I grew up in Pittsburgh in a very colonial style home where each room was its own room, and there were doorways–wide doorways, but doorways–leading into the living room and dining room and even the kitchen had its own doorway. It always felt charming and intimate to me, but I never knew anything else until I was 18 years old. Chris and I were marathoning an HGTV show the other night and, not exaggerating, every episode they tore down almost every wall to create an open concept. I get it–open concept living is pretty popular now-a-days. And, hey, we’ve been living in an open concept home for the last 2+ years. Truthfully, the layout is great for us, but I wanted to share some pros and cons today because an open concept truly might not be for everyone.
It’s really great for entertaining. Having the kitchen open to the dining and living room means no host or cook husband ;) has to feel secluded while the party is going on.
You can easily keep an eye on kids. While I’m in the kitchen doing dishes, the girls can be anywhere all the way into the hall bathroom or Faye’s room and I can see and hear them. It’s wonderful.
We love it because it keeps us together as a family. Even if I’m working with Greta on her homework and Chris is cooking and Faye is playing on the rug, it feels like we’re together even if we’re in separate spaces.
Light can be borrowed from other spaces, unlike in separated rooms where if a room doesn’t have windows or adequate light, it’s dark. Period.
If there is, even the smallest mess, your entire house will feel messy. Storage options, and lots of them, are absolutely necessary!
There’s no hiding dirty dishes during all of that entertaining. We have learned to wash as we go and we plan a lot of our party menus around things that can be made ahead of time specifically because we don’t want our kitchen to be a mess when guests come over.
You have to have a really tight color scheme consisting mostly of neutrals. Too many colors, or even bright colors can quickly cause a lot of visual clutter making it hard for your eyes to rest. The same color scheme has to be used throughout the open space so everything flows.
When people stop by, they are walking into your entry, living room, dining room and kitchen.
It’s really hard to photograph. (Ha!) Both of these photos feel cluttered to me because I didn’t crop them in at all and they are merging three 3D spaces into 2D photos. Objects are overlapping weirdly and there’s a lot of visual clutter going on. Even if it doesn’t always feel that way in real life, keeping things to a minimum in an open concept is a must.
Cropping ever so slightly does help, but I wanted to give you some real photos and input today. All in all, we adore our home and the layout and lifestyle it provides us, but it’s not for maximalists. It’s probably not for (lots of) color lovers or someone who doesn’t have the time or care to keep a house very tidy.
Do you have an open concept home? Anything to add?