Pros and Cons of Great Rooms

November 19, 2020

Larger, more open spaces and open concepts are popular in home design. Great rooms are a particularly common feature. Here’s what you need to know and some pros and cons of great rooms to keep in mind as you think about the one you may want in your custom home:

What is a Great Room?

A great room merges the roles of multiple spaces into one large space. Typically, the kitchen and living room are included in a great room. A dining area is a common addition as well. However, other combinations can be found as well.

It’s the merging of purposes and roles into one larger room that makes a space a great room. These rooms tend to be placed near the center of the home or are centralized in an area of the home with the most activity. These rooms also tend to have raised ceilings.

Great rooms have been common in U.S. homes since around the early 1990s. Although they continued to gain popularity over the years, some homeowners prefer not to have a traditional great room due to heating and cooling concerns, a desire to use the vertical space, have more rooms, etc. It all depends on the homeowner and what they want in their home.

3 Pros of Great Rooms

Here are a few pros of great rooms:

1. Great Rooms Tend to Brighter and More Open Spaces

Great rooms have a swath of positive aspects: one of which being the sheer amount of natural light. By removing the living room and dining room dividing walls, more windows can be installed. Not only that, but light can travel unobstructed across the space.

2. They Make Entertaining Easier

With a great room the physical, and artificial, separations between guests disappear while entertaining. Groupings can occur much more naturally and people can socialize with ease across a wide space.

They won’t need to awkwardly maneuver around other guests either. There are many layout ideas for your great room and choosing the right one can make a big difference in your great room.

3. A Great Room Helps Create More Family Time

With fewer walls, you can survey your space without as many obstacles and have more unobstructed family time. And, you can keep an eye on things better no matter where you are in the space.

If the kids are being rambunctious in the living room, you can give them a good glare from the kitchen. The end result is having significantly more access to each other and increasing the amount of sociability.

3 Cons of Great Rooms

Here are a few cons of great rooms:

1. Great Rooms Tend to Have Less Wall Space

With more windows and fewer walls, the overall wall space is greatly reduced. So, if you like to display your artwork or your children’s artwork, great rooms can make it a little tougher to do.

But, if you do want to display a lot of art, you can make sure there is space available for that in your great room even if you no longer have those extra walls separating the rooms.

2. They Provide Less Privacy

Great rooms don’t do much in the way of privacy. By combining multiple rooms, family members will have a harder time trying to study or just read a book.

Some people are accustomed to their alone time, and great rooms can make attaining that sense of privacy and focus a little more difficult. Then again, if you know having these quiet areas is important, you can account for it in other areas of the home while still getting the benefits of a great room.

With fewer walls comes fewer hiding spaces for both people and things. Sometimes, having a few extra doors to close is very helpful. For example, quick cleanup before guests come over or temporary extra storage. Having a great room means that most of your home will be laid bare for all to see.

3. A Great Room Can be Less Energy-Efficient

Great rooms can amplify noise when ample carpet isn’t installed. With separate rooms, noise can often be contained within the walls. With a great room, the acoustics are ripe to bounce around all over the house.

Along with that large, open space and the high ceiling comes a little less energy-efficiency. Although air can flow more freely throughout the room, you may also end up losing some heat during the winter to the raised ceilings.

However, there are some things you can do to help make heating and cooling a great room with high ceilings more energy-efficient. You also don’t necessarily need to have vaulted or cathedral ceilings in your great room if it’s not something you want in your home design.

Fitting a Great Room Into Your Custom Home

These are just a few pros and cons of great rooms to think about as you consider one for your custom home design. When considering a great room, the name automatically indicates “large”. That isn’t always the case. Sure, they can be large and high ceilings. But, if the overall house is laid out over less space or vaulted ceilings aren’t your thing, the great room can be shaped accordingly.

Having a great room simply means combining multiple living spaces into one space not separated by walls, like the kitchen, living room, and dining room. When evaluating the pros and cons of great rooms, it’s important to remember that the term “great” is a misnomer – they can also be smaller, built with an open concept in mind, and still be “great”.

Are you ready to get started on your own custom home? Give us a call at 717-284-4090 to get started on your dream home!