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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

50 Responses

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  2. Eric says:

    Open floor plans make your house feel brighter and so much larger! I love how new homes have great rooms with a bonus room or office instead of a family and living room. Kitchen islands are a great place to have breakfast and save space on a useless eat-in nook. And as for those who complain how the builders don't build more closed space homes, they never sell out. I know a builder that offered a closed space floor plan. They managed to sell only 3 out of 35 homes lots with that floor plan in a year. Even though they reduced the price steeply and offered lots of upgrades, buyers still gravitated towards the more expensive open floor plans. The builder had to redesign that floor plan and made it open concept. Once it was converted to being open concept, the builder sold the remaining 32 lots in 2 months.

  3. Christmas Cloud says:

    My ideal is a big farmhouse kitchen, large enough to accommodate a table for at least six. I fall on the side of hating open concept. I also prefer butcher block to granite, and would opt for retro/reproduction appliances over stainless that shows every fingerprint.

  4. Guest says:

    We had our home on the market for 6 months with well over 40 showings but it is not open floor plan and that is what everyone wanted. Sadly our house did not sell this year.

    • jenny says:

      Hi,

      If those closed spaces are too small, most people feel they would get cramped in there, so an open floor plan would create the feeling of more space when, in fact, there is little space (especially in the kitchen).

      Personally, I find a large open plan difficult to clean and maintain. That huge space must always be kept clean in case you have visitors. There's no door that you can close…But I like larger closed kitchens where you can eat with your family members. In other words, I believe kitchen-dining, plus a separate living room is a good combination whereas kitchen+dining+living room can be problematic.

  5. montse says:

    Hola, yo cocino mucho y me molesta que la casa huela a comida cuando no estoy comiendo. Me gusta que cada cosa tenga su propio olor, y el salon no debe oler a comida..es para relajarme y compartilo

  6. Memi says:

    I think I am one of the few that don't think open plan are just a "trend." My house was built in 2003 and is an open concept. The room are all separated by halls and it is possible to keep activities separate by everyone in the house when needed. Instead of an island, my house has a large peninsula with bar high counters that give an illusion of separation to the dining an living room area, while still allowing everyone to be part of the conversations, drinks and laughter. Plus, I get to look out of windows wherever I am in the house. I love the efficient use of the square footage that comes with an open concept – I don't recall ever spending too many memorable times in hallways anyway. I agree that open concept is not for everybody, or for every house, but I don't think this will be going away any time soon.

    • jenny says:

      You may be right. Indeed, there are people who really enjoy the open floor concept. I believe this arrangement best suits people who keep their house clean all the time (or employ a cleaning person), people who don't cook a lot (or at least, not smelly meals), or people who are extroverts.

      Personally, I would prefer receiving the more formal guests in a clean, quiet, good-smelling, separate living room.

      We, people, have different habits/personalities/lifestyles so, while something may work for someone, it might not work for someone else.
      Given the succes of the open floor plan, it might not be just a trend, but the very reflection of some people's lifestyle.

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  10. David says:

    I bought my home two years ago. It had a giant great room with open concept. i never liked open concept but i loved the house and was willing to try. I've had to put up walls and close off my house. Though there is a large archway from the dining room to he living room. I had no dedicated spaces for anything. I had no kitchen, no dining room. no office. Its so hard to sit at my desk and try to work when someone is across the room watching tv or banging pots and pans. Having a more seperated layout gives me the ability to be able to identify what room you're in.

    • amy says:

      I find giant rooms time-consuming and difficult to clean. Unless one has cleaning personnel, it is difficult for one woman/one man to upkeep such a house, especially when one has kids and professional work to do.

      I believe open spaces are a solution to the small, cramped spaces that people usually dislike. Ideally, for me, a large kitchen with eat-in area, plus a comfortably-sized living room would work best.

      Oh, and a home office in an open space is totally counter-productive, especially if you have a family. The office space should definitely be separate.

  11. Briana@HGTV says:

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  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. JaeMWM says:

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. Kathy D says:

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

  19. 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?

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

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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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