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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:


Defend the Trend

86 Responses

  1. Barbara says:

    There is a difference between open concept and lack of design. A house that has a living/dining/kitchen area that is just a big open rectangle is not open concept, it just lacks design. My rule is if you can see the kitchen sink from the front door, it's a deal breaker.

  2. cartoon HD says:

    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.

  3. If I wasn’t renting I’d have already taken a sledgehammer to the walls.

  4. Laura says:

    I have been on both sides of the fence here, but have also had the great pleasure of owning two homes with semi-open floor plans and this is what I'm currently living in now. While both open and closed plans have their advantages and disadvantages (especially when it comes to the size of the home), a hybrid, for me, has been ideal. The dining room in our house is open to the kitchen, but can be closed off by a nice little pocket door hidden within the wall. The family room is open to the kitchen, but only by a line of sight when sitting at the island or kitchen table. The prep area hides behind the wall separating the two rooms. I've even considered putting in a pocket door to allow me the option of closing off the kitchen completely when I'm cooking stinky food like fish or broccoli. To me, this allows a good flow through the house, but also gives me the freedom to decorate each room with its own unique personality which I have found actually encourages people to drift through the house and mingle, especially since the family room and living room are open to each other and can also be separated with another set of hidden pocket doors. It's the perfect balance of flow and function, with the added benefit of allowed creative form and decor. But I really think it comes down to home size and of course, personal preference and lifestyle.

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  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. PAtoAZ says:

    I am so happy to read these posts. I am a realtor and all I ever hear is "we want an open floor plan for entertaining." I hate open floor plans…there is nowhere to "get away"…no peace and solitude…my husband and I just bought a vacation home in AZ which was built in the 80's and it is 2500 square feet with separate rooms…it is sooo relaxing and every room is beautiful and unique…our primary residence is twice the size open and noisy! I think this trend will change soon once people begin to understand that a box with no hallways and separation is boring and uncomfortable.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. Kathy D says:

    Paint or replace, but do something because if you feel that way now, you will dislike them more every day.

  14. Madonna Wayne says:

    Open concept is not always the way to go, do you want to see all kitchen when you are relaxing in liv room?

  15. hateopencencept says:

    Yeah…. open concept is for people that don't cook from scratch every day 3 times a day. If you COOK…. and I mean REALLY cook… you make your own sauces… butcher your own meat…. grind your own spi
    ces…. you get the point, then I would be very surprised if you still loved your open concept kitchen. Also, an open kitchen means you lose 1 or 2 walls worth of cabinets and you end up walking a marathon getting what you need.

    Open kitchen is for people that feed their kids frosted flakes every morning.

  16. Lizy says:

    Well, to each their own, but we are building a new house with a mostly open concept and I can't understand what the fuss is about. I guess it's that our lives do revolve around food(what's wrong with the house being full of delicious smells! Yum!)If everyone helps with clean up, you're done in no time and if no one realized that it takes pots and pans to prepare a meal they obviously need educating! It's true that "real" cooking is a little noisy, but life is messy and noisy and wonderful!

  17. gracey says:

    Totally agree Madonna. I don't want to hear, see or know what's going on in the kitchen in fact the best time of my day is turning off the kitchen light meaning I'm done cooking and cleaning! It's not that far from my living room. BUT I would like to knock down the wall between kitchen and dining room that I believe is an anchor wall which I know would cost money. It keeps me from doing anything special in my kitchen because I badly want that gone first :(

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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