renovated row house in Washington D.C.—Photo by Greg Powers via clock menu more-arrow no yes

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Must All Houses Have Open-Plan Interiors Now?

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A boldly <a href="http://curbed.com/archives/2015/09/14/rowhouse-renovations-beautiful.php">renovated row house</a> in Washington D.C.—Photo by <a href="http://www.gregpowers.us/">Greg Powers</a> via <a href="http://curbed.com/archives/2015/09/14/ro
A boldly renovated row house in Washington D.C.—Photo by Greg Powers via

Once upon a time, houses had distinct spaces for cooking, dining, and lounging or receiving guests. By the early 1900s, Frank Lloyd Wright had pioneered Prairie-style homes that opened up interior spaces, and midcentury design further pushed the partition-less house to its logical extreme. Nowadays, the concept is everywhere—to the point that sometimes it feels more sensible to point out that a house is non-open-plan than that it is. Ultimately, though, is the wall-free look here to stay?

In a previous discussion on overexposed design trends, a few commenters already unleashed strong opinions against open-plan interiors.

Homes shouldn't look like airplane hangars, and form needs to follow function. Open kitchens. I hate them. I don't want people watching me cook, or "hanging out" when I'm doing it. Plus, you get comments like "Wait, you're putting anchovies in that? Can you leave them out of mine?" and "You know I don't like garlic, don't you?" Plus, if you cook every day like me, your upholstery will, over time, smell like fried bacon and rotting fish all at once — no matter how well the ventilation system. No thank you. Give me an old-fashioned kitchen, preferably with a butler's pantry, and a guard dog. But there are of course also pros to this look, namely a more spacious feel, flexible use, and perhaps a better general reflection of modernity (consider, for example, the steady decline of the family dinner.) In fact, one commenter had this to say:

Love open plan kitchens, looking for a new house and this is a must. Well, lucky for this person, new-builds and renovations have completely embraced the concept. Take a look at these examples:


A quick dive into Google Trends, which tracks the popularity of specific search terms since 2004, also suggests a steadily growing interest in open plans, particularly open kitchens.

So, which side are you on? Can you even imagine a new construction without an open plan? Sound out in the poll and comments!

Poll results

Are You a Minimalist, a Maximalist, or Somewhere in Between? [Curbed]
Which Iconic Chairs Should Take a Backseat? [Curbed]
Which Kitchen Decor Trends Would You Do Away With? [Curbed]
What's Wrong With Putting a TV Above the Fireplace? [Curbed]
Which Decor Trends Are The Most Overexposed Right Now? [Curbed]
All Weekly Decor Rant posts [Curbed]