Once upon a time, we were all happy to live in small rooms, each duly fit for their own purpose but not much else.
In recent years, the trend for open-plan living has become unstoppable. Now, we all want integrated homes, where multiple rooms blend into one to give the ultimate feeling of space and togetherness.
As a nation, we’ve especially come to love kitchen-diners – a perfect sociable space for entertaining guests, or for all the family to be together, even if they’re doing different things.
So, if you have a separate kitchen and dining room adjacent to each other, creating one big kitchen-diner is a great way to improve your home and add value – but it’s not simply a case of getting out your sledge hammer and letting the wall have it.
The first thing to establish is what sort of wall it is. Identifying a plasterboard stud wall is easy – it sounds hollow when you knock on it, but note that other walls can sound similar. Look at the floorboards too: if they are parallel to the wall, the wall is structural because the floor joists will run under it at a 90 degree angle.
Consult a structural engineer if in doubt though, because it’s just not worth taking a risk: removing a structural wall without supporting it properly could make your home liable to collapse.
As well as taking down the wall, there’s a lot of other work associated with going open-plan, which is easy to overlook. You may have to replace the flooring and move radiators, pipes, sockets and switches, as well as replastering and repainting the mess around the removed wall.