Drew Barrymore hates open-concept design, wants more ‘closed-concept’ living

Drew Barrymore has always been into renovating and interior design, but in recent years, her interest/hobby has become a bigger deal. She renovated a New York apartment on the Upper East Side and she showed a lot of the process on her social media and (I think?) on her talk show as well. Her apartment is finally done – a three-bedroom, three-bath home which she shares with her two daughters, two cats, two dogs and a bearded dragon. Drew showed off some of her apartment in Better Homes & Gardens, and she’s also shilling for her Walmart home line, Beautiful by Drew Barrymore – go here to see the full piece. Her interview with the magazine is pretty great too. Some highlights:

She hates recessed lights: “Recessed overhead lighting is not warm and it doesn’t make anyone look pretty. I feel like it gives me dark circles under my eyes and makes me feel like someone is tapping on my head.” Instead, she embraces sconces, hanging pendant lights, and flush mount fixtures that give off a diffused glow rather than a harsh, downward beam. “Lighting to me is a beautiful decorative art and you can find tons of cool stuff on salvage sites and in salvage stores. And if you go thrifting and flea marketing, which I love to do, you’ll almost always find amazing deals on lighting that will add personality to your space.”

No sharp edges: “Ever since I had children, I can’t bear to see a sharp edge in my space. I look at it and think, that corner could take out somebody’s eyeball!. Even my kitchen island has a soft edge. The minute I walked into that room for the first time I said, we need to sand that right down!”

No blackout curtains: “I hate blackout curtains. They make me feel claustrophobic and scared. I get really freaked out if I wake up in a hotel room in the morning and it is pitch black. If curtains are blackout, I always open them before I go to sleep—I’m up with the sun anyway—and at home I love nothing more than a sheer curtain in a pretty Indian blockprint.”

Stop doing everything open-concept: “I like the idea of what I call ‘closed-concept’ living. I want to start a movement. I don’t want anything to do with an open kitchen where everyone can see my dirty dishes during a dinner party! And I like the idea that you can have different design stories for different rooms. The pandemic really taught us that everyone in a house needs their own space—preferably with a door. And I’d rather have a bunch of tiny rooms than one big one.”

Screen time: “We watch a ton of movies and shows so I’m not judging anyone about screens. But when it comes to my kids, I’m not a huge fan of personal electronics, like iPads. During the pandemic when schools were virtual we were forced into all being on our separate devices and I didn’t like it. Now, I keep the iPads in a locked safe and they only come out for special occasions. I’d rather that the three of us all pile into my bed and watch together.”

[From Better Homes & Gardens]

I disagree with her about blackout curtains, but I’m also up with the sun (or earlier). Still, I love making my bedroom into a dark cave. Not every room needs to be sunny and bright. I’m with her on closed-concept though – some of those open-concept designs are lovely, but I would love for more people to understand that doors are not the enemy and it’s healthy to have dedicated spaces that are not for guests to see.

Cover & IGs courtesy of BH&G.

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58 Responses to “Drew Barrymore hates open-concept design, wants more ‘closed-concept’ living”

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  1. og bella says:

    Open concept also stinks for sound. Hard to watch TV and have someone cooking, banging pots and pans, blender going, etc…,

    • Lovely says:

      Who cares about this scabby nepoBaby?! She’s saying what she likes as an edict, for us plebs who don’t reside on Upper East Side to follow. I never liked her, her shtick is stale at this point. When she’ll stop being selfish and respect the picket line, then she’ll just go back to being a nepoBaby; for now, I couldn’t care less about what she likes, she should look in her UES mirror and barf!

    • Elizabeth Phillips says:

      I love open concept, but then I’ve always been the person forced off into the kitchen to cook and clean by myself while everyone else got to talk. That’s misery-making for me. I would love to have an open plan house where only the bedrooms and bathrooms are separate.

  2. robinathefirst says:

    Oof, the timing of this is just not great.

  3. deezee says:

    I’m not a huge fan of open concept either, specifically when it comes to the kitchen. I like to hide the potential mess of dirty dishes or soaps, wash rags, etc. behind a wall.
    I’ve been able to raise kids, and have parties perfectly fine without the kitchen being visible from the living room.

    • Megan says:

      I live in an open concept house and I don’t care if people see the dishes. Everyone knows I didn’t magic the food onto the plates.

