In the home remodeling industry, open concept kitchens have become more popular with all types of homeowners. There are many reasons people are attracted to this kind of floor plan, but there are also some fair concerns with remodeling your kitchen, living, and dining spaces.
In this blog, we’ll review the pros and cons of an open plan kitchen to help you decide if this trending new layout is right for you and your family.
What is Open Plan Living?
Before we determine the pros and cons of an open plan kitchen, it’s important to understand the difference between an open concept vs. traditional floor plan. An open concept is a type of floor plan where walls and doors are taken out, merging living spaces into one.
This floor plan typically only refers to kitchen, living, and dining room areas, not bedrooms. It differs from traditional or older floor plans that usually have many doorways and walls creating a labyrinth-like layout in your home.
People have been finding open concept kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms more appealing because they allow flexibility and functionality, in addition to a number of other benefits (which we will discuss below).
Benefits of Open Plan Living
When discussing the pros and cons of an open plan kitchen, homeowners and professionals continue to find a multitude of benefits. Below, we’ve outlined some of the main advantages of converting your kitchen to an open plan.
Bring Family & Friends Together
Fewer rooms mean bigger rooms which make entertaining and spending quality time with your family much easier. Open plan living creates a multi-functional space that extends your dining, living, and kitchen space.
When walls are taken down you’re not only given the opportunity to reduce foot traffic but also to multitask. For example, while someone is prepping meals in the kitchen, they are also able to socialize with other members of the family or friends who are hanging out in the living or dining room areas.
Adds Value to Your Property
Does open plan living add value? It’s one of the most common questions homeowners ask when discussing a kitchen remodel open floor plan, and the answer is yes. Over the past couple of years, open plan concepts have become one of the most sought-after layouts for all kinds of properties.
As a result, these floor plans tend to sell for more. Homeowners have found that making your home more visually appealing benefits your living situation and puts you in a better position if you choose to sell in the future or want to increase your resale value.
Creates a Brighter & Lighter Home
Finding the proper lighting for your kitchen can be tricky. Light-blocking is one of the biggest issues with having multiple rooms and a lot of walls because it makes spaces feel smaller and darker.
Having fewer walls, especially in your kitchen area, allows natural and artificial light to flow freely and fill up a larger space. You may consider adding more or larger windows and roof lights to help create a light and airy living space.
Encourages Indoor/Outdoor Living
Another trend that has become popular in home designs is indoor/outdoor living. This concept is fairly simple but can do wonders for your home’s layout. Many homeowners take advantage of creating a patio space where they can entertain or relax during the warmer months.
With an open floor plan, you have the opportunity to install bifold glass doors which open directly to your patio area, allowing you to extend your space even further. Whether it’s a summer cookout or a warm spring day, you can open your doors to let the fresh air in. This encourages your family and friends to spend some time outdoors, while still being a part of the activities going on indoors.
Make Less Look Like More
Managing a small kitchen space can be difficult. Living with an open concept layout makes less square footage feel spacious. Adding more square footage or additions to your home can become expensive, but knocking down a few walls or doorways can give you the open space without the overbearing costs.
Plus, no walls allow you to have open sight lines. This means you and your guests get to see the beauty of your whole home on full display without having to navigate through hallways and multiple doorways.
Eliminate Underused Space
Since many traditional homes are set up with multiple rooms, homeowners tend to end up with a lot of underused space. For example, many families have living rooms or dining rooms that are only used for special or formal occasions like celebrations and holidays.
Considering a kitchen remodel open floor plan means you can take advantage of all the space your home has to offer. You don’t have to worry about rooms that only get attention one or two times each year, you’ll have the opportunity to get the full experience of your home every day.
Find Ease in Furniture Arrangement
As we said earlier, people are attracted to the flexibility and functionality of open plan living. You want to ensure your interior design style is reflected in your home design, which is easier to do with more space. Furniture arrangement is important when defining space in your home.
Open floor plans give you the room you need to arrange your furniture any way you want. Plus, with more room for your furniture and accent pieces to breathe, you’ll avoid any issues with incorporating negative space into your home design.
The Downside of Open Floor Plans
When contemplating the pros and cons of an open kitchen plan, it’s important to consider the disadvantages as much as you do the advantages. Below, we’ve listed a few of the common concerns that come with converting your kitchen to an open plan.
Lack of Privacy
While the extra space of an open floor plan can be refreshing for some homeowners, others are hesitant due to the lack of privacy. With fewer walls, a home is less broken up and as a result, you are able to see the kitchen, living, and dining room areas all from the same place.
Multi-functional spaces mean a lot going on at once, which can become chaotic at some points. This is one of the reasons it’s great for entertaining but if you want a chance to be alone, you may have some trouble.
Another downside of open floor plans is noise control. Open spaces allow sound to travel easier and louder. This means if the kids are fighting in the living area, you’ll be able to hear it while you’re cooking dinner. In the same sense, if you’re trying to enjoy a nice movie night, running the dishwasher may be a distraction.
The good thing to know is that there are ways to minimize noise like using multiple area rugs and an assortment of fabrics. You may even consider adding structures to break your area up into zones like a free-standing fireplace or a feature screen.
Load Bearing Walls
In order to create open concept kitchens, you will most likely need to knock down a few walls. This shouldn’t be an issue unless the walls you’re attempting to knock down are load-bearing. These walls are key pieces to your house’s structure and removing them requires a professional.
Hiring a professional to knock down a load-bearing wall may become expensive since they’ll need to replace it with beams that displace the weight of your home, which is usually a costly purchase.
No doors mean no scent barriers. This may become an issue if you’re trying to relax in your dining or living area but still smell the food you made hours ago. Certain homeowners, especially those who are sensitive to smells, may think of this as a deal breaker.
However, it’s important to know that there are ways you can learn how to prevent cooking smells in an open plan kitchen. Some of these include using a charcoal filter splatter screen, portable air purifiers, or even some home remedies.
Higher Heating Bills
When looking at the pros and cons of an open kitchen plan, you need to consider the costs that come with the remodeling of your kitchen. In traditional homes that have multiple rooms and walls, you have the option to only heat the rooms you’re using, and they’ll warm up much faster.
Converting your kitchen to an open plan requires you to heat the entire space, and will most likely take you more time to warm up the whole area. This may result in an increase in your heating bills if you’re living in colder climates.
When it comes down to it, open concept kitchens should be viewed as an investment more than anything else. You may spend more money than you expected up front, but with the help of home remodeling and design professionals, you are guaranteed to end up with a space that’s not only functional but beautiful and that will last.