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POLL: Open-concept floor plan?

Emily H
4 years ago
last modified: 4 years ago

Open layouts are becoming more and more popular. An open layout, where the kitchen and living area combine into a single space, is a great way to maximize the space whetever you have a big or small plan.

In homes with open floor plans, the kitchen, traditionally considered a workspace, becomes the heart of the home where everything else revolved around and encourage the interaction between the family and guests when they visit the home.

However, tearing down walls is an expensive option. Some homeowners prefer to leave any smells and mess behind when serving meals, so the closed layout is the best option.

VOTE and tell us about it in the comments!

Other - Tell us below!

Comments (210)

  • dreamhorse

    Open - we always end up in the kitchen when alone or with guests. May as well have it all one big space.

  • sensiblegal

    Having a "closed" kitchen has been my favorite thing about our house. It has not interfered at all with socializing when we have people over. There will always be folks who follow us in while we make drinks or dish up appetizers, and they follow us back out again when we go back to the living room to sit comfortably and chat. On the once or twice a year occasion that we have a large number of people over, the separations are quite nice so that the noise from so many conversations is not all jumbled together. Also, when the kids were toddlers, I loved being able to close off the kitchen with the pocket doors that were built into the house. This kept the little ones away from splattering pans and hot ovens. Even now that they are old enough to stay away from the oven, I still use the doors when I make the kids' birthday cakes because they like to be surprised with the final cake "reveal".

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  • sensiblegal

    Also, who says no one uses dining rooms anymore? We use ours every
    single day. I grew up in an open concept house with no dining room and I
    never liked eating in the kitchen/living room. I would never buy a house
    without a dining room.

  • ewiebel

    I also like the dining room. We use the breakfast area more as a game playing surface and eat in the dining room every day. We believe every family should sit down and be together for the main meal of the day. We use the 2 big breakfast bars as a place for coffee and friends to converse while we are in the kitchen.

  • monaellen
    Frankly, I don't want to see my fridge and TV at the same time, so, no, I'm not a fan of open concept.
  • Emmitt Smith

    I like the kitchen to be open to a den/family room. But I also like more "formal" space for dinner parties and holiday events. So I am currently having a home built. It has the kitchen as part of my den/theater room so I can be part of the family when we are doing something. However will have a dining/living room combo next to the kitchen/den for more formal use.

  • laragazza

    It really depends on the individual house, its setting, its views, so many things. I love both and if I could start brand new and have anything I wanted, it would be a difficult decision.

  • gminnc

    Open concept might be preferable when entertaining, but for daily living, I prefer closed. The smells of cooking can be very off-putting, not to mention noise transfer between rooms. Having a larger kitchen with an eat-in area and/or an island could be the perfect compromise to the open concept. When entertaining, the kitchen would be large enough for guests to keep you company while you cook. When not entertaining, the smells and the noises in the kitchen do not intrude into adjoining rooms. Of course, those with young children prefer a line of view for monitoring activities while working in the kitchen, so the smell and noise transfer between rooms is a necessary compromise, perhaps. Again, with a larger kitchen, the children might be able to do some activities at the kitchen table or island under your supervision. Some even have a television in their kitchen for this purpose. However, many mothers, including myself, raised children in a closed concept kitchen/living area successfully, and it didn't seem to be a hardship or an inconvenience at the time. I have heard others express annoyance with the smells and the noises resulting from the open concept, but love the airiness and sense of larger space it creates. Is there a perfect compromise to keep both camps satisfied?

  • kariotakis
    I have a completely open kitchen and feel like I don't like having a "work area" in my family room. very limiting for furniture arranging and no way to hide the daily kitchen mess.
  • Jenn Dixon

    I love my layout, it's right in the middle of closed and open. My living room is open to my dining room with a fireplace for definition, then the dining room has a half wall separating it from the kitchen. It makes for a good flow without the kitchen mess taking center stage.

  • elizabethj48

    The house we bought originally was all open - it was only 900 sf at the time and housed a mother and daughter. When we added on, it doubled the size. Most of the south wall is windows. What is hard with open concept is that we have barely any wall space for our art work, no wall for my grandmother's china closet, or the upright piano. The new upstairs has traditional walled space. And the larger bedroom in the older part of the house got walled in when our boys became teens. I love the "great room concept" especially for entertaining, but I'll take traditional walled rooms for everything else, thank you.

