Open Concept Design Tips When Remodeling Your Main Floor Living Space

Open Concept Kitchen Dining and Living Room Remodeling

Removing a Wall to Create an Open Floor Plan

This 1990’s colonial 2-story home had a typical isolated floor plan. The dining room was too small, and the wall that divided the kitchen and dining room made the island cramped.

For the past few years, one trend in home remodeling has been growing at a remarkable rate. In fact, turn on any home-design TV show, from the Property Brothers to Chip and JoJo, and you'll hear the words “open concept.” Tearing down walls to open the floor plan and create a large living space that encompasses the living, dining and kitchen area is what open-concept design is all about.

For some homeowners, separate rooms still hold there charm and work for their families. But today, many homeowners are taking down walls so they can enjoy cooking, eating, and movie watching all in one space. It’s common for dining rooms to be too small, but if the walls are removed and an open concept created, many families find that the dining room is inviting for family dinners and flexible for holiday gatherings.

An open concept kitchen can maximize the appearance of your space, and an open concept lends itself to better functionality for your living space. The trend of making the interior flow of the house as seamless as possible and to simplify structure, décor, and functionality is growing every year.

Let's look at this growing trend in interior design, how it began, and some of the advantages of creating an open concept, as well as some design tips for remodeling your main floor living space to create an open-concept home.

What Started The Open Concept Trend

A Grand Floor Plan for Entertaining and Parties

The spaces visible in this photo were formerly divided into 4 different rooms. Converted to a Great Room open floor plan, the island now seats all the grandchildren, and handles the parties that the clients like to host.

Back in the early part of the last century, homes were built with the notion that every room had a distinct function. You cook in the kitchen, so it was separate, often with a door. Dining rooms were formal. Living rooms were for relaxing and were set away from the kitchen.

In the 1950's and 60's builders saw the open living plan as a way to efficiently and affordably design homes using less square footage. Ranch and split levels became popular. Today, architects and interior designers take their cues from economic considerations, but they're also influenced by cultural norms and a desire for efficiency and convenience.

Today, both parents share cooking and child-care responsibilities and we live in a world where catching up on the day's news during dinner is not only acceptable, it's expected. An open floor plan allows parents to prepare dinner together while watching the kids playing in the living room. Dinner is served, and the TV is visible in the adjoining living room. Everyone's needs are met, comfortably.

The Benefits of an Open Concept Floor Plan

There are many benefits to creating an open concept floor plan in your home. First, it can make a small space feel bigger and brighter. Even a small house with a tiny, windowless kitchen off the living room can be transformed into a light-filled space by taking down the wall and replacing it with a large island or table.

Creating a large “great room” is the perfect way to keep an eye on the kids. While you're cooking dinner or taking care of other household tasks, you can still interact with the little ones. Adding a desk and computer against the wall can make the room even more functional. When the kids are a bit older, they can sit and do their homework with you close by to offer help.

If you love to entertain family and friends, an open-flow kitchen and living area makes hosting a breeze. Kitchen islands or tables used to demarcate rooms, become a perfect focal point for food and drinks.

Open Concept Design Tips

Island and Lighting Define the Space

An open concept plan will still have some implicit boundaries between kitchen, dining, and living space. The pendant lights over the island help to define the edge of the kitchen, and the dining table light (click to see more photos) anchors that room. Furniture grouping around the fireplace defines the living area and each function still has a position within the entire great room.

One challenge when living with an open floor plan can be defining areas. A bit of definition helps the room to remain cozy. Fortunately, you can use interior design to help you define your space. Using furniture and lighting to can carve out functional spaces. For example, a sofa backed with a console table outside the kitchen can delineate the start of the living room. You can further define the living room space by placing an area rug in the center of that space.

Lighting can also help to define different parts of your living space. Anchoring the dining room table with a chandelier, or placing a large ceiling fan in the center of the living space can help to delineate use.

When it comes to interior design in an open concept, maintaining an aesthetic flow throughout the space is critical. Fundamental design features like flooring and recessed lighting should be consistent. Color palettes in the different areas should be complimentary. Adding layers of texture and different colors for highlights and accents can create interest and tie the space together.

Creating a standout design feature in each area can not only help to define the space, but it can also make your design shine! Consider hanging an oversized chandelier in the living area, or use zebrawood for the base of your island with a marble countertop. Have fun with your design and give each functional space a complementary personality.

Finally, keep each area open to allow the view to shine. Keep windows unobstructed, so natural light can flow into the space and keep large furniture items and clutter to a minimum.

Open floor plans allow for efficient use of space, multifunctional elements and bright warm natural light all make this design a popular choice for today's homeowners. Work closely with your design-build team, and you can open up your living space, and enjoy the benefits of an open concept home.

If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of open concept living, give the experts at Degnan Design-Build-Remodel a call. Our team of interior designers will sit with you and discuss the possibilities and options for opening up your home's main living area. An open concept can bring new life to your home and fit your family's needs now and far into the future.

View These Open Concept Kitchens Built For Greater Madison Homeowners