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BRIANA: This trend ranks high on the list of must-have amenities for lots of people looking for homes – I’d say it’s almost as popular as stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Yes, I’m talking about open floor plans. Does an open concept give a home an appealing flow and extra light? Or does it make you feel lost in space? (Chad, I’m looping you in because I know you’re moving and in the market. Give us the dirt. Is it a feature you’d specifically seek out, a bonus or a dealbreaker?)

Do you like open floor plans? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

Open plan…

CHAD PARIZMAN: IMHO, it’s a bonus. Very few houses we’re looking at have them, though. Mostly the conversation goes something like, “This is kind of a small space, but I bet we can just knock down that wall and really open it up.”

This is especially true as we’re looking at tiny kitchens with little counter space who share a wall with a dining room twice as big as anything we’d ever need. We’re finding lots of dining rooms that could seat 16 people with kitchens that couldn’t handle more than two people standing in it at the same time.

JESSICA: I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I grew up in apartments where your only option is an open floor concept. I feel super claustrophobic otherwise. I’m also one of those people that has to have every single door in the house open though, so maybe it’s just me…

My family moved into our first house just a few years ago and that has a big open layout as well. I love it – I can be lounging in the living room while someone else is in the kitchen and we are all still together. That’s a luxury I don’t feel in my current home: it’s a very adorable old cottage, but the rooms are all separated and it can make the house feel smaller than it actually is. If I wasn’t renting I’d have already taken a sledgehammer to the walls.

GRANT: I have a buddy whose parents bought a house with an open floor plan — and they actually had a wall put up between the kitchen and living room. They didn’t like the openness! They were the first people I’d ever encountered who wanted the kitchen isolated.

Do you like an open layout or prefer the look of a closed kitchen? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

…or closed?

JESSICA: I think I sympathize: one of my college roommates would always close all the doors when I was cooking. Apparently bacon is not a smell people want in their room when they’re trying to sleep. That was news to me.

FARIMA: That’s funny you say that, Grant, because we’ve been wanting to tear down the wall between our living room and dining room ever since we moved in 4 years ago and we’re finally doing it this year. An open floor plan is much better for parties!

JESSICA: I just can’t imagine my family attempting to have our Christmas parties in a non-open floor layout. There are way too many of us. We’d eventually just burst through the walls and create an open floor plan by accident.

KELLY SMITH TRIMBLE: We have an open floor plan in our house in Birmingham (which is still for sale) and while I love our new house here, I really miss the openness between the kitchen and living room in our other home. Sometimes I like being able to see what’s happening on the tube while I’m cooking and I don’t want to have more than one TV in my house, so I’m currently in a dilemma. I’m pro open floor plan.

HANNAH SLAUGHTER: Ok y’all, I get that it’s adorable that you want to do the dishes and watch TV with your loved ones, but I do NOT want people all up in my dirty dishes when we’re throwing dinner parties. While I like the idea of open floor plans, sometimes you need to hide your mess. Seeing all the empty pots and pans from the dinner table does not make for easy conversation with the in-laws.

KAYLA: I’ve always lived in homes with open floor plans, so I can’t imagine living without it. A studio is what it is – a giant, open room. The one limit I have with my uber open floor plan, though, is that I literally can NEVER have a mess. Two pairs of shoes on the floor and a dirty pair of pants and it looks like a tornado passed through. I get it, Hannah…

JESSICA: Several members of my family have been told their houses look like showhouses…

So there. I’m blaming it on the open floor layout. You hear that, roommates? It’s. Not. My. Fault.

We’ve opened up about open floor plans, now tell us what YOU think:

FILED UNDER:

Defend the Trend

24 Responses

  1. John says:

    Is this a trend throughout the country or just in space starved SF? I've seen open "great rooms" on TV (usually without kitchens) and they are appealing in a house sized to go with them. But here, where City Planning believes that you should get a thousand square feet to live in (and then shut up complaining if you dare ask for more – and BELIEVE ME, I KNOW, I'VE BEEN THERE) is our "merge the rooms" the result of policies like this? I guess this is all anyone in SF who wants more space can aspire to….

