Open-plan living is all the rage, and it's easy to see why; sociable, light, and an instant space where all the family can be together.

So if you currently have adjacent but separate kitchen and dining rooms, then creating one big kitchen-diner/family room will seem like a great way to enhance your home.

But be warned, it's not simply a case of getting out your sledgehammer and letting the wall have it...

The first thing to establish is what sort of wall it is. Both stud-partition walls and partition walls are often straightforward to remove, while main supporting walls aren’t. The main thing to check is whether the wall holds up anything else.

Load-bearing walls should never be taken down without adding appropriate support. This must be checked and signed off by a building control officer from your local council. Even removing non-load-bearing walls could be of concern.

To determine if a wall is holding something up, there are various things you can look at - the floor and ceiling joists and if there's anything above - go to for more information.

If you're still not sure which sort of wall it is, always consult a structural engineer.

You shouldn't require planning permission to remove an internal wall in a freehold, non-listed property.But you may need to consult adjoining neighbours if it affects a shared wall.

As well as taking down the wall, there is other work involved in going open-plan which can be easy to overlook.

You may have to replace flooring, replaster and repaint. In some cases radiators, pipework, sockets may need moving.

All this can be a lot of work and expense, but if open-plan is your dream, there's no reason you can't make it come true.