Combining your kitchen and dining room by removing the wall in between can create a more open, functional space in your home. This popular remodeling project can make entertaining easier, improve traffic flow, and give your home a more modern, airy feel. However, removing walls also requires careful planning and execution to ensure structural integrity and meet building codes.
This complete guide will walk you through removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room, including:
- Evaluating if an open concept is right for you
- Structural considerations
- Building permits and inspections
- Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC adjustments
- Flooring and ceiling continuity
- Cabinetry and appliance rearrangement
- Lighting and decorative touches to unify the new space
Follow these steps to successfully combine your kitchen and dining areas by removing the non-load-bearing wall between them.
Is An Open Concept Right for You?
The first step is deciding if removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room is the right move for your home and lifestyle.
An open-concept kitchen/dining room offers several benefits:
- Creates a spacious, airy atmosphere. Removing walls can make a home feel larger.
- Allows easier hosting and entertainment. An open floor plan provides a continuous space for gathering guests.
- Improves lighting. Natural light flows through an open space.
- Enhances traffic flow. Eliminating walls provides better movement between rooms.
- Reflects modern design trends. Open-concept spaces are popular in contemporary homes.
However, there are also a few potential drawbacks to consider:
- Can feel too open. Some find a large, uninterrupted space to be overwhelming.
- Noise travels easily. Sounds can reverberate throughout an open area.
- Limits furniture arrangements. With no separation between rooms, furniture placement options are reduced.
- More visible clutter and messes. An open floor plan puts the kitchen mess in full view.
If you entertain frequently, have a large family, or simply want a contemporary, Minimalist feel, combining your kitchen and dining room can be advantageous. But if you prefer intimate spaces with noise buffering, avoid open concepts. Think about how you use your home to determine if removing the wall fits your lifestyle.
Once you decide an open-concept kitchen/dining room is right for you, the first major step is verifying the wall you want to remove is not load-bearing. Load-bearing walls support the structural integrity of the home. Removing them requires complex engineering and reconstruction to redistribute weight. Never attempt to knock down a load-bearing wall without professional help.
Signs that a wall is load-bearing include:
- The wall runs the length of the home, parallel to the roof line. These often carry roof weight.
- There’s a door or archway built into the wall. Openings weaken walls, so load-bearing ones rarely have them.
- The wall sits directly above a beam in the basement. This typically indicates it carries upper-level weight.
- Wall has ductwork, wiring, and plumbing running through it. Load-bearing walls often house these elements.
Conversely, signs a wall is likely not load-bearing:
- The wall runs perpendicular to the direction of the floor joists. Joists usually run side-to-side, while load-bearing walls often run front-to-back.
- Wall studs don’t sit directly above first-floor walls or beams. This shows the wall is not carrying major weight.
- Wall has a hollow sound when tapped on. Load-bearing walls sound more solid.
- Ceiling joists on both sides of the wall run in the same direction without modification. This tells you the wall was added later.
For amateurs, probing for studs, wires, and plumbing can make it challenging to discern structural walls from additions. Consult your original building plans or enlist an architect or engineer to determine if the kitchen/dining wall is load-bearing before proceeding. Never demolish a wall until you are 100% certain it is not load-bearing.
Another key step is obtaining the proper permits. Most residential building departments require permits to remove walls to ensure correct load-bearing identification and code compliance. Skipping permits risks fines, insurance problems, and unsafe construction.
Start by contacting your local building department and asking what permits are needed for removing a kitchen/dining wall.
Requirements vary by jurisdiction but may include:
- Structural demolition permit – Grants permission for load-bearing verification and wall removal.
- Electrical permit – Needed if electrical work like moving outlets and wiring is required.
- Plumbing permit – Required if any plumbing lines in the wall must be relocated.
- Mechanical permit – Necessary if ductwork needs to be adjusted.
Provide your address and scope of work when applying for permits. The building department will calculate fees and issue permits after plans are reviewed and approved. Keep permits displayed on site throughout the project. Schedule inspections after demolition, electrical, plumbing, and other work. Passing inspections are required before concealing work behind drywall.
Obtaining proper permits upfront ensures your open-concept remodel meets safety standards. Don’t cut corners that could compromise the structural integrity or function of your home.
Preparing the Space
Once structural suitability and permits are handled, shift focus to prepping the kitchen and dining rooms for combining into one space.
