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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

39 Responses

  1. Pamela says:

    I have an open floor plan & I love it! My place would be considered small but it's the right size for many; I can go right from the kitchen to the DR table : – ). Plus, it's a big heat'g/cool'g saver!

  2. This blog is awesome for me. Thnx for posting this info. Your information is very good.

  3. 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….

  4. 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!!!!

  5. 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!

  6. 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?

  7. amelie says:

    I don't like the open concept floor plan (and especially the open kitchen) for several reasons:

    - the smells, noise and mess that are produced in the kitchen. (Think about, let's say, the onion, broccoli, etc. odors dissipating in the living room.) I believe that, at least, the kitchen should be separate from the living spaces for the reasons mentioned above.
    -more difficult to heat and cool than closed rooms with particular destinations
    -more difficult to clean and keep clean. A large open floor plan needs constant cleaning and very tidy inhabitants (if you receive guests). It is much easier to just close the doors of rooms that you don't have time to clean immediately.

    I believe open floor plans are cheaper and easier to build, so very convenient for people in the construction business.

    For someone who cooks on a regular basis or who has small children (who don't always keep spaces tidy), I don't think this plan type is very practical.

    A larger, closed kitchen where family members can gather around the cook and where you don't feel claustrophobic is much better from my point of view.

  8. bob smith says:

    I like a combination of closed and open…not so open between the kitchen and family room as to have no walls but not a closed doorway. It's much easier to decorate a separate family room to give it an ambiance and separate character than the kitchen. It's nice to move from conversing in the kitchen and dining areas into the family room, which has more subdued lighting and a more cozy feeling than the kitchen. It's just more interesting having individual spaces with more of a separate kitchen and family rooms than one big great room.

    Open houses have a look and feel of an apartment or a hotel lobby with a breakfast bar on the side. Developers push them because it's cheaper to build open-layout plans because you use less materials.

  9. Joy says:

    We're one of the few people in our circle of friends that has more of a closed room layout, but we're always the house where people want to have get-togethers and we constantly get positive comments. People like to wander through the individual spaces of the kitchen, dining room, and family room to chit-chat and converse.

    In the open space layout you end up with a large group in a large area with a lot of noise and little real conversation. People are too distracted with what's happening on the other side versus conversing with the group in front of them.

  10. Marina says:

    I really wish there was more diversity in the home plans nowadays.
    I'm from Europe and here, too, most modern house plans seem to have only one typical layout: an open kitchen and a large open living area at the back of the house.

    I would really like more diversity in these plans. All people don't have the same needs and preferences.

    I feel like builders are trying to impose certain trends. There are some strongly marketed trends which leave place for little diversity.

    I, for instance, like the closed, larger kitchen, with an eat-in area. I like to be able to read and rest in the living room, I don't like the spreading smells from the kitchen and, also, I'd prefer guests didn't watch me cooking or see the mess in the kitchen.

    I understand there are people who like the open space concept. I just wish there was more diversity. But, for architects, it is much easier to design open floor plans.

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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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