McClurg's Home Remodeling Blog

Design Ideas for Kitchens With an Open Floor Plan

Posted by Vince Petralito on Tue, Nov 11, 2014

If you’ve visited the Parade of Homes or browsed through kitchen design magazines and websites, you’ve probably seen the trend where kitchens are integrated with dining room spaces and family rooms. This design trend is commonly referred to as “kitchens with an open floor plan.” Many open floor plan projects involve working within the existing floor plan and opening up the space by removing walls to make the kitchen more efficient and improve the overall use of a first floor living area. Another way to create a kitchen with an open floor plan is to build an addition onto a home that includes a dining area and/or a family room in the design.


This open floor plan kitchen addition includes a dining area.

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Here are several design ideas for kitchens with an open floor plan. They are from recent projects we’ve completed for Central New York homeowners that show updated kitchens and how floor plans were modified to meet their needs.

Remodeling Within the Existing Space

Most homes built thirty or more years ago have a floor plan that separates the kitchen, dining room and living room. Capes, colonials, split-levels and even ranch style homes were built in this manner. To unify a kitchen with a dining room or living room, an interior wall must be removed. It’s important to determine if the wall separating the rooms is “load-bearing," i.e., a wall that supports the structure of the home.

Interior load-bearing walls generally run parallel with the front entrance of a home. However, this is not always the case. There may be a perpendicular wall that supports a second story load. We are able to determine if a wall is load-bearing when the sheetrock is removed from the ceiling to reveal floor joist and the framing construction. If the wall is load-bearing, we will reinforce the structural support to open up the space. If it is not, the wall can be removed without compromising the structure of the home.


The wall between the kitchen and dining room was load-bearing. We reinforced the opening but the homeowner wanted to define the two spaces with a decorative column and peninsula. New hardwood flooring was installed through the first floor of the home. Threshold boards were laid to be decorative, again to define the areas. A peninsula was added to provide storage for items used in the formal dining room and additional counter seating in the kitchen.

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This open floor plan seamlessly integrates the kitchen and living room creating the appearance of more space. A tiered island provides space for food prep, cooking, storage and entertaining.

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Another way to unify spaces is to cut an opening into a wall or widen an entryway. This option may not change the traffic flow but it will change the visual appearance of the space, the way it is used and can bring more natural light into an otherwise dark kitchen.


An entryway between a kitchen and dining room was widened to unify the spaces visually. The opening between the rooms is wide enough to accommodate a new peninsula that serves both areas. Pendant light fixtures used over the peninsula were matched to a chandelier over the dining table. Furnishings are bright and casual. Walls in the dining area and kitchen were painted a rich gold that complements the wood trim and flooring.

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This perspective of the kitchen shows how the two rooms were integrated. Flooring between the rooms was unified at the threshold by adding wood floorboards.

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Kitchen Additions

If you are considering adding more space by building an addition, rather than reconfiguring the existing space in your home, you may find that the services of a design-build firm will ease the process. Design-build firms create plans and drawings, manage construction and work with you to select products you will need to achieve your objectives for the project.


The owners of this home decided to build the kitchen of their dreams by constructing an addition that would provide ample room for informal dining and entertaining and open out onto a deck that overlooks a stunning valley view. The intricate architecture of the addition included hand-hewn beams that make a design statement, large windows and glass doors and a central island. Special items were ordered for the project including a cast stone fireplace and range hood and custom hand-painting tile.

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This exquisite kitchen addition features an island with two paneled posts and pendant lighting for food prep and dining. The posts not only complement the cabinetry but one conceals a load-bearing support. Other architectural features include an arch over the wall ovens, display shelving, crown moldings and a custom tile backsplash.

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How to Plan a Kitchen Remodeling Project Guide

Topics: Kitchens, Additions

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