Walls or No Walls: Decide for Yourself

Your life and your psychology affect what's best for you.

Posted Apr 17, 2019

Many of us have a choice when we’re choosing where we live or revamping an existing home. We can decide to live with interior walls in place, remove them, or, counter to so much advice provided on TV and in print, add walls to an inside space.

What you decide to do with the walls in your home will have a significant effect on how comfortable you feel there.  

Without walls, it can be tricky to figure out what to do with art and photographs that are important to you, for example. There’s only so much room available on the top of a dining room credenza or living room coffee table. 

Keeping family members and friends away from works in progress—professional, hobby, or otherwise—is also easier when walls and doors are present. Heating and air conditioning can also be affected by how a space is segmented.

Whether you have walls or not also influences how natural light moves through your home. Natural light can boost mood and mental performance, so maximizing internal exposure (without glare) can be a worthy goal. Supervising children and staying connected to guests are also easier when walls are not present.

Beyond practical considerations, whether your home has walls or not will have a fundamental effect on how comfortable you feel in it. 

People who are relatively more extraverted are likely to feel more comfortable in more open environments, while the reverse is true for people who are more introverted.   

Evidence indicates that people who are more introverted may do a better job processing the sensory information that reaches their brains, unlike extraverts who “lose” a lot of what’s going on in the world around themselves before they fully process it. Introverts are happier with more walls than extraverts are; walls that block out the view of other people and places help keep the stress levels of introverts in check.  

Walls also make it easier for people sharing a home to indicate where their territory within it begins and ends. Regardless of our personality profile, we can only really decompress and relax in a home—or any other environment—when we’re in our own territory. Homes differ dramatically in their design, and a person might be able to clearly delineate a territory in a home without walls, via a claimed area on a mezzanine/balcony or in-garden retreat (under a roof or not).

Carefully consider how to manage the walls in your home—don’t remove walls just because knocking down interior walls is something you see, it seems, on all of the design-related television shows you watch or other media you peruse. Create a home that’s practical for the life you want to live—and where you feel comfortable.