- Identify circuits – Note which outlets, lights, and switches are on the kitchen circuitry vs. dining room circuitry based on your electrical panel.
- Add circuits – If needed, install new kitchen circuitry to power added counter space and appliances.
- Relocate wiring – Carefully rewire components on the wall being removed and reroute to new locations.
Modifying Plumbing and Gas Lines
- Shut off the water supply – Turn off the water in the kitchen and tag shutoff valves to prevent accidental activation before plumbing work.
- Disconnect fixtures – Detach sinks, supply lines, and drain pipes from the removed wall.
- Cap pipes – Temporarily cap any severed water or gas pipes in the wall cavity to contain them until rerouted.
- Extend lines – Adjust sink plumbing and gas lines to reach new cabinet locations after demolition.
Adjusting HVAC Vents and Ductwork
- Locate vents – Identify all HVAC vents, returns, and airflow coming through the wall.
- Disassemble ducts – Uncouple any duct segments that pass through the wall.
- Reroute system – Carefully modify ductwork to loop around the new opening rather than bisecting it.
- Add vents – Install new registers to ensure adequate airflow to the expanded space.
Taking time to thoughtfully address wiring, plumbing, and HVAC needs will prevent functionality and safety issues after the wall is gone.
Knocking Down the Wall
With preparations complete, it’s time for the fun part – demolition! Safely removing a non-load-bearing wall is straightforward but messy.
Follow these steps:
Stage the Room
- Remove furniture – Clear out all portable furnishings from both rooms for unobstructed access.
- Protect surfaces – Cover remaining cabinetry, floors, and countertops with plastic sheeting to control dust.
- Turn off power – Shut off circuits feeding the kitchen and dining rooms at the breaker box.
- Wear gear – Use proper protective equipment like goggles, gloves, long sleeves, and a respirator.
Remove Wall Surfaces
- Take down trim – Carefully pry off baseboards, window and door casings, and any decorative trim using a pry bar. Set aside intact pieces for reinstallation.
- Cut drywall – Use a drywall saw or multi-tool to cut drywall vertically along wall studs from floor to ceiling. Make an additional horizontal cut halfway up.
- Remove upper drywall – Pull the separated top drywall section off the wall, ripping it away from any remaining screws.
- Remove lower drywall – Grab the bottom drywall piece, detach it fully, and pull it free from the bottom plate.
- Demolish wall – Knock out the now exposed wall studs using a reciprocating saw, sledgehammer, or pry bar. Watch for hidden wires and plumbing.
- Remove insulation – If present, pull or vacuum out insulation filling the empty wall cavity.
Dispose of Debris
- Clear debris – Collect all demolished drywall pieces, loose insulation, wood scraps, and debris into trash bags and haul to a dumpster promptly.
- Vacuum space – Thoroughly vacuum up all remaining drywall dust, wood shavings, and insulation using a shop vac.
With the non-load-bearing wall taken out cleanly, you now have an open-concept kitchen and dining space ready for the finishing touches.
Constructing the New Open Area
Completing your open-concept kitchen and dining room requires tying the spaces together visually and functionally.
Key tasks include:
Install New Flooring
- Match flooring – If floors don’t already match, install new flooring that complements both spaces, like wood or tile, throughout the combined room.
- Blend heights – If floor height varies, add floor leveling compound for an even surface.
- Unify styles – Use consistent patterns and color tones so the floor flows seamlessly between the kitchen and dining areas.
Integrate the Ceiling
- Remove soffits – Take down any soffits or dropped sections of ceiling over cabinets or walls.
- Install drywall – Drywall over the entire ceiling, leaving it smooth and continuous.
- Add lighting – Use recessed lights and hanging fixtures to illuminate the whole open area.
- Paint uniformly – Apply the same ceiling paint color throughout to optically unite the space.
Relocate and Rearrange Cabinets
- Take out old cabinets – Uninstall existing kitchen and dining room cabinets that won’t be reused.
- Move usable cabinets – Carefully detach salvageable cabinets for reinstallation along the new perimeter.
- Purchase new cabinets – Buy cabinetry as needed to fill the expanded kitchen footprint. Use matching or coordinating style and finish.
- Create flow – Arrange cabinets, islands, and peninsulas to delineate functional zones and enable natural movement.
