Open concept: 25 photos and tips to enhance the environment

Open concept: 25 photos and tips to enhance the environment

The open concept has been marking a strong presence in residential construction. Its purpose is to create amplitude in the environment, with the maximum possible integration of the rooms, and to guarantee a modern identity to the project, regardless of the design adopted in the decoration. The duo Leonardo and Larissa from Minimal Arquitetura bring more information about the concept.

What is an open concept?

According to the architects of Minimal, open concept is a large integrated social area that encompasses kitchen, dining room and living room ─ environments traditionally organized in separate environments. “In the last decades of the 20th century, especially in New York, there was a transformation in the use of buildings in the central areas, which used to function as industries and factories, but began to be used as housing for young people who had recently arrived in the city. These buildings did not have partitions, therefore, the environments were sectored by furniture. The loft concept became popular from there”, explains the duo.

Advantages and disadvantages of creating an open concept in a residential project

As with any choice, an open concept brings a number of advantages and disadvantages within a project. Minimal Architecture has listed each of them:

Benefits

24 7 ARCHITECTURE

  • Unlike colonial customs, today, the act of cooking organizes socialization itself. In gatherings of friends and families, the kitchen becomes the focal point of these events. Even if not all people actually use the kitchen, the proximity to the dining area and living room allows for eye contact and interaction.
  • With occasional exceptions, each room in a home needs to have natural lighting and ventilation. The more subdivisions in plan, the more difficult it becomes to achieve this objective properly in all environments. In large integrated spaces with a large opening – such as a balcony or balcony – you solve the issue for several building environments at once.
  • Simplified construction – more masonry means more material, more labor to execute, more construction time, more rubble. If you can go open concept, you literally have less work to build.
  • The integration of environments does not only bring advantages in situations of socialization. In everyday life, this ease of transition from one environment to another also simplifies activities such as cleaning, communication and circulation.
  • An environment like a TV room or a home office can transform from a part of this unified social area to something more isolated. For this, a possible alternative is the use of large sliding doors that integrate and separate environments according to the need of the moment.
  • In small-area apartments, such as kitchenettes or the famous studios – whether you like them or not – that have become popular in large urban centers, the integration of environments is almost mandatory. In a space of a few square meters, with a well-planned project, it is possible to host different activities without losing much of the quality of life.

Disadvantages

TRIART

  • As we eliminate walls, we also eliminate spaces where it would be possible to have a closet. For this reason, in many cases we see open-concept homes where, in the living room, there are large shelves to store books, decorative objects, travel souvenirs, portraits, DVDs, blu-rays, etc. And in the kitchen, custom-made furniture sized to meet specific demands. However, depending on the volume of objects and utensils that the family has, this can become a problem.
  • The structure of the building must be prepared to accommodate large spans. In the case of renovations, sometimes we eliminate some dividing walls, but it is not possible to eliminate pillars, which end up getting in the way and affect the intended fluidity. Thinking about new constructions, in some cases it is necessary for the slab itself to be a little more reinforced, which can make the work a little more expensive in the structural phase.
  • The pandemic has brought many people to work and study from indoors, and for both individual activities and online meetings, ideally it is possible to achieve some level of silence or privacy. Not all homes have an extra environment that can be used as a home office, and living room dependencies end up becoming the only possible alternative.
  • Residential walls are not just made of bricks, doors and windows. They have hydraulic, electrical, gas and air conditioning infrastructure items. These issues need to be considered in this reorganization, and if these facilities are present on the wall to be removed, there needs to be a plan to relocate them. Power points are relatively simple to relocate – as long as we’re not talking about a light frame. On the other hand, water, sewage and gas installations are somewhat more complicated, especially in apartments.

When choosing to implement the open concept in your project, keep in mind that, whether in a house or an apartment, it is necessary to hire a qualified professional to handle the structure of the residence safely and without risks.

