For those who are getting spring fever and want to do something to 'change the look' of the home, how about knocking down a few walls - carefully, that is! The latest idea of great rooms is really catching on and if a home is going to keep up with the latest and newest on the market - its living room is extinct!

We have seen it coming if we have watched the signs, first of all the kitchen got bigger, then it had two working stations, then the computer moved in there - just for ease of recipe reading and remote control of the house. Obviously everyone loves the atmosphere in the kitchen, so it had to be opened up to the whole house, voila: le great room.

There is an alternative to the great room; it is the 'kitchen great room'. Ever since Electrolux published their study which showed that a typical family spends 175 hours per month in the kitchen, but only 31 hours per month in the living room, architects and builders have been adjusting designs accordingly. Coupled with this Electrolux survey is the fact that entertaining has become more of a casual affair in the 21st Century. Gone are the days when the hostess hid herself away in the kitchen and suddenly walked out carrying a steaming five course meal! Nowadays guests wander into the kitchen to chat or help or make adjustments to a dish that they have brought, the kitchen is no longer 'mum's' territory. With acceptance of this idea, comes the realization that the kitchen could be made cozier, more serviceable for all the family and will therefore need to become bigger.

This could mean that a TV will be in the kitchen, alongside a fireplace and a desk area wired for Internet as well as the family's online calendar. Many people take the obvious route and eliminate the formal dining room altogether by knocking down the wall between the two rooms.