Open Floor Plans Will Be Around For a While
Here’s what we can tell you from inside the kitchen design circle – open floor plans are here to stay for a while. Current surveys from well-known vendors state that 70% of designers say open floor plans are still in high demand.
We see that in our own experience as well. The majority of our clients either purchase homes with existing open floor plans or make a move to open up their own floor plan when they’re ready to remodel their existing kitchen.
That being said, some homeowners enjoy the safety of a galley kitchen layout, which allows you to shut the door on kitchen messes better left hidden from guests and certain mother-in-laws. Or, cooks who appreciate solace while they work may feel pressed upon to have their work space opened up to general living areas.
If that’s the case, we have ideas for designing an open concept kitchen that finds the happy space between open and closed.
Raise the bar. If you love almost everything about open floor plans, but worry about the dirty dish visibility, we recommend raising the bar…the island bar, that is. Consider putting your kitchen sink in the island, rather than against the wall, and then raise the bar in front of it. This not only blocks the line of sight to dirty dishes – or the island countertop – from the adjacent living area, it also provides extra places for dining or hanging out.
Bust out a wall – but not too much. Another way to gain the idea of an open concept kitchen, without leaving yourself exposed, is to bust out part of a wall – but not all of it. For example, most galley kitchens are adjacent to a formal dining room – joined by a standard doorway. How about expanding that doorway, without opening up the entire wall? This will make the kitchen feel more open, but it still gives you a half- or quarter-wall to provide a little privacy or screened off space.
Take advantage of glass cabinet doors. Another idea is to remove a wall that joins the kitchen and family or living room, and install both upper- and lower cabinets in it’s place, covering the bottom cabinets with a countertop. Now, you’ve created the feeling of openness but there is a firm boundary between spaces. Glass cabinet doors on the upper-cabinets will enhance that feeling and also allow light exchange between the two rooms.
Compromise with a pony wall. This is another take on the “raise the bar” solution. If your kitchen doesn’t have the space for extra seating on the other side of the bar, you can knock out the top half of a wall – providing an open feel into the adjacent space, then build the pony wall to a height that makes the most sense for you. Top the wall with a beautiful piece of trim and now you get to enjoy a more open kitchen.