      • JanetDR says:

        Same but my sink, stove and main counter are not in sight from the living room. Being able to see my wall of windows from the rest of the house is much more important to me, especially in the winter!

      • Sophia says:

        Easy for a rich person like Drew Barrymore to say because she probably has a massive house with a huge kitchen with large living and dining room areas. If my house wasn’t open concept I wouldn’t be able to have more than 4 ppl over for dinner at a time.

  4. Ameerah M says:

    I have blackout curtains but that is because I live in an apartment and my bedroom window faces a busy street. I don’t want people seeing my shadow when I am getting dressed or undressed! And I like them in the winter because they act as a thermal layer against the cold. Other than that – I agree with her. I hate pitch black rooms. I sleep with a night light on. Some people can only sleep in a pitch black room but I am the opposite. If it’s pitch black I will literally not be able to sleep. I’ve always been that way.
    And yes – I too love a closed door. Not everything needs to be open space.
    And also….her showing off her expensive home while being a scab and while her WGA staff is on strike struggling to pay their bills is…a CHOICE. I’m sure this was done before her choice to scab but the timing is terrible.

    • Kitten says:

      Yeah there’s a bit of privilege behind her hatred of blackout curtains. Those of us who have issues with sleeping or who live in small houses/apartments in densely-populated areas where your neighbor’s security light could be shining into your living room NEED them blackouts!! But I’m sure if you have a spacious, multi-million dollar three bed on the upper east side like Scab Barrymore you can just throw sheer curtains everywhere because why not.

      She’s absolutely right about the can lights though. Nobody looks good under those things.

      • Ameerah M says:

        @Kitten I’m confused, I’ve been to NYC. Even with a multi-million dollar home on the Upper East Side you’re still pretty close to people. It’s NYC. Unless she lived in Brooklyn her home isn’t THAT removed from everyone else. It sounds more to me like that she doesn’t CARE about people seeing into her home. And it also depends on where exactly her windows are. There is a LOT to criticize this woman for – especially right now. Her aversion to blackout curtains and linking it to privilege isn’t really one of them IMO.

    • anna says:

      I love my blackout curtains. Not so much in winter because then I always think I have more time to sleep, but in summer, definitely a necessity.

      That aside, the timing of this article is 😬😬😬😬

      • Ameerah M says:

        @Kitten I mean yes, but also, no lol? I wouldn’t say it’s a place of privilege necessarily. There are plenty of not rich people who live in areas that aren’t densely populated and vice versa.

      • Kitten says:

        Yes of course there are, but we’re specifically talking about NYC here. Most city dwellers do NOT live on the Upper East side or any comparatively rich-rich area in a similar cities. Wealth can–and often does–afford people the luxury of both space and privacy.
        That’s all I meant by my comment.

  5. daisyfly says:

    Design is always personal.

    That being said, scab says what.

    • Tara says:

      Thank you. That is the story that should be consistently reported on if covering her, not her design preferences shared as a puff piece to distract from the fact she is a scab…

      • Lady D says:

        No kidding. I like her but was mostly ambivalent about her, however she went from harmless to dislikable in record time.

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        @Lady D Wait until you read the article. She’s incredibly judgy about everything and she seems to think she invented closed concept home design.

        Before she scabbed I was neutral about her. After she scabbed I was disappointed with her decision. After reading this article I think she’s insufferable.

      • Kitten says:

        Yeah it’s so funny how the lens has changed completely.

        “I like mismatched pillows that feel collected rather than like a set,” she says.

        Before her mask came off, I would have said “yeah I agree. I hate matchy-matchy.” but now I’m all “Oh wow Drew you are soooooo inventive and unique. I’ve never seen anyone use mismatched pillows before. Shut up, you utter f*cking SCAB.”

      • Someone_Hears_a_Who says:

        @Kitten How long do you think the lead time is on print magazines? This print monthly magazine article would have been finished long before she needed to think of distractions from being a scab.

  6. MarineTheMachine says:

    I am with her on the close-concept. I moved into an open-concept apartment with my partner a couple of years ago because it looks nice. It’s been hard. Since the pandemic, I work from home in the same room I do all activities, cook and eat food. Can’t really enjoy a good movie because the lighting / sounds of the kitchen ruin it. Can’t wait to move in one of those old-school places with separate everything. I will miss the feeling of arriving into a big room with sunlight and that’s about it.

