Many homeowners are now opting for an open floor plan, which has its benefits. But they’re also missing out on the advantages of having non-load bearing walls. They have both functional and aesthetic applications, which you can get without ruining the open layout of your home.
Today’s homeowners are all about functionality. With new, high-tech gadgets and high-speed IT infrastructure, smart homes are becoming almost as popular as smartphones. We’re also benefitting from greater functionality in and around the home than ever before, but there’s still a need to divide certain parts of your floor plan according to their individual uses.
An open kitchen might let you converse with guests or watch TV while you prepare dinner. But, it does little to block lingering smells from invading the rest of your home. You don’t want your living to smell like tacos for the next week, do you?
Your laundry room is another area that you should keep separate. Noisy washers and dryers can make it difficult to enjoy your daily life, and most homeowners don’t want everyone to see their dirty laundry from all corners of their house. Non-load bearing walls are useful for hiding unsightly clutter or blocking out unwanted noise.
Feel free to use different flooring or paint to make the distinction between rooms. That expensive white carpet might look great with the drapes and couch in your living room, but a spilled pot of spaghetti in the kitchen would ruin it immediately.
Non-load bearing walls are also great when hosting guests or for those who have roommates. While it’s fine to share an open floor plan with others, there comes a time when we all want some privacy.
Depending on their length of stay, temporary guests can usually be accommodated with various screens or room dividers, if necessary. There are plenty of different options to choose from, including different materials, designs and styles, so feel free to tap into your creative side when using these features.
Full-time roomies would probably prefer their space and would likely appreciate a wall (or two). This might cut into your open floor plan, but you can minimize the effect by building their new room in an available corner of your home. In either case, building some non-load bearing walls is the simplest and cheapest option. Including them in the construction process allows you to incorporate personal taste and style into any shared space.
Half-walls, cut-out walls, archways and niches can all be integrated into an open floor plan. Not only do these installations help to evoke a sense of expansiveness within your home, but some of them offer functionality of their own.
Half-walls give you the luxury of maintaining openness while still letting you define different rooms and spaces as necessary. They’re also relatively easy to design and install throughout your home.
Cut-outs and archways work well for adding extra style to your home while fitting with the concept of an open floor plan. Traditional archways are used to separate different rooms, but feel free to get creative with your designs. Joining your kitchen to the living room via a partial cut-out is an easy way to maintain an open feel. But, you still get the clear distinction between two functional spaces.
Niches might go all the way through a wall or extend just an inch or two. In either case, you might consider adding simple shelves to the niche. This trick adds extra aesthetic appeal to your open floor plan by giving you a space to display photographs, trophies or other knick-knacks. The addition of a mirrored backing will add even more depth and attractiveness.
Most non-load bearing walls are perfectly suitable for a cut-out, archway or niche. These walls don’t support the home and also don’t contain any electrical wiring, plumbing or heating systems. While this means you can plan your project without worrying about destroying your home in the process, you should always verify the placement of any wires or pipes. It’s uncommon to see these features in non-load bearing walls, but your home could be the exception.
Now that you have a better idea of some creative uses and applications of non-load bearing walls, it’s time to get to work! If you have a basic knowledge of construction or renovation and access to the appropriate tools, feel free to tackle small projects on your own. Just remember, it’s important to identify what is and isn’t a load-bearing wall. Bigger jobs, including the framing and installation of brand new walls to a preexisting structure, are probably best left to the professionals.