Open Vs. Closed Kitchen Designs

As you plan your kitchen remodel, one of the most impactful decisions that you should make is whether to pursue an open kitchen floor plan or a closed plan. What do these terms mean in real life? And what are the benefits and drawbacks of each? Discover some answers to your questions.

What Is an Open Kitchen or a Closed Kitchen?

The idea of an open or closed kitchen generally refers not to the room itself but to how it integrates with surrounding spaces. Open kitchens reduce the number of walls so that one can see and move in and out of the kitchen without hindrance. A closed kitchen is designed as a fully separate room (although often without a door) from the living room, dining room, or family room nearby.

What Are the Benefits of an Open Kitchen?

Open kitchen layouts have risen in popularity for a few reasons. First, they often look and feel larger and airier. The lack of walls tends to provide more natural lighting from all angles and make the space feel more expansive — even if the actual footprint of the room remains the same.

This same lack of walls allows the kitchen to more fully integrate into the other public areas. Those working in the kitchen can participate in group activities and conversations with guests more easily. Cooks can see their kids playing in other sections of the open space. And you have more room for congregation in and around the kitchen when you entertain.

What Are the Benefits of a Closed Kitchen?

As opposed to open layouts, a closed layout provides more privacy. Walls and doors naturally hide things you don’t want guests to have full view of, such as kitchen messes or clutter. This makes it easier to entertain in the other public rooms without worrying about your kitchen. Barriers between rooms also cut down on noises and smells emanating either from the kitchen or from adjacent rooms into the kitchen.

In addition, a separated kitchen may be better suited to workspaces and storage areas. Consider that the vast majority of both surfaces and storage in a kitchen are attached to a wall. This means that the more walls you maintain in the design, the more cabinetry and other useful built-in options you can install as well.

Should You Choose Open or Closed?

Clearly, both kitchen styles have their pros and cons. To answer the question of which is right for you, you should first analyze how you use the kitchen. If you enjoy doing most of your cooking or baking alone, you may want the benefit of added privacy behind walls. And if you want to dissuade guests from wandering into the kitchen when entertaining, the less welcoming layout may help.

On the other hand, if you like to entertain larger groups — or guest lists of varying sizes — or different types of parties, the open floor plan could provide more space and flexibility. It often pairs particularly well with homeowners who like to entertain in both indoor and outdoor integrated settings.

Other practical considerations of the room itself are also important. You may not be free to remove load-bearing walls or other support structures. Or you may need to maximize the work areas in a smaller kitchen. These issues are unique to each kitchen.

Where Should You Start?

To find the right layout for your needs and interests, start by meeting with the kitchen renovation pros at DESIGNfirst Builders. Our experienced team will help you assess your kitchen options, think about what you want and need from your room, and avoid common pitfalls no matter what floor plan you choose. Call today to make an appointment.

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