New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

How to Create an Open Floor Plan - When to Remove or Add a Wall

Posted by Penny Hull on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 @ 06:10 AM

Can a floor plan be too open?

Open floor plan concepts - should there be a wall between the kitchen and living room?


We were recently asked this interior design question, through "Ask Andrea": 

"We were wondering if we should keep a wall up or take it down so that the living room and kitchen are completely open."

According to Andrea Enns, Stanton Homes' Interior Design Expert, most new homes DO keep the kitchen partially or fully open to the living or great room. With existing home renovations, however, there is more room to debate. Here's what Andrea has to say:

Thank you for your question regarding your dilemma of whether or nKitchen Open to Great Roomot to keep a wall in between your kitchen and living room.

That is a good question because there is not a hard and fast rule to this design question.

It all depends on your needs:

  • How you plan to arrange furniture
  • Whether or not you want to look at the kitchen when you are in the living room
  • Whether or not the two rooms coordinate together

Yikes! That's a lot to think about--no wonder you asked the question! 

We have worked on countless floor plans here at Stanton Homes and sometimes we are taking walls down but sometimes we add them back in

In very large floorplans, you can get away with not having walls in between rooms as there exists plenty of space to create natural separations and walk ways/traffic flow patterns from room to room that are "understood" but not necessarily physically there.

Kitchen Wall

Ironically, when spaces become smaller and you would automatically think that you can make them look larger by tearing down walls--you may want to consider your furniture placement needs before you do that and ultimately keep the wall. (The image to the left is an example of a wall between the kitchen and family room in a home just over 2,000sq ft).

If you have a wall, then you can go ahead and back a piece of furniture up to it without issue. However, in the absence of a wall when the space is limited, you may not feel that you can place the backs of your living room chairs for example, that close to the dining area of the kitchen as it will look like they are crowding each other.

However, in that same scenario and square footage, with a wall in between the two, you can have furniture against the wall on both sides if you have to, and in either room it will look fine.

So, what if space and furniture placement are worked out? Do you then automatically take down the wall?

Kitchen Open to Great Room

In new construction this is what we would do nine times out of ten because we have the opportunity to plan the two spaces to harmonize and coordinate with each other. We have an ultimate plan for everything to flow well together.

In a renovation, if you are not planning to re-do both rooms, you may be disappointed with taking the wall down and it may lead to yet another renovation in order to properly coordinate the two spaces.

If it is in your budget to cover all of these considerations, then your floor plan will tend look newer and more up to date if you take the wall down.

Kitchen Open to Living Room

The idea of transitional home plans with common area rooms open to one another is to firstly, reinforce the modern family as a group that functions together as a unit (as in, everyone is in the kitchen and working together--although, in my home they are indeed all in the kitchen but they would rather just keep me company and inquire as to what time we will be eating for dinner rather than actually doing anything--but its the encouragement that counts!) and secondly, to create spaces that are designed to serve more than one function.

If you have your kitchen coordinated with your living room or great room and they are open to one another, then you will have more room for things such as family or school projects, as well as having more room to entertain the entire soccer team after they win the big game, or as I often hear our clients say: "This is a great space for a Superbowl party!"....followed by a brand new dilemma: what size flat screen TV is best?

Hope this helps you decide--good luck with your project!"

Contact Stanton Homes for floor plan ideas, to get a new home cost estimate, or find out more about building a custom home in North Carolina.

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Tags: kitchen, open floor plans, kitchen design, kitchen trends, custom home design trends