It's time to reconsider the open concept kitchen and living room made popular on HGTV's Fixer Upper.

By Alli Hoff Kosik
February 15, 2018


Open Concept Kitchen

When it comes to the business of home design, it’s HGTV’s world and we’re just living in it—at least, as far as I can tell. Joanna Gaines showed us shiplap a handful of times and suddenly everyone is scrambling to cover their walls in wooden boards. Flip or Flop’s Tarek and Christina demonstrated that even the shabbiest of renovated houses can have a spa bathroom and now we all want spa bathrooms. The Property Brothers painted everything gray…and gray has since become the ultimate neutral.

The one thing I’ve found that most of HGTV’s shows have in common—and I’m a pretty good source on this because I’ve watched a lot of them, sometimes more than once—is a fixation with open floor plans. It borders on idol worship. Spend 30 minutes in front of any one of the network’s renovation shows and you’ll be convinced that you’re only living if you’re living open. If there’s a wall in the way of the kitchen-to-family-room sightline, you can bet that a potential homeowner will ask if they can knock it down. For many of us—and especially those of us who are guilty of binge-watching HGTV—our dream home has become whatever place has the fewest, well, walls.

Living in an open concept apartment with my husband for the last three years has given me a different perspective on this. Picture me nervously waving to Joanna Gaines. “Excuse me, Jo?” I say, enamored of her perfect chambray shirt and jeans combo with Hari Mari sandals. “I’m not so sure about this whole open concept thing. Could we get some more walls?”

That’s right. What do I dream of in our next home? Walls. I dream of walls.

While I see the value in the sense of family togetherness open floor plans can inspire, I just don’t think they're right for everyone. Here’s why:

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