Open plan - Yes or No?

(24 Posts)
CabbageLeaves Tue 12-Feb-13 23:03:45

Downstairs I have lounge-diner and kitchen as two separate rooms. I really really want to join kitchen and dining 'end' up but can't decide whether one big open plan would be a disaster.

It's L shaped with largish lounge end (approx 5m wide) narrowing into 4m dining area which shoots off to the kitchen but only access here is a hatch. Kitchen (small) is accessed down a corridor through the other end of it.

Possibly I'd block up the door to kitchen from corridor and have one door entering where lounge joins diner ...and open kitchen dining wall up. There is a door into the garden from the lounge.

I could put French doors across between dining and lounge areas but the dining area is short - current table wouldn't fit in remaining space. So realistically it would be best to just open kitchen dining end and leave it all open plan. So my question, if you're still with me, is, does open plan work?

We have opened up and love, love, love it. A bit too much wine tonight to be able to visualise your floorplan...but just based on our experience it is the best thing we have ever done. We have a separate "posh/adult" living room and then a L shaped kitchen/dining/family room. We tend now to spend all our time in the open plan bit when the children are up and then DH & I use the other room in the evenings. We go as a family to the other room maybe to watch a film together - but generally we all just mooch about in the open plan bit.

Previously I'd be in the kitchen, DH with one of the children in the sitting room and other DC drawing or playing in the dining room.

BackforGood Tue 12-Feb-13 23:38:43

I would hate an all open plan downstairs. Nightmare for family living, whn you have 4 or 5 family members all wanting to do different things.
Also means you have to heat the whole space all the time.
When you decorate / replace flooring, curtains, etc you can't do things a room at a time and keep things ticking over.
You can't 'shut off' mess in one room when you want to.
You get no private space if you want to talk with someone.
There's no living space for others to use if one person wants a bit of uninterupted time... people have to go off to lie on their beds.

Aethelfleda Tue 12-Feb-13 23:53:44

Very much what suits your style: we love our kitchen-diner but have a smaller seperate front room. Plus conservatory living area/playroom. Houses in our area where the whole thing is knocked into one open room sometimes don't sell on well as they only appeal to open-plan types.
Having said that, according to the estate agents locally an open kitchen-diner is very much an on-trend item at the moment.
If you like it then go for it...

PigletJohn Wed 13-Feb-13 00:19:16

open plan kitchen means you will never get rid of the smell of kippers, chips, curry etc

if it is open to the staircase then the downstairs heat will all rush upstairs.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Wed 13-Feb-13 00:26:41

I don't like all open plan. It's too noisy and smelly. It definitely doesn't work with teenagers.

Devora Wed 13-Feb-13 00:48:01

I don't like all open plan, for all the reasons above.

I think within the next decade we will start putting walls back in, as "I can cook and watch the children playing" turns to "There is nowhere quiet for the kids to do their homework while we chat" and "We never get any privacy from our teenagers". Oh, and as rising heating bills make us unwilling to heat huge open spaces.

lolalotta Wed 13-Feb-13 06:25:17

CabbageLeaves is your house1930s? It sounds very similar to the 1930s property we are in the process if purchasing. At the moment we have a lounge opening up onto the dining room and then a separate small galley kitchen. We hope to put the wall back in to separate living and dining area and then open up kitchen into the dining area with French doors opening out onto the garden. HTH! Good luck!

PixieHot Wed 13-Feb-13 07:13:46

We're house hunting at the moment, and a kitchen-diner and a separate living room are at the top of our wishlist - we don't want to be excluded in the kitchen, but we do want two separate spaces.

CabbageLeaves Wed 13-Feb-13 07:19:30

Useful and backed up the thoughts I've been having. I do think open plan would work for my family (I have a separate study) but accept all the points made, noise, smells and heating.

I could put a wall + doors in to separate dining area from lounge area but its going to be small. Current table seats 8 (10 if we all mind our elbows) and that would have to go.

I think open-plan works well for a couple, or maybe with one child. Not so good with several children who need to do music practice and homework and read aloud to you, all at the same time. We have three separate rooms downstairs, not including the kitchen, and we use all of them every afternoon/evening.

HSMMaCM Wed 13-Feb-13 07:28:10

I opened ours up and we love it. (Not open to stairs)

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 13-Feb-13 07:31:57

Fine when children little, not good as they become teenagers is my view. There's none of this time when the children go to bed thing then, they're constantly here there and everywhere and come with a gaggle of friends.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Wed 13-Feb-13 12:30:09

I think open plan kitchen/diner/family room works well PROVIDED you have a separate living room also.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Wed 13-Feb-13 12:38:55

Open plan means you have to be extra tidy everywhere. It is nice to ave a room for the kids where they can have their things out.

