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It may come as something of a surprise to prospective home buyers and contractors, but the open floor plan was popularized as far back as the 1950s. The open floor plan boom took off during the 1990s, and that’s when it evolved into a new construction norm.
By its very nature, the open floor plan reduces many of the accessibility impediments found in traditional homes that emphasize separated rooms and sometimes narrow doorways. In terms of new construction homes improving accessibility for people who use wheelchairs, walkers or have growing physical limitations, these are ways open floor plans can be modified to increase accessibility and quality of life further.
What Constitutes an Accessible Floor Plan?
It’s essential to understand the open floor plan through a lens of accessibility. Although new construction homes are typically exempt from Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, elements that improve accessibility also tend to enhance the enjoyment of living spaces. Layouts that merge rooms eliminate things like door thresholds and tight spaces, among others. These are three popular open floor plans that increase accessibility in this fashion.
Merging rooms in a new home design only increases accessibility. Given that new residential property owners want higher resale values and better quality of life experiences, these layouts make sense.
How Can Open Floor Plan Modifications Improve Living Spaces?
The basic open layout can be a jumping-off point for more robust accessibility. Many are designed with little consideration given to the physical limitations of our valued community members. By rethinking living spaces in terms of accessible use, simple changes can be integrated that deliver substantial benefits.
Open floor plans still rank among the most popular new construction layouts used today. They are inherently accessible due to the elimination of walls and doors found in other designs. With a few cost-effective modifications, an open floor plan home has the potential to become fully accessible.