Do you feel like your split level kitchen is starting to feel cramped or closed off? Have you dreamed of a more open, airy cooking space? If so, removing walls may be the perfect remodeling idea to give your kitchen a fresh, modern facelift. Opening up the space can make your kitchen feel larger, brighter and more inviting. It can also improve the flow and connection between your kitchen, dining and living areas. Read on to learn why removing walls is a brilliant way to remodel a split level kitchen along with a step-by-step guide to demolition and design.
Why Consider Removing Walls in Your Split Level Kitchen
There are several excellent reasons to consider knocking down walls as part of your split level kitchen remodel. Here are some of the benefits:
Create a More Open, Modern Concept
Removing walls can instantly give your split level kitchen a sleek, contemporary look. Taking down barriers helps improve the flow and spaciousness of the home. Opening up the kitchen makes the entire space feel larger and more airy. Removing walls also enables natural light to spread throughout the kitchen, making it feel bright and inviting.
Overcome a Cramped, Enclosed Feeling
Split level floor plans can sometimes make kitchens feel segregated or closed off from other living spaces. Partial walls or tight openings into the kitchen can make the space feel small and confined. Taking down walls can help open up a cramped kitchen by improving sightlines and connections to nearby rooms.
Benefits of Open Concept
Creating an open concept kitchen has many advantages. An airy, unobstructed kitchen makes it easy for the cook to interact with family members and guests. Open layouts are great for entertaining and bring people together. An open kitchen also enables you to cook while still being part of the action. Removing walls can help you achieve the many perks of an open concept layout.
Things to Consider Before Removing Walls
While opening up your split level kitchen can be rewarding, there are several important considerations to weigh first.
Removing walls in a kitchen remodel does involve investment. The average cost of taking down a wall and installing new cabinets and countertops ranges from $4,000 to $15,000. To determine your potential budget, consult with contractors and get quotes for the demolition work and finishing. Be sure to factor in expenses for new cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances if needed.
Before demolishing any kitchen walls, it’s essential to find out if they are load-bearing or non-load bearing. Load-bearing walls help hold up the weight of the structure. Removing them can compromise the building’s integrity. Non-load bearing walls simply divide up space and can be safely taken down. If you aren’t sure, have a contractor or structural engineer assess the wall before moving ahead with removal.
You’ll also need to account for any electrical wiring, plumbing pipes or ductwork running through the wall. Your contractor should address rerouting these elements so they are accessible after the wall comes down.
Carefully think through your design plan before starting demolition. Consider how opening up the space may impact your kitchen’s workflow, storage needs and appliance layout. Decide if you want to remove the wall entirely or just a portion of it. Also think about finishes that will complement and unify the new open area.
Since removing a wall impacts your home’s structure, there are crucial safety steps to take. Make sure to:
- Obtain all required building permits
- Have utilities to the kitchen shut off prior to demolition
- Wear protective eyewear and masks during the tear down
Step-By-Step Guide to Removing Walls
Once you’ve decided to move ahead with removing a kitchen wall, follow these key steps:
Hire the Right Contractor
Make sure to hire an experienced general contractor or remodeler. Look for the following:
- Extensive experience with kitchen remodels and wall demolition
- A portfolio of previous split level kitchen projects
- Strong reviews and references
Get quotes from at least 3 contractors before selecting one. Make sure expectations are clear about timeline, costs and the demolition plan.
Your contractor will complete the safe tear down of the wall:
- Electrical power will be shut off to the kitchen
- The wall will be demolished down to the studs or supporting structure
- Flooring will be protected from debris
The demolition work itself typically takes 1-2 days depending on the wall size.
Construct New Framework
After demolition, your contractor will build back up a new framework:
- New studs or supports will be added if load bearing
- An opening will be framed according to your preferences
- Electrical and plumbing lines will be re-routed as needed
Proper structural work ensures your home’s integrity remains intact after the wall is removed.
Finish Drywall and Trims
The final construction steps include:
- Installing and finishing new drywall seams
- Mudding, taping and sanding for smooth joints
- Painting and adding trim finishes around the new opening
Attending to finish details helps give your kitchen a seamless, built-in look.
Design Ideas for Open Concept Split Level Kitchens
Once the wall comes down, it’s time to add design touches to take advantage of the new open space. Consider these popular options:
Islands and Peninsulas
Islands or peninsulas help delineate kitchen space without rebuilt walls. They also provide extra seating and prep area. Try centering an island in the new open zone.
Partial walls or knee walls maintain some separation between kitchens and other rooms. They can also serve as breakfast bars. Use half walls to divide open concept spaces.
Set up floating open shelving in the former wall space. This gives an airier, more spacious look while keeping dishes and glassware on display.
Without a wall, it’s easier to incorporate bold lighting elements like:
- Dramatic pendant lights over a kitchen island
- A linear row of track lighting
- Eye catching chandeliers as a focal point
Draw the eye upward with stunning overhead light fixtures.
Removing walls in a split level kitchen remodel can feel like a big change. But opening up your kitchen can pay off with a brighter, more inviting space perfect for cooking and connecting. Just be sure to tackle the project carefully by researching costs, hiring professionals and planning finishes. We hope this guide gave you inspiration and tips for brilliantly remodeling your split level kitchen by knocking down walls. The final result will be a kitchen that truly becomes the heart of your home.