This Ever-Popular Kitchen Layout Is Back (Again)

Are you open to it?

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

Photography by Mellon Studio

While the ubiquitous open-concept layout took a brief hiatus during the pandemic, it’s gaining steam (again), but not in the way you think. According to a kitchen trends study from Houzz, open floor plans are on the rise, with 40 percent of homeowners choosing this option, but people aren’t stopping at knocking down interior walls. Twenty percent of renovators are making their kitchens open concept by transitioning them to the outdoors rather than just the dining or living room.

Photography by Madeline Tolle; Styling by Jessica Hansen

The survey revealed the most common way to do so is by adding a row of two or more doors leading to the exterior (46 percent of those making the upgrade suggested this). A single door was the second most popular solution (29 percent), followed by pass-through windows (14 percent). Ahead, find a few of our favorite examples of kitchens that expand to the backyard and beyond. 

Slide Your Way Outside 

Photography by Mellon Studio

In just two steps, this already spacious kitchen, designed by Jessica Risko Smith, seamlessly transforms into a double cooking zone. When pushed aside, the accordion-style windows and doors create a breezy passageway to the adjacent grill and alfresco dining space. 

Give Yourself Options

Photography by Mellon Studio

Almost every room in Brian and Jessie De Lowe’s Montecito, California, home offers access to nature, but the kitchen has two options to do so. A massive garage-door window opens up to bar seating, and there’s also a sliding glass partition right next to it (both are by Architectural Ironworks) that leads to the patio. 

Make a Pass for It 

Photography by Johnny Miller

This made-for-baking getaway in Palm Springs was handpicked by the team at New York Times Cooking specifically for its kitchen layout. The room seamlessly flows from the prep space to the pool area by way of a concession-style window over the sink. Thanks to an eat-in bar on the other side, Genevieve Ko, NYT Cooking’s deputy editor, notes, “It’s one of our team’s favorite cookie nooks in the house.”

Do It for the Kids

Open plan kitchen that leads to the outdoors with bar stools
Photography by Michael Clifford

Even though content creator Rachel “Rocky” Barnes didn’t design her L.A. home’s kitchen with her growing family in mind (she and her husband, Matthew Cooper, have two sons), it turns out that the outdoor bar that butts up to the cooking space is great for casual kid meals and keeping tabs on little ones roaming the backyard.