Modern Design Blog

Large open plan kitchen

Why an open plan kitchen is NOT a good idea

Open plan kitchen design is the concept of joining the kitchen and the living room into a single area to create a continuous functional dialogue. This is no longer a trend; it’s become the way of approaching kitchen design. It’s popular across all age groups, from the West to the East Coast and anywhere in-between, regardless of the size of the home.

For designers, it’s an opportunity to design a space that is dedicated to both function and showcase (taking pride in knowing that their creation will be enjoyed even when not in use). For homeowners, choosing - or simply talking about - an open plan kitchen design is a way to look in-the-know and design-savvy. 

There just seems to be absolutely nothing wrong with the concept of an open plan kitchen. Well…not so fast. Here are a few reasons you might want to think twice before jumping on the open kitchen design bandwagon. 

#1 CON OF AN OPEN PLAN KITCHEN: THE COST FACTOR

Let’s face it, even the most straight-forward kitchen remodels are far from inexpensive.  On top of that, removing walls to create an open plan can add considerably to an already costly project.  This is because it often includes moving plumbing and/or electrical, replacing flooring, and dealing with structural issues to compensate for the loss of a support wall, all of which do not come cheap. 

When faced with the prospect of all these extra expenses, all of a sudden a closed plan kitchen starts looking like a much more attractive option. 

Open plan kitchen

#2 CON OF AN OPEN PLAN KITCHEN: FEWER WALLS 

We like our homes to be full of light, but windows take up valuable real estate. If we start removing walls to create an open plan, we lose even more precious space that we may need for storage, furniture, or even art.

If you find that your home has limited wall space, a closed kitchen layout can add an extra wall of storage for your kitchenware and supplies, while maintaining a wall in the adjacent room for a sideboard or media cabinetry.  

Closed kitchen

#3 CON OF AN OPEN PLAN KITCHEN: THE MESSY HOST

You’ve probably heard how an open plan kitchen design is perfect for people who host a lot of social gatherings at home. Well, that’s true only to a point. Actually, we always recommend closed kitchen concepts to clients who do a lot of formal entertaining

When the kitchen is closed away from the formal dining and living areas, the mess, the odors, and the noise also stay closed away.  You can hide all your dirty little secrets inside a busy and untidy kitchen and come into the dining room looking like Martha Stewart.  There is nothing sophisticated about sitting down for an elegant formal dinner with a clear view into the room that prepared all the food.  No matter how functional the kitchen is, unless you are a magician who can conceal things at the snap of your fingers, you are going to expose your guests to a bit of a mess.

Another plus of a closed kitchen is, if you hire help, caterers can remain tucked away preparing and plating courses without ever being visible from the formal dining room. 

Messy kitchen

#4 CON OF AN OPEN PLAN KITCHEN: THE STRESSED-OUT COOK 

Serious gourmet cooks might dream of an open plan kitchen. But if you have that, you have to be ok with your guests or family being in the kitchen with you and around you as you cook. You become an “entertainer”; a “performer on stage”, if you will.

It means that, in addition to cooking, you have to be willing to expend more effort making conversation, accommodating the needs of others, and trying to be tidier than you ever would if you are tucked away in a closed kitchen. That can become stressful

Stressed out host

If you feel confident that none of these points will be a concern to you, then by all means, go for an open plan kitchen design, embrace the lifestyle that comes with it, and have fun with it. But if any of these cons made you pause a bit, take some time to better analyze both options before you make a decision.