An open kitchen seems to be the hottest trend in kitchen design. But like anything in home design, it all still boils down to your own personal taste and what will and won't work for your family. If you are considering having an open concept kitchen in your next move, here are the pros and cons of that decision--from the experts--and from myself, who has had all sorts of kitchens!
Seemingly More Space - In a small home especially, an open kitchen can give the kitchen the look of being larger, even when it isn't. Since there is no true room definition in an open concept (except maybe for a paint color, or furniture arrangement), a galley kitchen may even seem large if the one side of the galley is called an "island" with no walls on either side. You don't feel as closed in as you would with walls behind or on either side, even though in a galley kitchen, you might even have more storage above on a wall or on the sides.
Lighter and Brighter - In an open concept, it will feel lighter and brighter than in a closed concept space. This is especially good during darker months of the year. Chances are with an open concept there are more windows in the space accommodating the whole room and with less walls, there is nothing blocking the window in the living room to the kitchen.
The View - If you have small children, having an open concept can be a lot more convenient. You can be fixing dinner and still be able to watch the kids play without all of their toys being directly in the kitchen, or have them watching a favorite movie while you keep an eye on them and do the dishes. It makes it easier to do more than one thing at a time and when you have little kids, that's something that is necessary.
The Mess - When you have an open concept, there is no hiding the mess in one room from another. If you are in the process preparing a huge, holiday meal, you can't hide all the in between mess from your guests in the living or dining room and the after dinner dishes will be in full view the rest of the day if you don't want to do them right away. If your kids play a lot in your family room and have a "toy" section, that will still be in view when you have a group of adult friends over as well. So if the dining space, the kitchen space or the living space is messy--the house, in turn, is messy.
The Noise - When you have an open concept and have a large family gathering, everyone is in the same place at the same time--which can make it very noisy since there are no walls to muffle the sound. Likewise, if someone wants to run a noisy appliance when others are watching TV, it can be a bit annoying. Even normal refrigerator, dishwasher or running the water sounds can be distracting to someone having a conversation at the dining room table or in the family/living space.
The bottom line is, whether you enjoy an open concept or not, totally depends on your family's needs. For me, it's nice to have a big enough space where everyone can gather, but, it's also nice to have some separation for kids to play and adults still be able to visit. Having the space for some to play a game on the dining room table, others to be in the kitchen working or visiting and still more in our living or family rooms doing other things works well. We still have enough open space to keep an eye on the kids and to yell at someone in the next room if we need to--because there is always a moment when we need to!--Jen Lush