Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,140
Registered: ‎02-07-2011

It depends.  I don't like "loft style" layouts where it's just one big area.  But I do like what I have where the kitchen is open to the living room.  I think other things are more important in choosing a home than open vs. walls i.e., location, no stairs (a must!!, IMO) and condition of the house.



Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,875
Registered: ‎08-25-2010

Our home is a 1960's rambler with a full basement and attic. All of the living space is on the main floor, so 2/3 of that floor is comprised of bedrooms and bathrooms. Obviously, you need walls there for privacy. The galley kitchen is closed off from the dining room and has a pocket door; the other kitchen wall forms part of the stairwell down to the basement. The living room and dining room form an L. While some of the more recent neighbors have knocked down walls to achieve an open concept design, I wouldn't change a thing. As Kachina mentioned, it's so nice to be able to close that kitchen door so the food prep mess isn't right out there for your guests to see. Also, if you make a traditional ranch house open concept, you have to think of other design solutions to avoid a bowling alley look. 

When my in-laws were alive, they had a single level home in Florida. If I recall correctly, it was square in shape. The living and dining rooms were 1 big room with the areas defined by furniture placement. There was a full wall between the kitchen and dining room, which allowed for extra kitchen cabinets. They also had a breakfast nook off the kitchen and a lanai that ran along the exterior living room wall. The laundry room was between the foyer & one of the guest bedrooms and formed the entryway to the garage. Their HVAC unit was in a hall closet and their hot water heater was in a closet in the laundry room. Overall, I thought it was a very well-designed home for an elderly couple. 


Regardless of what you finally buy, make sure it's what you really want. Don't be swayed by HGTV concepts. I worked with a guy whose sister was on one of the earlier House Hunters shows. He said they were coached to comment and/or exclaim over house features like open concept, appliance colors (black at that time), ceramic tile floors, etc. At the end of the day, you and your husband have to be happy in your new home. Good luck!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 16,927
Registered: ‎03-14-2010

I live in an open concept house and I love it.  I have always loved  the open concept even before it became kind of trendy.  Yes, the home is noisier, but i love the open feeling more than I dislike the noise.



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Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,010
Registered: ‎08-29-2010

To me, open concept denotes hollow, cavernous, loud.  I’ve seen online, too, that the fad is beginning to fade.


The last time we moved, DH wanted a ranch, but with a basement.  After a fairly severe knee injury, I came to see the light about no stairs.  My other requirement was a main-floor laundry room.  The days of carrying laundry up ‘n down the stairs were over.


We found what each of us wanted -- a full, finished basement for him and a main-floor laundry for me.  It turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made.  I wish you equal blessings in your search, @PAlady .

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,206
Registered: ‎08-08-2011

We live in what I think of as a partial open concept ranch. From parts of the living room you can see into the kitchen but from other parts you can’t so it’s not one big cavernous room.  We do have a basement but never finished it so basically for storage.  Our washer/dryer is on the main floor.   This has been my favorite house of all I’ve lived in over the years. I have a couple friends who have lost their spouses and live in large two story homes and would like to find a one story ranch in this area but ranches are so popular right now that they seem to sell within a day of going on the market. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 12,599
Registered: ‎11-03-2018

I prefer an open-concept home.  I don't like the feeling of being boxed into rooms. 


The only issue with the ranch is how close are the bedrooms to the living areas and are you comfortable with that.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 62,798
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Need Your Thoughts

[ Edited ]

@PAlady I have to agree a one story home is a great idea and has many advantages as folks age, but nix to the vastly overdone and over-rated 'open concept'. Depending on the size of the house, I can see an advantage to having a family room/kitchen combination, but if space didn't permit me to have an extra sitting room separate from the kitchen area, then I'd prefer being able to close off spaces as needed.

In my pantry with my cupcakes...
Regular Contributor
Posts: 202
Registered: ‎04-01-2011

I have lived in both.  Here is my experience.  The open concept, contemporary Danish with vaulted ceilings and loads of windows, was very nice for large family, friends, and business entertaining.  Loved it.  I had a walk in pantry so my kitchen was tidy enough for people to hang out.  It suited us in our 40's, 50's and early 60's.  Then retirement happened - being home together 24/7.

In retirement, both my husband and I continued work at home so individual offices were a necessity for privacy and sanity.  We both needed file cabinets, desks, computer and printer space, etc.  We moved, renovated a farm house with rooms, and had  two big offices built above a new garage with storage.  It keeps the mess out of our  living space.

My suggestion is to think about how you want to live everyday.  My friend has open space and it drives her crazy because her husband set up his " office" on the kitchen island counter.  Papers everywhere and he is always on the computer, which conflicts with the noise of her watching tv.  And she has no place to sew and leave her quilting up while she is working on a project.  Neither one wants to be in the basement.  They are also thinking about moving.  Good luck to you. 😀


Honored Contributor
Posts: 22,153
Registered: ‎03-10-2010



We live in an all brick one story home in Albuquerque.  The outside is traditional.  The inside is a nice combination of styles.  You walk into the house and the foyer is open to the "great room."  The kitchen is open to the dining area and hearth room.  The foyer also has a large archway that is open to what could be used as a formal dining room.  Right now it's our reduced library.  The great room also has a large archway into the hearth room and dining area.  Large windows in the great room reveal the patio and backyard.  So, open but not too open.


The other half of the house, however, is much more "private."  Two bathrooms and four bedrooms -- none "open."


But we have very high ceilings and an abundance of windows so it "feels" open.


You'll know what works for you when you're inside it.  It will just feel right.

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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,669
Registered: ‎06-10-2010

Re: Need Your Thoughts

[ Edited ]

10 Tips for Decorating a Combined Living and Dining Room

@PAlady    This room (floor plan wise) is laid out almost exactly like mine.  My kitchen is off the dining room and enclosed so my "great room" (as they used to call  it) always looks neat and clean like this.  My living room furniture faces the end wall exactly like this.  Our fan and chandelier is also positioned as this.  Behind those dining room chairs and table is a wall big enough for a buffet and cupboard (hutch) with another window between them.  We don't have the one extra picture window.  I love that..... when we have family over... we can set up another table and everyone can eat together at the same table.  Also it allows for ample space if you want to have a baby or wedding shower for a bunch of people.   The mess stays in the kitchen and it really cuts down on any noise  you would hear in the main living area. I have been happy with it.