If you decide that an open concept kitchen is right for you and wish to remodel or build one of these floor plans, there are a few things left to consider.
• Space. As mentioned earlier, space is the biggest benefit of an open concept kitchen. Knocking down barriers will add a lot of extra square footage, allowing you to use the space however you see fit. However, you need to make sure you have clear expectations and understand how this could change the architecture of your home. Discuss how support beams and other elements will need to be changed with your contractor.
• Design. Unlike closed concept kitchens with plenty of walls to develop rooms with their own color schemes and themes, an open concept space means a need for overall cohesion. Everything is essentially in one large room, so the furniture, accent pieces, lighting, and paint will all need to be cohesive.
• Islands and Appliances. Since open kitchens usually mean demolishing walls that would hide certain appliances or add counter space, you need to think about ways to make your kitchen more functional. Most people opt to add islands or sculleries. Islands help create focal points and add counter space, storage space, and more without compromising the openness.
• Budget. The kitchen is the most expensive room in the house to remodel—and open concept kitchens add even more to the overall renovation bill. Since you need to tear down the walls, change the internal structure of the building, do electrical rewiring, change plumbing, and much more, you need to ensure you have the budget for it.
• Cleaning and Entertaining. The strength of an open concept kitchen is also a weakness. If you enjoy entertaining, you’re going to have to be comfortable with your messes being visible. You may need to master the “clean as you go” method to reduce the sight of dirty dishes.
Open Concept Kitchen Ideas
There are several ways you can create an open concept kitchen. Just because you have an open floor plan, that doesn’t mean that everything needs to be connected. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t have barriers. For example, you are still going to have separate rooms, such as bathrooms, bedrooms, and offices.
Here are common open floor plan configurations:
• Kitchen and dining: A common style where only the kitchen and dining space are joined, often with a kitchen island separating the two.
• Dining and living: Usually when the kitchen is a scullery style, the dining and living are blended into one. The divide is often stairs or walls painted two different colors.
• Kitchen/dining/living: All three areas are interwoven, creating a “great room” with a vaulted ceiling.
With these configurations in mind, here are some ways to modify them and make the open concept kitchen design unique to your home:
Many people favor adding kitchen islands or peninsulas to provide a dividing line between the kitchen and other areas in the great room. This ensures line of sight is maintained but allows for certain areas to be closed off. Islands and peninsulas also increase storage and counter space which would otherwise be lost. You can also use kitchen islands to create breakfast nooks, especially if you have a large number of windows.
Do you have furry companions or children that could get in trouble in the kitchen? Another option to create a dividing line without breaking the open concept is to install kitchen doors that can be closed whenever the kitchen is not in use. Pocket doors are wonderful for adding privacy and a sense of security.
Sculleries are small prep kitchens connected to the main cooking area. If you add a scullery, you will have a sink and dishwasher and some counter space exposed while the stove and mess remains contained behind a walled area. If you are a cook that gets distracted or doesn’t want dirty pots and pans on display, a scullery is a fantastic addition.
When you are remodeling, look for places to add a scullery that can be easily converted, such as pantries or closets. Sculleries can also be connected to raised bars, eating counters, and nooks.
One of the biggest advantages of open concept floor plans is the availability of natural light. Some people take this and maximize it by adding large doors or floor-to-ceiling windows that display the patio and backyard. This ensures you are never without natural light and is ideal for homes in more summery locations. However, keep in mind that this can also make heating and cooling your home more difficult.
Another option for windows would be the pass-through window, which is a simple way to add more open space without tearing down walls completely. This is great if you cannot structurally change a weight-bearing wall.
Sometimes, you are going to want visual or physical boundaries. A half wall is a partition about 40-50 inches that separates the kitchen from the living room. Many homeowners decide to make the top half of the wall a glass window to help with noise reduction, air circulation, and light.
Concluding Thoughts on Open Concept Kitchens
For many households and families, open concept kitchens are a wonderful fit. Busy lives and houses need more space and fewer boundaries. If you are considering remodeling your kitchen into an open-concept space, be sure to keep this article in mind when discussing your ideas with a professional contractor.
Ready to get started on your kitchen remodeling or have more questions on open concept kitchens? Fill out the contact form to get in touch with us!