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How to Renovate Your Older Home into an Open Space Concept

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Do you have an old home that could use some updating? Many older homes in the Edmonton and Sherwood Park areas were not designed with an open space concept. But just because your older home feels small and outdated, it doesn’t mean you need to sell it and upgrade to more square footage.  

An excellent alternative to moving is to renovate your older home into an open space layout. With the right knowledge and professional support, it is possible to open your older home up and create a more spacious and functional open concept. 

How Can an Open Space Home Help? 

Open space concepts have been around for a long time and are even more popular as families spend more time at home working. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that we live and is urging more changes to be made within our homes to allow a more comfortable and functional environment for changing needs.  

By combining multiple small rooms and removing separation walls, you can dramatically change the layout of your home and make it more spacious. Customizing the design of your older, smaller home to meet your preferences will remove any restrictions that you feel are hindering the best use of space.  

These kinds of modifications create a much airier and more spacious place to live, as they can provide you with more natural light, more opportunities to utilize the space better and can even improve your home’s energy efficiency.  

If you want to create an open space in your home, here are some tips to help you get started.  

Plan your project. 

It is vital that you start with planning your project well, and we highly recommend using our professional design team to help you with this.  

First, you should consider why you want to convert the space, and what you want changed. For example, if your rooms feel too dark, think about how you can use or add windows for more natural light. Changing the size, position or location of a window can make a big impact.  

If a room is too cramped, talk to a professional contractor about removing walls or changing where the walls are located. This isn’t a project to DIY – load baring walls require specialized work if removed to ensure the structural integrity of the house. There may also be plumbing, venting or electrical within a wall you want removed which will make removal even more complex. 

Create a customized floor plan with the help of a professional designer so you can see the flow of the rooms, how your furniture will fit (or if you’ll need to consider new furniture), how you will travel between rooms, the shape and size of individual spaces, and where windows, doors, electrics and outlets are going to be. 

Here are some ideas to help spark some inspiration for creating a more open space concept: 

  • Create a flow from room to room by removing separation walls 
  • Connect your living or kitchen space to the deck or patio with French-style garden doors 
  • Merge multiple rooms to create one spacious room (I.e., turning 2 bedrooms into a master suite) 
  • Install ceiling to floor windows
  • Paint with light and rich colors to create the illusion of space and depth  
  • Build in smart storage solutions  

Seek support from a professional. 

We’ve already mentioned this, but it bears repeating.  

Once you have an idea of what you want to change, and what you need, you should speak to a professional to construct the plans and do the work. The level of difficulty will vary from house to house as with old properties, the structure and foundation of the house needs to be checked for safety and stability before any work can start.  

For example, with load-bearing walls, removing them will make your home unstable. In some old homes, the open space concept may be straightforward and can be completed quickly, but some homes may require more work like reinforcing or adding beams to be able to safely complete the transformation.  

A professional contractor can advise you on whether your ideas are possible and can suggest alternatives if they aren’t.  

Your contractor will point out important aspects you need to consider such as where electrical needs to be, how plumbing might be affected, and where specific features such as kitchen islands or flooring transitions can be placed to create space definition within the open concept.  

A professional contractor can also provide a fresh perspective and give you new ideas that you may not have thought of. A contractor will also know when to apply for building permits before starting work, to ensure the project remains compliant. 

What to look out for in an Open Space Concept. 

There is a lot more to this process than simply knocking down a wall. When planning for a new open concept design in your home, consider these factors that may affect the outcome of your plans: 

Flooring 

Too many types of flooring can look unattractive in an open concept design. Be sure to discuss this with your designer before making your flooring selections. 

Lack of Zone Planning 

While you want the space to flow freely and look uniform, you will also want to ensure each room is defined. There are lots of creative ways to keep the space separate but connected. 

Too much open space 

One thing to remember is we all need “alone” time. Be sure to consider keeping or creating a space that is hidden away from the open concept such as a den or office, so you don’t lose your mind when on an important zoom call for work. 

Décor and Furniture 

You should also consider the decor, colors and furniture in your home, as well as sources of natural light. The open space concept is dependent on a range of factors.  

Lack of Storage 

A lot of walls in older homes hold linen and storage closets. Remember to account for losing those spaces in your plan. A good design can increase space and storage by being a little creative. 

If you are ready to update your older home by opening it up and creating more space, give us a call! At Lambert Brothers, we have decades of experience in renovating whole homes and entire floors in older homes to make our customers’ renovation dreams a reality. Contact us today for your free consultation!