6 tips for doing the open concept

According to the architects, considering that all conditions are met and it is possible to create this large environment integrating the dining room, living room and kitchen, the tips are:

  • Use the same floor throughout the environment: although the kitchen is considered a wet area, it does not have the same restrictions as a bathroom stall, for example. There is no puddle of water, just splashes or quick cleaning, even if water is used. In this case, most of the floors available on the market can be used, from porcelain tiles, burnt cement and even vinyl floors. Laminate floors, however, should be restricted to dry areas.
  • Counters, islands or peninsulas: an almost mandatory item is the element that will separate the kitchen from the rest of the environment. Counters and islands can serve a variety of uses, such as housing quick meals that don’t need to be taken at the dining table or as a main place for meals. They can house the cooktop or the sink, but they can also just be used as a free surface for food preparation.
  • Sectoralization by furniture: even if the idea is to eliminate walls, the activities and spatial organization of the environments are still different. So it is worth investing in furniture such as sideboards, buffets, armchairs and sofas, which will make this organization and delimitation of spaces.
  • Rugs: an armchair in the corner of the room is just an armchair. But the same armchair, accompanied by a rug, an ottoman and, perhaps, a floor lamp, instantly transforms the place into a reading corner. In very large environments, where there is that impression of emptiness, a rug in the circulation area, in front of a sideboard, can become a coffee corner or a mini bar. Between the sofa and the TV, it delimits the space of the living room.
  • Openings, lighting and ventilation: it is possible to enlarge the openings of the environment, since the same doors and windows will serve a large area. This possibility not only works to light and ventilate the place, but also for circulation in the environment and communication with the external areas.
  • Ceiling and artificial lighting: just like the floor, the ceiling can also play an important role in the visual integration – or delimitation – of environments. Plaster ceilings with continuous crown molding unite the environments. If the intention is to create some delimitation, the design of the ceiling combined with the light fixtures fulfills this role. Spots can be used to highlight a decorative element, such as pendants on the counter or a chandelier on the dining table.

In the open concept, it is important that the decoration of the residence expresses the entire personality of its residents, without giving up the comfort and practicality that everyday life requires in a home.

25 open concept photos to inspire your project

The following open-concept residential projects show that the idea fits perfectly into different decor styles:

1. The open concept has become a great tool to expand the home

SUITE ARCHITECTS

2. And it can cover as many rooms in the house as you want

RED SQUARE ARCHITECTURE

3. Currently, it is very common to make this integration between the kitchen, balcony and living room

ALL ARCHITECTURE

4. And the division of environments is due to the sectorization created by furniture

ALL ARCHITECTURE

5. You can also use colors to your advantage for division

SHEILA ALMENDROS

6. And rugs are also very welcome

MILENA FERNANDES ARCHITECTURE

7. The open concept is widely used in industrial design projects

TRIART

8. And also in contemporary style

AR.KITEKT ASSOCIATES

9. However, the truth is that the open concept fits all styles

FIGUEIREDO FISCHER ARCHITECTS

10. You can create mobile structures to ensure privacy when needed

RENATA SPINELLI ARCHITECT

11. A smart woodworking project also contributes to this mission

BIANCHI & LIMA ARCHITECTURE

12. Structures with glass further contribute to the breadth of the open concept

BIANCHI & LIMA ARCHITECTURE

13. This breadth can be created horizontally

URBHA ARCHITECTURE

14. And also vertically

LOFT 7 ARCHITECTURE

15. Kitchenettes and studios invest heavily in open concept integration

RÚBIA VIEIRA

16. After all, it is something that collaborates not only with valuing the space

SUITE ARCHITECTS

17. As well as with greater socialization among the residents

open concept

ROOT ARCHITECTS

18. Make sure that the structure of the residence adequately supports the open concept

open concept

ORLA ARCHITECTS

19. For this, it is necessary to hire a qualified professional

open concept

DUDA SENNA ARCHITECTURE

20. In buildings, authorization from a condominium engineer is still required

open concept

BIANCHI & LIMA ARCHITECTURE

21. Especially if there are changes in gas and water infrastructure points in the project

open concept

BIANCHI & LIMA ARCHITECTURE

22. Therefore, contact an architect or engineer to build an open-concept environment

open concept

SP STUDIO ARCHITECTURE

23. This way you will ensure a safe and accurate renovation

open concept

DT STUDIO ARCHITECTURE

24. In addition, just think carefully about the entire furniture configuration

open concept

ROOM 2 ARCHITECTURE

25. And enjoy the integration of an open concept in the best possible way

open concept

ARCHITECTURE OBJECT

In apartments, it is very common for open concept projects to offer integration with a small balcony, or with a more expanded gourmet area. In homes, the continuation to the outdoor area and barbecue is always a good option.

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