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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. Kibbie R. says:

    I have been agonizing for over a year about painting my kichen cabinets. They are custom, solid oak and wood, raised panel "80's Golden Oak" style. I love wood finished woodwork, windows and doors, but this kitchen is too much oak. How can I overcome my fear? HELP!!

    • Madonna Wayne says:

      Why not sand and stain in a mid tone wood like fruitwood, instead go painting, which is ok but not special

    • sabineartist says:

      Just do it. Over come fear with courage. Be bold; have fun. It's only stuff; not brain surgery on your mom.

    • t baker says:

      be very careful about how you paint. I followed the directions perfectly…sanding, priming, 2 coats of paint…and it is coming off where the handles are. Now I get to repaint the outer rim with a gloss paint ( I was told to use semi-gloss) this summer! I wonder if it's worth the money to have the doors painted professionally….

    • MeggsW says:

      Do like I did and just close your eyes and do it. I have never regretted painting those golden oak cabinets

  2. 4Grammy says:

    My husband would love to knock down the wall between the living room and kitchen in our ranch but then the eating area would be floating between the two small rooms. It depends on the size and style of your home. I would love to open it up but you would see the kitchen sink and refrigerator from the front door or when you are sitting in the living room.

    • jfwise says:

      our house sounds a lot like your layout, and we're gonna take down the wall. I'm OK with the kitchen being seen from the entryway, I just plan to have the range hood be a focal point, and lots of whote cabinets, so it'll look great. I WOULD like suggestions on what I could do IN the entryway as an immediate attention grabber, though.

  3. mrs k says:

    i have lived in the "open floor plan" over 10 years. I hate it. Sure it looks nice. Other than that, its noisy, each flow needs to be kept tidy. & the decore must travel. The smells from kitchen do need to be closed off at times. Who wants to hear a blender, a dish washer with quiet pack while watching tv, doing home work or taking a phone call. I like and have a large kitchen. But i so want to put a full wall up to separate large family room. Been adviced to leave it open for resale. I would not buy open floor plan again.

    • Kristie says:

      I completely agree. I like having a big kitchen with a counter or island where my kids can sit and do homework while I am cooking dinner. However, when I'm entertaining, I don't want my dishes and pots and pans on display, nor do I need the smell of every onion, broccoli, steak, or microwave popcorn embedded in my living room furniture.

    • been there says:

      Open concept is easier and cheaper to build.An expensive to create in an older home.What a contractors dream.

    • Lynne says:

      Ahhhh, the voice of reason! How can you enjoy a quiet conversation if you're constantly sharing space with everyone? Trust me, in a few years people will realize their folly (those with kids mostly) and start wishing they had s quiet "non-open" space to go!

  4. Joy Kitchel says:

    I think it is a fad. This too shall pass. So many people say this would be great for entertaining …….this makes me wonder if they have ever entertained guest for a sit down dinner, or was it for drinks and snacks, like dip and chips, cheese and cold meats on a tray. I have lived and entertained in both styles of homes and believe me when in the open plan many times I wished I had a door to close off the kitchen and the mess, even if you try to keep up as you cook, you will have the pots and pans on the stove after you have put most of the food in their serving bowls and or trays. If you have used your oven to cook a large roast, taking hours to cook the smell is all over the house, esp. if you use garlic or onions or both to season your meat.
    The barn style is "in" now so building a home will be less to build. Which look great in the country, but maybe not so good in the city.

    • AZto PA says:

      Totally agree….and I hate people hovering over me and making comment while I'm cooking. I don't want you tasting my food while I'm cooking or watching how much salt I do or do not add…I wan to concentrate on my cooking not entertain guests while I'm trying to prepare a meal..let them relax in a beautiful room with a glass of wine and a view of the garden and the sound of a fountain..

  5. a_fan says:

    I noticed a re-emerging trend in kitchen design on HGTV lately, featuring kitchen backsplashes that are laid in a herringbone pattern. And, I love it!

    While watching the Fixer Upper with Joanna and Chip Gaines, I noticed the kitchen backsplash used white subway tiles in a herringbone pattern. It added so much character.

    More recently, this past week on the Property Brothers, I noticed light cocoa glass subway tiles laid in a herringbone pattern (Episode HPBRS-312H). It was simply stunning! I have to complement Jonathan Scott on his material selection and his design; he successfully brought together the warmth infused by the light cocoa color and the reflective quality of the glass tiles, and left us with an updated fresh take on the timeless and classic herringbone pattern. Well done!

  6. Marc Prentice says:

    I do think it comes down to the sq. footage of the entire space. If its an apartment, yes open plan is the better choice for most. If its 3k-4k sq. foot home, there are two considerations: are you the type who likes guests in your kitchen while you work; and will you be bothered by the mess being on display for the whole party to see? Everyone has their own preferences. Mine: I cannot cook, time done dishes, plate and converse with guests at the same time–I just cant do it. And I really prefer the mess not to be on display for my guests. My kitchen is a U shape, with plenty of cab's and surface, in one corner of 2,000 sq. ft. of open plan living area. After living in many places, its the perfect blend of open/closed space planning for me and I love it!

  7. janevir says:

    I've grown weary of all the "must-haves" expressed by home buyers/DIYers on HGTV programming because they basically want all the same things and it's kind of boring: "pops of color," "open concept/floor plan," "stainless steel appliances," "hardwood," and (of course) "granite countertops." Now I'm seeing what I personally saw as a potential problem: people are sick and tired of all the granite and are now beating it up with sledge hammers and throwing it in the dumpster. Huge, expensive slabs of a natural substance of beauty? Who cares. It's just a passing trend for my kitchens and baths until I jump onto the next thing. Wait, I digress. Open floor plans can be wonderful, but there are worse things in life than not being able to see your toddlers playing while you scramble an egg, or not being able to visit with your guests while you make the Caesar salad. Sound issues can be one.

    • P.Devlin says:

      It is because people have no imagination and follow the herd like sheep. Baa baa baa….must have granite, stainless steel, open concept, dual sinks, soaker tub, separate shower, man cave, giant yard for privacy because I am royalty..baa baa!

  8. Linda Meade says:

    Open floor plans help us to maximize the square footage of our homes and create a feeling of spaciousness. My only pet peeve is when the high ceilings and wide open space make the home feel cold and cavernous. Proportions need to be human-scale. I love half-walls with square columns between a living room and an adjacent dining room.

  9. I hate open floor plans with a rage of a thousand suns. I could care less about new housing but where I live all the new buyers are ripping walls out of 120 year old homes and moving the kitchen into the living rooms. It makes your house look like an apartment to me. It can look OK in a ranch house but I think it is atrocious in old houses. Someday the market will punish those owners serverly for doing that.

    • Carol S. says:

      Totally agree! We are looking to move, and all the homes around here were built in the late 90's to 2000's and all have the sucky open concept. As I said above, making noise in the kitchen ends up traveling throughout the whole house- straight up the stairs- can't stand that and having an "open mess" for all to see when I haven't had time to get to the dishes yet!

    • Chris says:

      Amen. I detest open floor plans, but I've been all-but forced to live in them because of frequent military moves. Base housing and most rental homes we've encountered have the horrible "one giant room" concept. It's as if they don't even build any other kind, now.

  10. […] the big deal with open space? According to HGTV, not many homes have an open floor plan, and knocking a wall down is often suggested by people who are buying a […]

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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