  2. Teenie says:

    Open floor plans are a must in my list. One can throw huge parties. It makes the house updated and more grandiose and it’s perfect for families with children in my opinion. The only downsize is you have to keep it a bit tidier that’s it. I love it!!!!

  3. Beverly says:

    My living/dining room is one large open space, with a six foot pass through to the kitchen. The kitchen and den are completely open to each other. I don't mind that. I did not want the kitchen in the formal living room! I can be in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on a meal and still talk to guests in the DR. LR/DR are formal areas of the house, while the kitchen/den are the informal areas An even mix!

  4. helen says:

    I hate the open concept kitchen – sure it's a trend that will pass, but how many already perfect old houses are going to be disfigured in the meantime?

  5. Briana@HGTV says:

    Hi Lgonzal, we have a contact form here for questions and comments: http://www.hgtv.com/contact-us/package/index.html

    As does DIY Network: http://www.diynetwork.com/contact-us/package/inde

    If you're looking to appear on an HGTV show, here are the shows that are casting: http://www.hgtv.com/be-on-hgtv/package/index.html

    And here are the DIY shows that are looking: http://www.diynetwork.com/be-on-diy/package/index

    Hope that helps! :)

  6. Scot says:

    I want to do the same to my 80's oak cabinets and have in fact painted the island with great success. I am just not ready to tackle the huge job of 20 feet of cabinets! I have researched several methods and have used (on small projects) chalk paints. CeeCee Caldwell's paints go over everything with minimal prep and smooth or rough finish, antiqued as you wish. I even painted my enameled front door, turned out great. Web search chalk paints and see if you might like that method.

  7. Ann says:

    I agree. This is just another trend and will phase out. When all these open floor promoters want to sell in a few years I bet most buyers will want dedicated spaces again. Same goes for stainless steel appliances.

  8. JaeMWM says:

    Completely agree. I also think it depends on how big your house is too though. If you have a smaller home, of course an open floor plan would help make it feel like small. I have a medium sized home with an open kitchen/living room floor plan and even the bedrooms are darn near off the main living area with very small hallways; and I freaking HATE IT! I don't mind homes with an open kitchen/eat-in kitchen area that is open, airy, large windows etc. But to be completely open to a family room or the main living is just not fun. I have 4 children, 2 of which are older teenage boys. UGH! I would like to be able to sit in my living room on *my* couch and enjoy *my* book w/out hearing Guitar Hero come floating down the sparse hallway where the bedrooms are. I have noticed in the last 6 yrs we've lived in this house I spend more and more time behind my shut bedroom door if I want a quiet place to be alone. An open floor plan is just NOT for us, I want compartmentalized rooms where we *can* entertain, and enjoy company but also get AWAY from other noises and people. An open floor plan leave you virtually no privacy, and forget about me not listening to kids playing, screaming, fighting, laughing, etc while I'm trying to prepare a meal and of course all of them getting in my way in the kitchen since it's open to the living room and they never miss an opportunity to bother mom. :P
    Next home we buy- we are looking for something classic, a bit larger and not so OPEN. Mostly we have been looking at Craftsman style homes from the 1900s-1930s and Victorians from before 1900 as well. They seem to have nice big rooms with plenty of great flow but still feels like a lot of space without everyone having to be all up in it!

  9. JaeMWM says:

    whoops, that should have said- Help make it feel NOT so small. lol

  10. Teenie says:

    I can’t imagine a buyer ever saying “no, pls no stainless steel appliances” re: the open floor plans, it’s here to stay and I love it!

  11. Carol S. says:

    Finally, someone who agrees with me! Our kitchen is open to the family/TV room and I get dirty looks when I do dishes while others are watching TV and they have to jack up the volume just to hear it! And if I want to grind coffee or put away dishes in the morning before others are up, I can't do it- the noise travels right up the stairs which are just off the kitchen. Having a mess while entertaining sucks, too- our only saving grace is a separate formal dining room.

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Briana MowreyBriana is a writer and senior editor for HGTV.com. Her self-described design style is "mid-century modern magpie." She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with her husband, their spoiled dachshund, Chauncey,...

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