  • mariekylco

    The very best thing we ever did in our last home was take down the kitchen/DR wall, making a large vaulted great room. We all loved it for function and togetherness, and it helped it sell quickly when the time came. It was also great for large family parties. We only looked at open floor plans when purchasing our new "forever home" in the mountains.

  • bethhohertz

    I had always thought I preferred closed, but this house, which we moved to 3 years ago, has a combination which I really like. The living room is open to the dining room with a french door separating it from the open kitchen/dinette/family room.

  • debg60

    I prefer semi open. In homes where I've been that have open concept there is no place to be alone. If you need some quiet time there is none. Children grow up and need their own space too so a defined space where you can cook and be able to peek or watch your guests would be my choice.

  • endbullyingnow

    Benefits to both. As a musician I love the acoustics of an open space, particularly with the vaulted ceiling. However, as a dog owner, I hate the acoustics of an open space, particularly when a squirrel is in the yard and the dogs want to play 'catch the squirrel.' A benefit of open concept is in entertaining. Furniture can easily be moved to create the space needed. On the other hand, a messy kitchen can't be hidden. Overall, I love the open concept floorplan because I can relish the feeling of space even when I don't have a large home.

  • nlsf
    I have lived in both. Once I had a kid, I could not envision living in an open floor plan ever again. I am renovating an Edwardian in San Francisco down to studs and moving walls where necessary. However, I am preserving all separate rooms. I know that the place might be worth a lot more open (and the renovation would probably be cheaper if everything was open) because people seem to love that. However I can't ever imagine living in an open floor plan again. Maybe if I had a huge house but I need separate spaces so I don't live in constant visual noise. Also I can't imagine entertaining in an open floor plan. Given the choice, I don't want to have a nice dinner in someone's kitchen with dishes etc.
  • shars55

    Mine is semi-open. The family room is open to the kitchen, but the living room isn't, I have to walk through my butler's pantry to get to the dining room, but it's not really open to the kitchen. For me, it's perfect. I don't like all rooms closed off from one another, but not a fan of everything open, either.

  • Jeff & Lee McCubbin
    Partially open works for us. We had a small kitchen and a large living area. We opened a dividing wall with a large window and made a pass-through with stools to eat on the living room side. It gave more natural light to both rooms and gave me more counter and space in my kitchen. We now have the chance to communicate with each other (without having to yell) no matter which room we are in.
  • SueBee

    We had an open concept when the kids were little and it worked well for us. Now that we're retired, we bought an older (1907) house and I love all the special little nooks and crannies that it has. I like being able to decorate each room individually instead of having one big room, but I've always loved old houses the best. Each one is unique and has it's own personality and style.

  • Reagan Cardwell
    I'm in the semi-open camp. I plan to open up the wall between the kitchen and great room, but as a broad passthrough, with a large "dry-stack" looking stone column in the center, to match the fireplace on the opposite wall of the great room. The kitchen side of the column will house the ovens. The dining room will be closed off to the great room, but open to the kitchen with a double-wide opening, and can be closed off with double pocket doors.
  • Carolyn Barrett
    I chose closed.
  • jhmarie

    closed - mine is closed. I wouldn't mind if it was a bit bigger with a little sitting area and fireplace.

  • meghanwithanh
    Closed, but with good circulation to other parts of the house and a breakfast nook. Open plan homes are too un-cosy to me.
  • mariekylco

    This is a bit of sentimentalism, but my now grown and out of the house kids always said they absolutely loved the open floor plan. We can be all together but all doing our own things. I'm baking, they were doing HW, watching Netflix or practicing music. We all interact. If you want privacy you can go down to the finished basement or to your room. We believe it helps keep everyone close.

