Is It Curtains for the Open Concept Lifestyle?

For years, it’s seemed as though open-concept living was the design principle of choice.

Kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms were prized for their lack of dividing doors and walls.

Now, however, the dominance of the open-concept lifestyle is in question, according to architects and designers quoted in a November 2015 article inDezeen, an international design magazine.

UK architect David Mikhail told Dezeen that he first noticed the shift while working on an affordable housing scheme. Residents were offered a choice between an open-plan living space and inserting a wall between their living and dining rooms.

“Much to our surprise, they all chose to put the wall in,” Mikhail said.

According to Mikhail, many designed homes include a mix of spaces, such that large living areas now comfortably coexist with nooks and crannies, reflecting a current desire for secluded spaces and privacy.

The trend to “flexible-plan living” may be a function of today’s mobile technology. So-called broken-plan spaces allow each family member privacy for tablet and smartphone use, as well as individual areas to watch different TV programs at the same time.

While open-concept design still rules, other design publications have also noted a renewed interest in closed spaces.

The New York Times, for example, reported that an increasing number of buyers preferred separate dining and living areas.

And, in dissing open kitchens, Houzz writer Vanessa Brunner suggests: “If you want to leave your smells and mess behind when serving meals, a closed layout could be for you.” Point well made.