- Remove old tops – If existing countertops won’t be reused, disconnect them from cabinets and dispose properly.
- Integrate new tops – Install continuous countertops throughout the kitchen using matching edge profiles and materials.
- Seam edges – Securely join any seams between countertop pieces using adhesive and clamps.
Relocate Appliances and Fixtures
- Disconnect appliances – Turn off the power and water supply, then detach existing appliances like the stove, refrigerator, and sink from supply lines.
- Install appliances strategically – Position key appliances like the range, sink, and fridge in convenient new locations.
- Add electrical and plumbing – Extend wiring, gas lines, water supply pipes, and drains as needed to reconnect appliances.
Strategically reconfiguring the unified kitchen and dining area creates optimized workflow and visual harmony.
Design Touches to Blend the Space
With the major structural work complete, add aesthetic touches to create one cohesive space:
Coordinated Paint Colors
- Choose a palette – Pick 2-3 complementary paint colors to use throughout the kitchen and dining zones.
- Accent kitchen – Use bolder hues like red or blue on accent kitchen walls.
- Neutral dining – Stick with soft neutrals like tan or gray for major dining room walls.
- Repeat colors – Use one tone on architectural elements like baseboards, windows, and doors throughout.
Consistent Trim and Molding
- Reinstall original trim – For a seamless transition, reuse existing trim pieces removed during demolition.
- Add new trim – Introduce matching crown molding, baseboard, and window/door casings in any missing spots.
- Color uniformly – Paint or stain all trim work the same color for a continuous look.
- Mix fixtures – Incorporate overhead, task, and accent lighting in both zones using complementary styles.
- Zone lighting – Control separate lighting circuits/switches for the kitchen and dining areas.
- Set dimmers – Install dimmer switches to create a lighting ambiance for different needs.
- Add pendants – Hang matching pendant lights over the kitchen and dining spaces.
Shared Decor Motifs
- Repeat decor – Use identical window treatments, artwork themes, and decorative accessories like plants, sculptures, or candles in both zones.
- Create vignettes – Arrange furniture to form visually balanced dining and kitchen vignettes unified by decor.
With cohesive finishes and decor, your open-concept kitchen and dining rooms will feel like one continuous, beautiful space tailored to your lifestyle.
Combining Kitchens and Dining Rooms for an Open Concept
Removing the wall between your kitchen and adjacent dining area can create an inviting, functional concept space perfect for modern lifestyles. However this major remodel requires careful planning regarding structural modifications, permits, systems adjustments, layout, finishes, and decor. Always involve qualified building professionals to ensure the project is executed safely, legally, and in code. With diligence and patience, knocking out the wall between your kitchen and dining room can open up beautiful, practical possibilities.
Just be sure to weigh your needs carefully first, as open-concept living isn’t ideal for everyone. If improved flow, functionality, and versatility are your goals, opening the wall between these two important rooms can help you achieve the home environment you’ve always wanted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cheaper to knock down or move a wall?
Knocking down a wall is generally cheaper than moving it. Demolishing a non-load-bearing wall involves making cuts, removing drywall, and basic disposal. Moving a wall requires detaching it, relocating framing, running new electrical and plumbing, and rebuilding – much more labor intensive.
How much does it cost to remove a wall between the kitchen and dining room?
For a simple non-load bearing wall, costs range from $800-$2000 depending on wall size, complexity, needed modifications, and location. Hiring an engineer to confirm the structure first adds $500-$1000. Any repairs or relocations drive costs up further.
Can I remove a wall myself?
Homeowners can demolish basic drywall non-load-bearing walls but need contractors for wiring, plumbing, equipment rentals, load-bearing verifications, and any required structural work. Removing a wall solo takes skill and diligence – consider expertise.
What kind of contractor removes walls?
General contractors oversee wall removal projects, but hire out specialty trades as needed – electricians, plumbers, HVAC techs, etc. Structural engineers assess load-bearing status. Drywall contractors demolish and rebuild finished surfaces.
How long does it take to remove a wall and make an open concept?
From permitting through interior finishes, an open-concept wall removal takes 4-8 weeks. Structural assessments, demolition, modifications, and repairs take 1-3 weeks. Refinishing and decorating the open space adds 2-5 weeks. Timelines depend on the complexity of the project.