  • Enseignante Pfeister
    Perhaps it comes from growing up in a crowded semi-open plan home or a symptom of my introversion but I vastly prefer a closed plan. Even as a child I envied my grandmother her completely closed off formal dining room.
    When the kitchen, in particular, is open to the rest of the house I find it distracting and, frankly, more work. I hate it when the I can see the disarray in my kitchen during a dinner party. It meant limiting my menu when I hosted more than a couple of people.
    A closed floorplan with lots of light is perfection for me.
  • stephaniedonlon

    partially open - the kitchen open to the daily eating area is critical, but I prefer a large opening to the family room, rather than true open concept between kitchen and family room. It's also nice to have "away" rooms, like an office/living room/den (even dining room) to close off.

  • modesto7993

    It's ironic that the poll is strongly positive toward open, yet the majority of comments are for a open kitchen/family room, but with a separate parlor or sitting room. It seems as though people voted open, but actually liked other.

  • lizzieandherdog

    Took every wall we could take down when we built our home. Back walls are Windows that face the woods. It is like being out in the season changes w/nothing to block the view. Hosting large gatherings makes the party when we can all be together in one space.solution to messy cooking place - Clean up as you cook and stash big pots in the adjacent laundry room and close that door ! Keeps me happy as I don't want that messy kitchen in view

  • ihide
    I think the open plan option is grand and awesome. In terms of the closed/walled off option giving privacy and keeping "bad" smells away from the living room, I think the open plan option encourages cleanliness and maintaining a visually palatable kitchen environment.

    However, having said that I must add that I have two houses; one with an open plan and one with a closed plan option, both fantastic buildings.
  • stlouisgaltoo
    I like cozy vs "commercial" open space. Just me. A mix of both but it has to feel comfortable, cozy. Welcoming.
  • laurieblueyes

    I prefer semi-open. My home has the kitchen-breakfast area-family room open across the back of the house which is separate from the formal dining room and the living room and foyer/entrance at the front of the house. The kitchen has a peninsula (not wide enough for an island) separating the work area from the breakfast area. I love that the work area is enclosed, which keeps guests out of the way, yet open for the social interaction. And I also love that casual meals are eaten in the large breakfast area (seating for 8) overlooking the backyard, yet I still have a separate dining room for those times when I don't want to look at the mess in the kitchen.

  • shars55
    Modesto, I consider our house "open", our living room and dining room are slightly separate from the family room/kitchen, so it's not completely open. However, it's much more open than the house I grew up in where every room was separated with four walls. I couldn't live in a house like that now after living in my last 3 houses, which were all much more open.
  • jill7256

    I cook, including frying and sautéing, and have oil paintings in my living room. I don't want to add a fine mist of cooking oil to the art. Why anyone would want to combine the two is beyond me.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Good ventilation solves the aerosolized floating grease problem, regardless of an open or closed kitchen. unfortunately, good ventilation is the #1 most overlooked need in a kitchen redo. Most people get caught up it decorative elements and forget that functionality should be first.

  • sprat6164
    I have always lived in homes with huge open concept kitchens. Bought a 1926 charmer and decided to keep the original footprint of the home while squeezing in a half bath... It's a very small kitchen but I love it! Opened up the doorways into the front of the house and dining room, while maintaining the small footprint. I couldn't be happier!
  • sprat6164
    I have always lived in homes with big open concept kitchens. I recently bought a 1926 charmer to rehab and decided to keep the original footprint of the house. Had I opened up the kitchen I would have lost space for cabinets and storage. I know it's a tiny kitchen (made even smaller by squeezing in a half bath) but I wouldn't trade it for anything!! I'm almost finished and I love it!!
  • abkrol51

    I'm am in the process of building a open concept home on the shores of Lake Michigan. So when you walk in, all you see is a wall of windows overlooking the lake so no one will notice a messy kitchen. In my old home, everyone ends up in the kitchen anyhow, talking, helping and getting in the way...ha. As far as the noise level goes, looking forward to it as we are empty nesters. As far as hanging art with less walls, hang them floor to ceiling with about an inch inbetween. There are some great articles on Houzz about hanging art.

