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The pros and cons of open-plan design

If it’s designed correctly, this type of layout can be visually appealing and will establish a sociable space for occupants to enjoy. Architect Opinder Liddar weighs up the essential factors to bear in mind when planning this aspect of your scheme
Rugs can be positioned throughout openplan areas to help prevent sounds echoing. This contemporary layout was designed by the team at C7 Architects

For many of us, a 21st century lifestyle means long working days and a variety of shift patterns. As a result, many people have become time poor, and catching up with the family around the dinner table is harder to do. Television, radio and the internet are a constant presence, and media is becoming increasingly accessible anywhere in the home. This has contributed to the rise of open-plan house layouts, as occupants make an effort to stay connected to one another.

The perceived benefit of open-plan design is that it encourages conversation and shared moments. This does work a lot of the time, but it might not be what you want all day, every day. So, can homes be too open-plan? If you’re tackling a self-build, renovation or extension project, it’s vital for your designer to have a good understanding of what it is you’d like to achieve in terms of room configuration. For example, have you thought through the kinds of spaces that work well for groups, whilst also bearing in mind zones for quieter moments?

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About Build It

The November edition of Build It magazine brings you all the inspiration & practical advice you need to complete your home building project on time and on budget, including: • A self-built first home for just £47,000 (page 48) • Why build with oak? (page 64) • Rainwater goods: repair or replace? (page 67) • 5 renovation tips for a healthy home (page 81) • Is open plan living right for you (page 103) • Expert guide to lighting and electrics (page 112) … and more!