Also, if somewhere is very open plan you can loose wall space so you have less places to put furniture, pictures, cupboards etc.

PigletJohn Wed 13-Feb-13 13:14:20

I used to have a 1930s house with small gakley kitchen, and instead of a k/d, went fir a through lounge and a very large hatch (think works canteen rather than serving hatch) into the kitchen. It felt open and not cut off, but could be closed at will.

I went for two hinged square doors, but a fold-down flap to use as a breakfast bar or serving table might have worked well. The kitchen was crowded with two people. The opening has to be at least head height and start at worktop height. You can have a flat door that is painted or papered to match the other room, with no archtrave, to blend in when shut.

FlatCapAndAWhippet Wed 13-Feb-13 17:00:42

I loved open plan, three rooms became a large kitchen / diner, sofa in there too but I had a separate sitting room. French windows onto the garden, velux windows.

BUT it was cold because of all the glass and wooden floors so needed tons of heating and noisy too.

WithManyTots Wed 13-Feb-13 17:52:44

We are entirely open plan, from kitchen, through living area to our garden room. Only our utility area is a room. I would never want to go back to "rooms", as open plan is so flexible. You can just move stuff about to make any size "rooms you like, if say for the next hour we need a bigger dining area push the sofa to one side, pull the table our further, you can't do that with walls. Provided your house is well insulated, ( ours is a Scandinavian design ) it is no problem to get nice even heating. If you really embrace the open plan idea, you can go even further like we did and put a full glass wall in one end. If there is one tiny, tiny drawback, it is that you have to buy a very quiet ( ie expensive) dishwasher

lolalotta Wed 13-Feb-13 19:08:10

Ooooooh, What dishwasher do you have?????

BackforGood Wed 13-Feb-13 19:42:27

Hmm. Can you imagine trying to sit and watch a bit of tele in the evening, with the dishwasher going, and maybe the washig machine or tumble drier (or both), and then your ds doing his trumpet practice and your dd on the x-box ?
No thanks - not for me.

I think it depends on your family but it works well for us. We have L shape as well. Long thinish sitting room, square dining room on corner and then smaller (than sitting room) rectangular kitchen. We actually have sliding doors between sitting room and dining area so can separate it necessary but we don't do this much. Main benefit is DD, now 5, can play in sitting room but if I'm in kitchen she can either see or hear me. I've never understood point of 'play rooms'. Most young kids want to be near you!

Don't find cooking smells an issue - either use extractor fan on hob and/or open windows.

Only drawbacks are when DD was v little ie crawling I had to keep scooping her out of the kitchen. Also if you entertain I find I have to shoo people out of the kitchen area so that I can get things out of the oven etc. I think if you have room some kind of kitchen island to divide the space helps with this but we didn't have room!

CabbageLeaves Wed 13-Feb-13 19:58:02

I have separate utility so washing machine noise is not an issue. Separate study with wifi/tv which never gets used because DC like to be with me!! So effectively the only addition to open plan would be the kitchen. I hate being shut in there and would without doubt like to join that into the dining end. What I might do is try that with a view to putting a wall up if it doesn't work. Appreciate everyone's views

We're all open-plan now, and I love it. We have gradually removed walls so that the lounge, study, kitchen, and an odd dining area at the top of the stairs (it's also upside-down) are all one big C-shaped space. It gives us a much more friendly space.

I'd definitely recommend a good outside-facing extractor fan and a quiet dishwasher (ours is a Bosch Logixx, chosen to be very quiet). Not sure how quiet you can get washing machines, a fast spin is likely to be a bit noisy, but we don't tend to run ours in the evening so it isn't an issue.

Taffeta Wed 13-Feb-13 20:06:48

We have open plan kitchen diner living room, big hall and a playroom and small futility. DC 9 and 6 are never in playroom. I suspect they will be when we turn it into a den for when they are older.

The kitchen smells thing is a non issue. We have big slidey foldy doors so if I am cooking something v smelly I just open them. And tbh I like a house to smell of cooking.

Washing machine and tumble drier are in futility so on hear them going kitchen end. Dishwasher I put on when we go to bed. Piano is in the playroom. Reading and homework I listen to and help with in their respective bedrooms, which have desks.

I love open plan.

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