Considerations to Make Before Making Your Kitchen Part of an Open Floor Plan

We’ve all seen them: the jaw-dropping, breathtaking, awe-inspiring open floor plans splashing across HGTV every 2-3 minutes; and they’re calling out, “want me, need me, dream of me, build me.” But before you start tearing out kitchen cupboards and throwing a sledgehammer through walls a la 2003 Ty Pennington, here are some things you need to think about.

How much kitchen cabinet space do you need?

When you convert to an open floor plan you’re giving up cabinet and storage space to gain floor and visual space. So while you’re dreaming of seeing the fireplace from the island stove you’re dying to install, you should also take a few minutes to imagine where you’re going to put three crock pots, an air fryer, your Instant Pot, your Kitchen Aid, and all of the other small appliances and objects you typically hide away in cupboards. And don’t forget about all of the junk in your sitting room and family room that you’ll now be able to see from the kitchen.

Pro tip: Rather than discussing a single idea with your kitchen design specialist, discuss your ultimate goals: more cabinet space, more visual space, a more open feeling, and brighter and lighter space, etc. Let your design expert help you walk you through your options, from cabinet refinishing and cabinet refacing, all the way to the full kitchen remodel—and how many vendors, and how much time it could take.

How much peace and quiet do you want in your kitchen?

Walls may make your space seem smaller, but they’re not just there for visual separation or to put you in a box. Walls stifle the flow of sound. Homes with higher ceilings echo more sound throughout the house, and homes without many walls do the same. Do you want to hear your dog slinking toward the kitchen to steal that piece of bacon you set on the edge of the counter? Okay, it might not be quite that extreme, but if you’ve never had an open floor plan, it can feel like it is, or rather, sound like it is. Side note: your cabinets also help to stifle additional sound in your kitchen; giving up more upper cabinets means letting in more sound.

Pro tip: Think through what your kitchen means to you. Is your kitchen your sanctuary? Or is it a gathering place? Is it a place where you just do the business of cooking food? Knowing what your kitchen means to you can help you to decide whether an open floor plan connecting your kitchen to the rest of your home is right for you.

How permanent do you want the new look and feel of your kitchen to be?

When it comes to updating your kitchen, there are different levels of permanence—and a price that goes with it—and you can rest assured that if your plans involve a sledgehammer, that’s pretty permanent. If you’re not entirely sure that you’ll love your new kitchen then smaller, more impermanent changes are for you. You might be dreaming of a big kitchen renovation, when what you really need is kitchen cabinet refacing. This much smaller change will not only freshen up your cabinets, but give your kitchen a whole new look.

Pro tip: Think through why you really want to go to an open floor plan, and how the change will be both good and bad. One of the most important things you can do is write out a list of pros and cons. Don’t forget to talk it out with someone else, like a design expert at Kitchen FX. Our expertise is cabinets, but we’ve seen a lot of kitchens, and our design experts almost always think of something you haven’t thought of yet.

Remember, open floor plans may be the “in” thing to do in a kitchen right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s the “in” thing for you and your family. Just because you saw it on TV, in a magazine, or at a friend’s house doesn’t mean you have to throw a sledgehammer through your wall today, or ever.

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