Kitchen remodeling – Why not have an open design?

Your home is in a 10 to 20 year old neighborhood. You believe your kitchen needs an upgrade. You heard about open design kitchens. You ask – Do I really want an open kitchen?

Let’s take a look at the positives vs. the negatives for an open kitchen. Older kitchens were designed to be tucked away and be functional with bulky appliances. Now with modern, space-saving appliances, the opportunity for an elegant sociable open kitchen is there. And one can say it’s there for you to move up a notch and receive recognition as a talented member of the modern sect.

Open kitchen positives:

  • Creates sociability. As a cook, you can be part of the conversation with friends and family while you’re preparing the meal. You’re in the open. Others can see you and initiate a conversation on what you’re doing. Sometimes they volunteer to help. You’re happy being part of the group. You love to mingle with your guests. You’re feeling important.
  • Larger kitchen. Removing the walls gives you a larger kitchen. You marvel at the added space.
  • Better lighting. There’s more natural light in the kitchen and your social area. Additional light gives you a feeling of comfort. It’s cheery.
  • Cooking odors. Disagreeable? Not yours. The mouth-watering odors coming from your cooking are a signature of your talent. Guests talk about your expertise.
  • It’s a conversational piece. An open kitchen creates positive conversation. Everything seems functional.
  • Better work space. Open kitchens give you more space allowing you to have an island creating an efficient, compact work triangle.
  • A breakfast bar. Your island can have a counter with bar chairs for family and guests to sit and converse with you without getting in the way. The island also functions as a dining bar for breakfast. You don’t need a dinette. Your cleverness shows.


  • Want to be alone. Don’t bother me when I’m cooking. I need to concentrate preparing a full meal.
  • Cost of removing walls, rerouting electricity and plumbing may be excessive. Especially if the walls to be removed are load bearing.
  • Kitchen noise and smells. With no walls to block it, noise and smells from the kitchen travel easily to the living area. Hope you’re a good cook.
  • Adds work. When socializing, you always want to have the kitchen picked up and clean. Cooking usually involves a lot of mess making. A closed kitchen hides the mess.
  • Less storage space. With walls removed, you’re left with less storage space. An island or a peninsula would need to be designed in.
  • If you drop the chicken, it’s for your friends and family to see. What do you do next? Throw away the chicken? Don’t think so. It’s probably already tweeted to everybody in the next few minutes.

Erin Galagher, chief of insights for the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence says “Food preparation is central to how we entertain and socialize. It’s how we live today.” She goes on to say that 90% of kitchen designers tell her their clients desire to have their cooking, dining, and living, areas elegantly integrated into an open area.

Galagher is saying an open kitchen design is not for everybody. Some people still want the closed, out of the way closed design. It’s what they grew up with.

If you want to have an open kitchen, by all means, hire an architect. Work with him to have the kitchen you’ll love. You’ll appreciate the sociability the open kitchen creates making you the queen of entertaining.