A kitchen or living room remodel doesn’t have to only be floors, counters, and cabinets. An upgrade that’s become very popular in recent years is opening up the space by removing walls.
It can have a pretty profound effect on the feel of your space, and in a kitchen can make entertaining far easier.
A great example of this is a recent project we worked on with a kitchen half wall right over the stove that separated the kitchen and living room. While it did function as a nice cooking nook originally, it also gave the kitchen a penned off setting.
Removing a wall isn’t always feasible if it’s a support wall that the roof or second floor is dependent on. Checking your home’s blueprints or architectural drawings is the place to begin to determine that.
In scenarios like this, though, dismantling the cabinets and removing the half wall is pretty straightforward.
This remodeling project also involved upgrading the lighting and creating a doorway to an adjacent room, which gave the living room an entirely new look.
When the kitchen portion was complete, the space was vastly more open. Anyone standing at the stove could easily visit with those in the living room.
As you can see, the kitchen remodel also involved new sinks and counter tops, and some fresh cabinetry. The cabinets themselves had a dated look, and this new color and design really modernized the cooking area.
Easier room access totally changes the usability of dining room tables.
Homeowners often report that, while they have a separate dining room off their kitchen, they rarely use it. It’s a common story, where the dining room is used for special occasions but not much else, and the rest of the time everyone eats means at the kitchen island or breakfast nook.
One major change that opening up a kitchen by removing walls brings about is the sense of continuity.
Narrow doorways that feel like they take you to an entirely separate area mentally feel like a lot more effort, like going there must be far more deliberate. Consequently, it doesn’t feel natural. The doorway feels like a barrier.
Once the two areas feel more like one area, flowing between them is a breeze. Company is more likely to sit at the dining room table because they can openly converse with those in the kitchen.
Open designs are far more appealing to potential buyers.
These days nothing says dated faster than walking into a house with tons of confined, walled-off areas everywhere.
Years ago that was the idea: every room had its own purpose and was meant to feel distinct from the other rooms. But nowadays people tend to favor much more open designs where far more of the home feels accessible at once.
It gives the house a comfortable, free feeling. If you’re curious just how much of a difference it can make, simply get used to an open floor plan and then step into an older house. Many report it feeling clinical or almost institutional.
Whatever your preference, the point is that sticking with a closed off design will make your home far tougher to sell should you go that route. It probably won’t send as welcoming a signal to those touring the space, and potential buyers will look at the kitchen and living room as remodeling projects they’ll have to save for. In their minds, now they’re not willing to spend as much on the home because they have to budget for renovations.
Removing walls during a remodel can also create better light throughout.
Lighting can be tricky — particularly when there are numerous walls blocking or reflecting that light. Homeowners can end up feeling like they need a lot of lamps, and even that can feel limited.
Opening up the space by removing walls allows both natural light from windows and light from ceiling fixtures etc. to flow between the space. This is another way removing walls enhances visual continuity.
Sound carries very differently through open designs.
On one hand, you might enjoy the relative privacy of separated rooms with narrow doorways since sound, both from conversations and from music or TV shows, won’t bleed into other rooms as much.
On the other hand, when you’re entertaining and you want music or conversation to flow throughout the house, those narrow passageways will make all different areas of the house feel like separate experiences are happening.
The open design solves a lot of that, which is also helpful for when there are children in the home so adults can keep better track of them. It’s easier to hear kids playing in the other room, babies crying, or simply smile along at the movie everyone is enjoying in the other room while in the kitchen for a few.
If you’ve been considering a similar update to your kitchen, living room, or any other room that feels cramped, we would love to help you explore that vision!