunlight with an easier way to travel and helps natural light to connect your indoor spaces with the outdoor ones. More natural light equals more selling points for your home, a larger feel and, did you know that there are actually several health benefits as well? That’s right, prefab home plans that utilize an open concept can help boost vitamin D intake by having more natural light. More vitamin D in your life can also reduce seasonal depression!
See this related article for “Tips for Bringing More Sunlight Into Your Modular Home”.
4) Better for entertaining and hosting
Whether you are hosting large family gatherings, intimate dinner parties or church related small groups and cookouts, the open concept floor plan is where it’s at. An open layout makes it easier for sound to travel, provides greater visibility, and increases a sense of togetherness with your guests.
Additionally, there is ample room for your guests to mill around and socialize. Without the barriers between your kitchen, living and dining spaces, you can have a seamless conversation with your guests as you prepare snacks on the kitchen island. You’ll still be able to see and interact with your guests when cooking a family meal and you won’t have to worry about running from room to room to bring out refreshments, or miss out on socializing. Additionally, an open floor plan will alleviate flow from one room to another, as well as help avoid overcrowding in one area.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of hosting with an open concept floor plan is how seamlessly your indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces can be connected. With an open concept layout, you can have a group gathered around the kitchen island visiting and enjoying hors d’oeuvres, another group on the deck grilling and enjoying a cold beverage and still another group of kids in the yard playing and yet everyone can see each other and maintain a sense of connectedness. Togetherness combined with discrete conversation spaces is the secret sauce of being a host that people love to be with.
5) Better safety for parents
For first time parents or growing families, open floor plans are much safer for your kids because you are able to keep a close eye on them. Whether you are cooking dinner in the kitchen or working on your computer in the living room you typically always have a good visual of the kids. When there are additional walls and barriers that section off the kitchen and living room you might not always see the kids when they are playing outside or in another space of your home. That can lead to more accidents.
Safety is a huge priority for parents but let’s be honest, no one wants to be stuck in a small space with their kids all day everyday. This is another reason that open concept modular homes are great. With a big open space you can always have a good visual on the kids while also being able to get some distance and space from the kids for your own sanity.
Open floor plans are a smart and efficient usage of your hard-earned square footage. They make your home feel bigger while giving you more natural light and more flexibility in your modular home’s layout. And they provide a huge advantage for parents raising young kids as well as families that love to host.
If this article has been helpful but you still have more questions about modular homes, we’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you have including questions about pricing and financing. Please reach out today!