Freeing Up Floorplans

Three innovative tips for remodelers looking for new ways to open up a space

February 14, 2019
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Combining cable rails and floating treads in place of flanking walls and risers creates the illusion of more space without the cost associated with changing a home’s footprint. 

With more homeowners choosing to age in place, the need to open enclosed spaces and update floorplans is ever increasing. Removing walls is a traditional fix, but it’s far from the only option.

Here are three other techniques for opening up the space in a home:

1. Turn A Problem Stairway Into a Solution

As clients crave more space in their homes, remodelers are turning to less common areas to give it to them, including stairways.

Floating stairs utilize space effectively and can also be a practical centerpiece to a room. The original staircase in this 1970s Florida home, was boxy and created unwanted separation between the rooms on the main floor and between the two floors. Now, the maple treads tie the design back to the wood-beamed ceiling while creating an open connection between the entertainment space on the main floor and the second-story bedroom. 

In this project, using a mono stringer, aluminum posts, and cable railing minimizes building materials while also increasing sight lines. A customizable stair system built from standardized components also speeds up the install, freeing up time for other tasks. (These stairs were installed in a single day by three carpenters.)

2. Integrate Multipurpose Elements

Previously in the Florida home, walls separated the living room from the kitchen, making it difficult to entertain guests. Replacing those walls with an island opens up the kitchen, while increasing storage and work surfaces.

In the case of a wall that cannot be removed for structural or budgetary reasons, a smaller opening can provide some of same benefits. Consider removing the top portion of the wall and adding a countertop to lessen the distinction between rooms and create a natural gathering point. 

3. Consider Glass Beyond Doors and Windows

Glass is another tool allowing remodelers to open up both interior and exterior spaces. While it has obvious uses in windows and doors, glass can also be integrated into railing systems to a similar end. 

Adding a glass railing to a deck expands the views of the home and makes the deck appear even larger. In areas where there are particularly strong winds, the transparent material protects occupants from the gusts, and the solid surface prevents items from slipping through open spaces—all while affording homeowners uninterrupted views.

About the Author


About the Author


Caleb Morris is the senior manager of inside sales and marketing for Viewrail, a manufacturer of premium floating stairs and railing systems.

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