Open-concept kitchens have been knocking down barriers (literally) for years. Their popularity is undeniable, as more and more builders and kitchen remodelers have created floor plans with open-concept kitchens in recent years. But before you decide if an open-concept kitchen is for you, consider its pros and cons.
What Is an Open-Concept Kitchen?
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But first, definitions. What, exactly, is an open-concept kitchen? In an open-concept kitchen, the walls and doors that would traditionally have separated the kitchen from the dining room and living room are eliminated. Instead, the kitchen opens up to a dining space and the living room (or another combination of similar spaces). Often, the kitchen, dining area, and living room are grouped together and called a great room.
This is a departure from the more traditional layout of houses that reigned supreme until mid-to-late late last century, when each room was separated by its function — and by walls. The kitchen was for cooking. The dining room was for eating. The living room was for visiting. And these functions didn’t cross over easily.
Pros of Open-Concept Kitchens
Open-concept kitchens are perfect for many people, offering plenty of benefits.
Easier traffic flow
When you don’t have so many walls separating spaces in your main living area, you — and all the members of your family, as well as pets — can move more seamlessly through the house. Traffic jams are reduced and it’s easier to move about your busy day.
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With more open space, members of your family will share space more often, leading to more interaction. Open-concept kitchens encourage gathering, and if you’re the type who likes to entertain, the open space works really well as it invites your guests right into the hub of your home.
An open floor plan looks more “open” and allows you to use your space more seamlessly. If your home is lacking in square footage, an open floor plan will give you better flow and more space than if a wall divides the rooms.
If you’re thinking of selling your home, open-concept kitchens are popular, and tend to do better in resale value and time on the market.
Cons of Open-Concept Kitchens
But the open-concept kitchen isn’t for everyone. Consider these cons before you start knocking down walls.
Without walls breaking up the spaces in your home, noise tends to carry a bit further. And when you have multiple people and animals using the space for multiple functions at the same time, an open-concept kitchen may lean on the more noisier side.
You Can’t Hide the Mess
The kitchen is always in constant flux. One moment it’s cleaned up, with every dish tucked neatly away. Five minutes later, an afternoon snack has left crumbs, dishes, and napkins scattered throughout the landscape. In an open-concept kitchen, you can’t walk out of the space (or direct your guest to another area) to get away from the mess. It’s always on display.
Depending on the design, you may end up with less storage in your kitchen if you opt for an open-kitchen concept. Removing walls removes cabinets, after all.
It Can Feel Too Big
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While an open-concept kitchen does wonders for a home lacking in space, if you have plenty of square footage, an open-concept kitchen may make the space feel too big for comfort. It can also increase your heating and cooling expenses.
If you want an open-concept kitchen, but worry about some of the cons like less storage or mess, it’s possible to use design elements to make those problems smaller. An island can add under-counter storage, while also creating a barrier between rooms and adding space so messes aren’t so overwhelming. You can also opt for open storage. Whatever concept you choose, there is a way to make your space work for you.