This type of planning gives a spacious feel to a small home, and the feeling of grandeur to a large one. However, open plan homes must have zoned living areas to allow for privacy, formal, informal living and outside entertainment.
Open plan living is well suited to contemporary designs, especially those with raked ceilings and split-levels. Large family areas grouped around the kitchen are a feature of open plan living, along with combined living, dining and open entry areas.
This type of planning may be better suited to a family of different ages who each like their own space, or a house where different activities are taking place at the same time.
Formal living, formal dining, enclosed kitchen, family areas and separate entry are all hallmarks of this style. Family areas are smaller and living areas larger. The more formal planning of this style lends itself to classical designs and single storey homes with flat, high ceilings.
Combining all the different styles, providing traditional formal living areas and open plan informal areas will give you the ability to close off certain parts of the house whilst retaining an open feeling in the living spaces. This may happen naturally in the design of many contemporary houses as people become accustomed to open plan living.