Should You Have an Open Floor Plan?

Open floor plans are one of those topics that often have a love it or hate it reaction. Before making a decision about whether or not you should have an open floor plan, there are different issues to consider. Here’s some food for thought on the subject.

Open floor plan kitchenConsideration: Do You Need To Keep an Eye on the Kiddos?

Afternoons and evenings are extra busy when you’re trying to make put away the groceries or cook dinner, especially when you’re trying to keep an eye on little ones. When a kitchen is open to the family room, you can do it all at the same time. A layout where your prep area provides the view is ideal. In this case, the island serves as the main prep area that includes the sink and dishwasher as well. This keeps it easy to oversee what the kiddos are up to while you prep, cook and clean up.

Tip: If your kitchen sink is within view of other rooms, consider a large and/or deep sink. That way you can hide those dirty dishes that you’ll get to later in there and not have to look at them.

Open floor plan basementConsideration: I Have Limited Square Footage

Taking down walls and opening rooms up makes all of the spaces feel bigger and brighter. Our design team planned this basement to function like a chic studio apartment. Trying to keep the kitchenette closed would have chopped up the narrow space. If you have limited square footage, an open plan will make your space feel much larger.

Read more about this basement renovation

floating open floor plan kitchen shelvesConsideration: What’s the View Like?

When sitting in a dining room, family room or living room that’s open to the kitchen, the last thing you want to be looking at is a mess of dirty dishes. Or a massive refrigerator. Our interior designers can help you lay out your kitchen in a visually pleasing way. The goal is  to make the kitchen not look so “kitchen-y” when viewing it from other rooms.

In this home, we installed new wood floating shelves and a new island with a waterfall counter create a beautiful view from the family room. The lovely silhouettes of walnut Cherner counter stools and beautiful pendant lights are also pleasing to the eye. Our clients wanted a way to display their very cool ceramics collection, and now they can enjoy them from two rooms. The high tile backsplash behind the shelves and the trio of wall sconces that illuminate them enhance this view.

Learn more about open kitchen shelves

Open floor plan kitchen and family room

Consideration: Can I Create a Cohesive Look and Flow?

When opening up the kitchen to other rooms, you’ll want to create a cohesive look between rooms. While they don’t need to be matchy-matchy, repeating elements like metal finishes, colors, materials and millwork will ease the flow. In this home, the family room is the yin to the kitchen’s yang. The dark pendant lights, faucet ceramics and island base pick up on the charcoal walls of the family room. And the family room’s color palette was inspired by the tones of the walnut wood and our clients’ ceramics collection in the kitchen.

Tip: Having more than one room renovated at once will save you time and make it easier to keep the rooms cohesive.

Open floor plan kitchen living room

Consideration: Do I Need To Increase the Natural Light?

This kitchen is generously sized. But imagine it with a full wall separating it from the adjacent living room. It would feel much smaller and closed in. And when we close off rooms, we can be missing out on an opportunity to maximize natural light. In this home, the kitchen enjoys the light from expansive glass doors in the living room. It also enjoys the cool pattern on the window treatments. Likewise, the kitchen’s lovely blue tile backsplash and character-filled wood base of the island provide a nice view from the living room.

Learn more about this kitchen renovation

A zoned kitchen layout with two islandslands

Consideration: Am I Into Less Formal Family Dining?

Many of our clients are finding they don’t use formal dining rooms even once a month, and they want to make better use of the space. Since dining rooms are often next to kitchens, taking over a formal dining room’s footprint is a good way to increase the square footage of your kitchen.

In this kitchen’s eat-in area, a banquette lends a more casual family feel. But the formal drapes and chandelier allow it to transform into a more formal space for big occasions. There’s also a butler’s pantry conveniently located right off this area.

A zoned kitchen layout with two islands

Here’s how the eat-in area relates to the rest of the kitchen. This is also another great example of sharing natural light within an open plan.

Learn more about this kitchen renovation

quiet room library

Consideration: Will TV Noise Drive Me Up the Wall?

One issue with an open plan is the way noise can carry from room to room. Therefore, consider placing the TV in a room that is separate from the open plan. This can be a closed-off room, or perhaps limit the TVs to a finished basement.  Conversely, if you’re in the “I need to keep an eye on my kiddos” camp, create a quiet room that’s separate from the open plan for work, reading, studying and peace and quiet.

We hope this list has helped you figure out if an open floor plan is for you (or not!). And if you’re ready to renovate, schedule a free consultation to let us know more about your project. We will have a deeper discussion to help you figure out the design that will best serve your needs and budget.

If you found this article helpful, here are a few more you might find useful:

10 Things To Think About Before a Kitchen Remodel

5 Wine Storage Solutions

The Benefits of Hiring a Design-Build Firm