If your home has you feeling a little boxed-in, then it may be time to knock down some walls. An open floor plan gives your home increased flexibility and helps to increase its perceived size. Of course, a project of this magnitude isn’t something you should do without a fair bit of knowledge. To ensure you’re ready to safely take on this project, here is a basic guide for how to convert your home into a more open floor plan.
Check the Function
As important as they are for dividing rooms in your home, walls also serve many other purposes. Whether they’re hiding pipes or electrical cables or they’re supporting the weight of your home, walls are usually for more than just looks. Therefore, before you decide which walls to take down, it’s a good idea to have an expert, such as an architect, inspect your home to see what secrets your walls hide. This will prevent you from demolishing a wall that your home can’t live without.
Make a Plan
Since you’ve never seen your home without walls, it can be hard to envision what it will look like when the project is complete. Therefore, to ensure the project is worth doing, it’s a good idea to make a detailed plan of the entire affected area. This includes which walls you plan to take down, which finishes will be disturbed and need to be re-done, and if you need to add any floor trusses or ceiling trusses to provide extra support if load-bearing walls are to be removed. By sketching out your plan, you’ll encounter far fewer surprises as the project gets underway.
Though not all walls are load-bearing, nearly all walls contain utilities of one type or another. Therefore, when you knock out walls in your home, you need to properly re-route these utilities so that you can continue to use them safely. In some cases, this will simply mean shortening a cable or pipe and allowing it to continue through the adjoining wall. In other cases, you might need to completely cut off that portion of the circuit and make it inaccessible for future use.
Match Old and New
Once the walls in your home have come down, you’ll be left with a large space with mismatched finishes. You will need to synthesize these finishes in one way or another to restore the appearance of your newly enlarged room. If you want to do a total renovation, you can remove the finishes throughout the room, including flooring, drywall, and carpet. However, if you want to keep your current finishes, you can either find finishes to match these existing finishes or you can use various transitional elements to help the room flow.
One thing to keep in mind before you begin your project is that it’s a lot easier to take walls down than it is to build them. Though there are plenty of benefits to an open floor plan, it’s important to ensure that you’re okay with the trade-offs so that you don’t end up with “buyer’s remorse.” Thoughtful consideration such as this will help save you a lot of money and heartache down the road.