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What are the Pros and Cons of Open-Plan Kitchens?

Open-Plan Kitchen

Open-plan kitchens are among the hottest trends in kitchen redesigns. Where older homes often have enclosed kitchens cut off from the living room and entry hall, modern design spotlights a spacious and open family room that includes the kitchen in the experience. 

Open-plan kitchens flow smoothly into the family social space and invite family members to spend more time with the chef by making room for them.  Of course, open-plan kitchens have been popular for a few years and we now have a lot more experienced-based knowledge on what is good (and bad) about cooking in one.

So what are the pros and cons of open-plan kitchens? Dive in with us, starting with the pros that go beyond just enjoying the bigger space.


Experience-Based Pros of Open-Plan Kitchens

  1. More Friendly and Sociable

    • Open-plan kitchens are more friendly and inviting for family members to spend time with the chef. Breakfast islands and extra space for company means that kids, spouses, and guests hang out while cooking goes on.

      This is so much more sociable than traditional enclosed kitchens where cooking is a crowded and personal experience separate from the family socializing in the next room.

  2. More Inviting for Multiple Chefs

    • Larger kitchens that are often created by the open-plan approach are also more inviting to additional cooks. Whether you're teaching your child to cook or splitting Thanksgiving Day prep with the entire family, extended countertops and islands make it possible for everyone to pitch in at once.

  3. The Cook Joins Entertainment During Meal Prep

    • One of the best things about an entertainer kitchen is the chef can join the family in watching movies and playing games while they take care of meal prep. No more hours of isolation chopping vegetables and boiling water.

      You get to have just as much fun while cooking as your spouse and kids during the hour leading up to mealtime. In fact, it has become a common reason to share an episode of a family-watched show together every day before dinner.

  4. Easier to Watch the Kids and Pets

    • Need to keep an eye on the kids and help with homework while preparing the family meal? No problem. Your kids won't be getting in trouble out of sight with an open-plan kitchen. You can track their movements, hold a conversation, and keep an eye on what they're watching when your hands are full with food prep.

  5. Hosting Your Own Cooking Show

    • Whether you're entertaining your family or a live stream, hosting your own cooking show is a hot new trend that is perfect for open-plan entertainer kitchens.

  6. Increases Home Value

    • Lastly, open-plan kitchens are hot so remodeling to open up your kitchen increases home value. Many buyers want an open kitchen and would be willing to pay for that luxury.

kitchen planning guide


Lessons-Learned Cons of Open-Plan Kitchens

  1. Kitchen Mess is Always Visible

    • Take it from home chefs who've tried it out: It's harder to hide kitchen mess when your kitchen is 'in' the living room.

      Guests and family can always see that sink of dishes or countertop of clutter - even if you sit to eat before doing the cleanup. This is a motivation to clean constantly but also a downside for temporary procrastination.

  2. Chaos Can Run Through the Kitchen

    • When you need to focus at the stove, an open plan an allow chaos to blow through your kitchen at an inopportune time. Curious children and snack-eager pets may get underfoot when you'd rather park them in the living room and out of trouble.

  3. Kitchen Smells go Uncontained

    • Some kitchens are designed to contain and quickly channel out cooking smells. An open-plan kitchen creates smells that can be detected across the living room and sometimes across the house.

      You'll have to think more carefully about your menu, dishwashing schedule, trash containment, and odor clearing strategy to keep the air smelling clean in your open-plan kitchen and living room.

  4. Lack of 'Coziness' in the Open Space

    • The one good reason our predecessors liked enclosed kitchens was the coziness. There's something about a hand-carved breakfast nook that just feels homey. A spacious and sleek open-plan kitchen can also feel cold and modern if what you want is more of a cottage style kitchen.

  5. Kitchen Light and Sounds During Movie Time

    • One of those 'never thought of that' realizations with an open plan kitchen is the influence on movie time.

      When the lights are down in the living room and the movie is hitting a tension point, the lights from the kitchen and sounds of the dishwasher might be just a little disruptive.

  6. Lack of Peace & Privacy When Cooking

    • Lastly for cons, some chefs like the quiet, private experience of cooking alone each day. Those who like cooking privacy will be less delighted by an open-plan kitchen than the outgoing kitchen entertainers.

      Just as kitchen lights, smells, and sounds can reach into the living room, living room chaos can reach into the kitchen.


Are you thinking about renovating your home for an open-plan kitchen? We would love to help you make that dream come true. Consult with a kitchen design expert on the best conversion plan to make your kitchen open-plan or even broken-plan for that spacious but not-quite-unified new style that is rising in the trends. Contact us today to discuss your kitchen design plan.

kitchen planning guide

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