Open floor plans for small homes

Updated April 17, 2017

An open floor plan is the perfect design for a small home. Think about trendy loft condos where each space flows into another one. A small home with an open layout can feel sleek and modern or cosy and old-fashioned, depending on how you decorate. A small and open home is greener and a more spacious approach to a modern and casual lifestyle. Whether you're renovating your current home by knocking down walls, or you're out searching for a new small house, an open floor plan will help you live big.

No Wasted Space

A free-flowing plan, even in a small home, gives you an unlimited number of opportunities for deciding how you will cook, dine and entertain. Look for an open plan where the living room, dining room and kitchen all seam together effortlessly. There's not a lot of wasted space when you open up a house from the inside out. It's inviting to large groups and encourages guests to mingle and interact. Even the more private areas of the home can take on a open feeling. A loft bedroom that's open to a spalike bath can be soothing and relaxing.

Check Out the Old House

If you're renovating an older small home, talk to a builder who is familiar with structural engineering. You may have your heart set on an open plan, but most older homes were built for divided spaces. Don't start ripping out the walls without getting some good building advice. Even if you have to leave the bedrooms and bathrooms the way they are, just opening up the spaces between the living, dining and kitchen areas can make a small home live much larger.

Declare Your Spaces

Because the idea of an open floor plan is being seen more and more, especially in smaller houses, there's lot of information available on decorating these new spaces. The decorating trick to making an open floor plan with integrated living spaces work is having separate activity zones that are differentiated by furniture and floor coverings. You can have distinct areas for relaxing, working, cooking and eating. Give the space a unified look by using one design style and just two or three main colours throughout the house.

One Big Space

Look at the house as one space rather than as several different rooms. Create your rooms in whatever areas you choose. A large living space is perfect for family gathering and entertaining. Center the living area around the sofa and chairs. Lay down a rug in the other end of the room to give definition to a dining space.


When it comes to furniture, be realistic about how you will live in this open space. Don't bring in extra furniture just because you think you should. If your family always eats at the kitchen breakfast bar or around a large coffee table, you probably don't need dining room furniture. Even in a small home, a few large pieces usually work better in an open plan rather than a lot of small ones. Sectionals, furniture on wheels and upholstered pieces can be moved around as needed.

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About the Author

Janey Lewis is a seasoned writer and public relations expert with more than 20 years of writing and PR experience. A graduate of Auburn University with a degree in journalism, she has been a newspaper reporter, project manager for a PR firm and press secretary to a U.S. Congressman on Capitol Hill.