  • Stormi W

    I love open floor plans, with light flowing from area to area. Our ranch has the kitchen flowing into the dining room, with wide openings to the living room on one side and the sunken family room on the other. I suppose we are semi-open, as I wanted endless cabinets. I love being able to talk to anyone in any of the rooms without being closed in a kitchen. Also, the pets and cats love to play by running the full circle from room to room and back around without stopping. Everything is handy. To distract from the prep area being visible, we installed a huge mirror over the sink which reflects the large picture window across in the dining room, and grabs the attention of anyone looking at the prep area, as it makes the outdoors instantly visible. We have artwork over the cabinets, and tile artwork built into the stone walls of the kitchen. Also, we have mid-century brutalist accent lights and hangings above the counter-height bar, also distracting from any prep mess.I love being able to work in the kitchen and see outside no matter what I am doing. The level counter/eating area is perfect for buffet spreads, with lots of room for people to mill in and out of the kitchen. Drawbacks, maybe making night time snacks too easy to access from any room!

  • misselthwaite

    I have a little house, older style. So grateful for every wall that diminishes the sound of all my children! Not to mention, keeping them out from underfoot would be impossible. Would not want 'open concept' for anything, so noisy and inconvenient!

  • genadams

    For a mature couple that love to entertain; the open concept works well.

  • tdagos

    I have had lived in both and prefer closed. Our current home has a very large kitchen for anyone who wants to gather around with the family room close by and open to our porch and dining room. Our last house had the kitchen and family open and was quite noisy.

  • handmethathammer

    I am surprised at how many don't like to see kitchen messes. Dirty dishes mean there is good food and good company. I never thought to be embarrassed or prompted to clean up during a party by the sight of them. Maybe I am just messy (evidenced in the picture below).

    I have my complaints about open concept, but love the functionality of my house. I can watch tv while doing food prep in the kitchen:) It can get noisy when everyone is here, but I can go to my bedroom, my office, the covered patio, or send the kids to the finished basement rec room.

  • themudpupy

    I definitely prefer a more closed off kitchen. When I cook, I don't really want an audience--I love the quiet time so I can concentrate. And then when I eat, I don't want to be looking at all of my dirty dishes and pots and pans. If I moved into a house with an open kitchen, the first thing I would do is to see how I could divide it with some kind of partial wall!

  • Pat K

    I love open concept. I never want to be "out of the action" when the family is here. We live on a lake and the view from the house is wonderful. We opened it all up so the minute a person walks in the house....they are floored by the view. Wall would just seperate us all from enjoying each other and the view. If you need privacy, go to one of the bedrooms. It's all open for us!

  • cdammm

    I like a combination. Our house has an open dining/living room so we can host large numbers of people by shifting furniture. But our kitchen is off to the side of the dining room with a wide doorway. We paid particular attention to internal framed views, sound and traffic flow and the result is very comfortable!

  • chrissiekirk

    We have a mixture of both in our home and we burn a lot of incense to get rid of those cooking smells...I can make toast and smell it for an hour afterwards. And lordhelpus when we make a curry! Almost makes me want to finish closing in the kitchen!

  • Sally Hanson

    I like closed. we have an eat in kitchen. We don't dine, we just eat. eating area is next to French doors out to the screened in patio. We prefer the living room more quiet. Dish washer, exhaust fans, refrigerator running, and my personal little tiny under the counter t.v. just wouldn't work for open concept for us. I like that my kitchen is not the first room you see when coming in the front door. That's just us.

  • Jeff & Lee McCubbin
    Sophia had it right. Ventilation is key to preventing several of the issues readers have mentioned. Also moving your cook center away from any connecting door or openings and getting a good exhaust fan will do wonders - no matter what kind or how much cooking you do.

    When redoing our kitchen we opened the wall between the small galley kitchen and living room with a large window. I relocated my cooktop (and space for other cooking appliances) to an outside wall and got a really good exhaust vent that vents directly to the outside instead of upward through the attic and roof.

    I gained a couple more very important things.....more counter space and more natural lighting from the huge windows in my living room and the sliding door in our dining room. The kitchen had only had a small window over the sink before. I don't feel trapped in that small kitchen anymore and I don't have to yell to talk to anyone in the living room anymore.
  • zeetulip

    The open floor plan in my small condo definitely makes the space appear larger; it takes the eye to the furthest distance in the room rather than being halted by a wall. By removing the pantry, I was able to trick the eye by installing a

    small island centered in the room, then placed slender cabinets along one side of the room for additional storage and counter space.

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