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Open plan or separate living and dining area?

(18 Posts)
Blueberrycheesecake1 Thu 16-Mar-17 19:25:23

Hi all

Our new house is a small victorian terrace. There's a small front living room. Then there's a dining room that you have to go through to get to the kitchen at the back. Because the side return has been done the dining area has no direct windows out and is very dark so I'm keen to knock through to the living room to make the whole space bigger and brighter (better when people around for dinner for example). But will we regret this if (fingers crossed) we have kids?

Thanks in advance!

wowfudge Thu 16-Mar-17 19:34:25

Can you knock it through to the kitchen instead and look at ways to improve the lighting?

RandomMess Thu 16-Mar-17 19:41:05

Keep it separate if possible - open living is noisy and mess spreads easily.

If you can't open the dining room into the kitchen then have folding glazed doors installed between the front and back room.

echt Thu 16-Mar-17 19:41:18

As long as you have a separate sitting room, knock through. I think open plan only doesn't work when there's no bolt-hole.

NapQueen Thu 16-Mar-17 19:42:48

Knock into the kitchen instead. Better to have a snug living room for the evebings free from cooking smells etc.

Large kitchen diner with a tv in is much better!

Blueberrycheesecake1 Thu 16-Mar-17 21:39:29

Thanks all. It is kind of knocked through with a large opening between the two but still dark. Would be more expensive to expand it than to knock another opening into the living room. Sounds like some separation is preferable though! Thanks

Miniwookie Thu 16-Mar-17 22:51:42

Can you add a large skylight to the side return extension close to the back of the house to bring more light into the dining room? I wouldn't like an entirely open plan house with DC unless you're not planning on staying there longterm. It's great when they're tiny and you need to keep an eye on them all the time, but nice to be able to escape from each other when they're older and have friends over etc.

RubyRedRuby Thu 16-Mar-17 23:31:57

I wouldn't go completely knock through mainly because of the cooking smells, our current house is a shocker for it.
In terms of having children you will need somewhere to get away from CBeebies so definitely keep the lounge separate if you can.

Bestthingever Thu 16-Mar-17 23:44:55

We have an open plan house. I loved the spacious feeling when we bought the house but I've found out it's a big drawback when I have guests! The kitchen has to be immaculate. I like the sound of the layout you have right now. Btw my db had a similar layout and he opened it all up. Now the kids toys are everywhere!

knittingwithnettles Thu 16-Mar-17 23:46:47

This time of year is often much darker anyway, as the shadows are longer. You might find it gets a bit brighter as the sun gets higher in the sky, unless it is literally due North and there is no light coming in at all.
In which case, yes, definitely knock through to get the South light into the house.

Work out where the light is coming from on both sides and reconfigure accordingly/put sky light in etc.

Another idea is to make the windows in the kitchen larger? A possibility if there is only the traditional sink under window arrangement, rather than a big expanse of windows/french doors.

Or you could reconfigure the kitchen entirely so that the table is at the light end, and the kitchen bit, with task lighting is at the other end of the room.

I like rooms which aren't knocked through, but a poky front room with all the sunlight is slightly pointless, when you have acres of space in comparative darkness, and you are of course going to spend an awful lot of time in the kitchen, especially with kids.

Another alternative, which my DSIS had in her house, was to put table in the front room and make it a nice dining room, and put the sofa and telly in the middle room onto the kitchen, quite sociable really, as most of the evening is spent in the sofa room so it didn't need to be that light, whereas meals are better in bright room.

yomellamoHelly Fri 17-Mar-17 06:45:11

We had this in our old house. I always wanted to move the kitchen into the dining area (where you walked in and then open up the back of the house so we had a living / dining space with access and views out onto the garden. Can you have some downlighters installed in that area? Or put in a glazed door? Think one massive room would out me off to be honest. In our old house there was a very low arch between the front and back and we hung curtains in this space to close it off and make it warmer at night. Would have been happier with a proper wall.

sandgrown Fri 17-Mar-17 07:00:16

I have this row with DP every time we discuss changing the layout of our house. He wants to knock all the walls out but in my experience it's very hard to heat and you always have to be very tidy. My daughter is having folding doors between the rooms in her house. Could your extension have a skylight fitted to give more light ?

MrsNuckyThompson Fri 17-Mar-17 07:06:53

With the space and light you have available I think knocking through is best. We've had an arrangement as you describe (our dining room had a side window but was down the side passage and so very dark) and it didn't work very well. Small kitchen and no where for DS to play while we worked in the kitchen so hard to keep an eye out. Open plan works very well with little people and given your lay out you should be able to arrange it in a way which allows you to retain distinct areas.

INeedNewShoes Fri 17-Mar-17 07:09:58

Possible reasons not to:

Separate areas will be useful as kids get older, for example DC1 using dining table to do a big project while DC2 watches TV; you escaping to dining table while teenagers watch something irritating like Hollyoaks.

Also when you have a dinner party it's quite nice to be able to leave the dessert and coffee debris in the dining room and retire to the comfy seats without having to clear everything to the kitchen.

Also agree with pp re cooking smells and possibly means you would hear the washing machine in the living room if you take out a wall.

witwootoodleoo Fri 17-Mar-17 07:10:17

Is there any scope to put sun tubes in anywhere to increase the amount of natural light? They can make an incredible difference

DorotheaHomeAlone Fri 17-Mar-17 09:48:57

If you had the side return done does that mean your kitchen is big? A kitchen diner? And separate from the two rooms you're considering knocking through? If so that is our layout and all of our neighbours. Everyone has knocked the front two receptions together. It works great. It's a big sitting room if no kids or for us a kids area at back and grownup area at the front. We used the sofas to break up the space and it allows us to be together but separate. We then have glass doors into the kitchen so we can open up or close off that space.

Blueberrycheesecake1 Fri 17-Mar-17 16:22:03

Thanks very much to everyone - lots of food for thought. The house isn't that big so it's 3 small rooms and the kitchen/dining room are semi open plan due to going through the dining to get to the kitchen. Will explore a lot of these and thank you for confirming my nagging suspicion that knocking through might prove regretful in the long term...

RedRobin1 Fri 17-Mar-17 21:46:52

We have 2 little DCs (3 and 1) and we are currently extending to create an open plan living space.

Pros:
DCs can see me cooking and play in the living area at the same time. I can keep an eye on them. They can see me and carry on playing / watching TV, while I cook.
Great for entertaining, Christmas time with extended family, birthday parties etc...
Opens up the space with lots of light

Cons:
Toys may migrate everywhere. But they do anyway once you have kids - walls or no walls! Toys are everywhere
Food smells - we are planning on having a good extractor fan and hoping I don’t burn too much food grin
Privacy - when children become teenager we worry they may want privacy from us and not completely appreciate the open plan layout. We have left the option of putting french doors in between kitchen and living in future if we need to!

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