  7. BlueNailsBetty says:

    Drew is a scab. Helping promote her is gross.

    • Ameerah M says:

      I mean…this was done weeks maybe even months before. It was too late to scrap it. But it looks REALLY bad for her.

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        Actually, I was referring to it being promoted on this website. It seems in conflict with previous articles, writing, and the sentiments of most people on this website.

    • Kitten says:

      Think of it as an easy opportunity to pile on.

    • Kari says:

      BlueNailsBetty I am right there with ya. It feels gross to read about her home decor options while writers and actors are striking be able to keep their homes.

  8. Kate says:

    I’m sure her version of “closed concept” still involves super spacious individual rooms that don’t feel claustrophobic when there’s more than 2 people in them. Middle class embraced open concept to make their small homes feel bigger. I grew up middle class in the 80’s-90’s when everyone’s homes were classic colonial style and people still crowded into a kitchen during a party anyway so I think that’s why so many millennials were like hey why not make the kitchen comfortable to hang out in

    • Kitten says:

      Exactly. We have a tiny beach bungalow that is essentially open concept in the living/dining area because it has to be lol. Our kitchen is TINY but we still end up cramming in there when company comes over. I appreciate doors for bedrooms, offices, bathrooms (obvs) and other spaces where privacy is required but TBH we’ve been debating blowing out a wall in the “bonus room” just to make a bigger kitchen because it feels so claustrophobic. Ultimately, open concept is a great way to create a feeling of space when your house isn’t 5000 sf or whatever Drew’s is.

    • anna says:

      Open concept is great when you can afford it. I believe most of the advice about interior decorating open concept involves creating separation with rugs or dividers, etc.

      I like the idea of closed concept (easier to hide the mess in one room, and the sound and light quality tends to be better) but it also tends to make a space look really dark and small when you don’t have the kind of real estate Drew has.

    • Slush says:

      Very this. It depends on your lifestyle and the size of your space.

    • Lens says:

      A kitchen that opens up into a den or family room is my favorite. If you need to have a dining room (never used unless my turn for thanksgiving) or study/living room that’s up in the front 2 rooms. But having a separate from everything kitchen hasn’t been in home design since the 1970s. Now High end (or relatively) designs have a scullery or “dirty kitchen” to the side or back of the public facing kitchens. I’ve never been to a get together of any kind that hasn’t ended up in the kitchen so might as well make it your biggest space.

    • AnneL says:

      I grew up in a fairly large house that was built in the mid 19th century. It was a little down at the heels but it had character. The rooms weren’t huge but we had a living room, den, dining room, kitchen and breakfast room as well as a glassed-in porch. We all had our own bedrooms (four kids), though only one had a real closet. There was even a third floor with a playroom and storage.

      Where did I like to do my homework? At the kitchen counter.

      I think people just like to be in the kitchen. It’s like a hearth. Open concept makes sense because everyone is going to gather in the kitchen anyway, so why not make it feel spacious and not cramped or cut off?

      That said, I get what she’s saying about people having their own spaces. When I wanted/needed to I could go in my room, close the door, and read or do whatever I wanted in peace.

      • LynnInTx says:

        @AnneL Interesting. I grew up in a 1960s home, with a kitchen that was pretty separate from everything. We had all those things as well, except the porch. I mostly did my homework in my room, where I could shut the door and have quiet, or in the dining room if one of my parents was there. Again, shut the door and have quiet (and spread out all over the table).

        I (and my family) must be wired differently than everyone else because I’ve never experienced the “everyone gathers in the kitchen” thing. We’ve always gathered in the den. That’s our ‘hearth.’ I suppose that’s why open concept doesn’t make sense to me. For us, the kitchen is a working space, not a gathering space.

  9. Karen says:

    My husband says he’s waiting for the day when we are watching an HGTV flipping show and the designer walks in and says “oh my god, open concept, how dated! we need to put up some walls!”

  10. LynnInTx says:

    I agree with her about “open concept” (my current very middle class home is, and I hate it… give me walls!!!) and about recessed lighting (my other pet peeves are track lighting, which I also have right now and hate it, and gray paint). Hard disagree about blackout curtains. I can’t sleep with light coming in through the window, even through the (faux) wood blinds. Style is personal though. My BFF LOVES open concept and track lighting and recessed lights and can’t sleep without some sort of light. However, the no sharp corners thing and locking iPads in a safe is… different.

    All that said, she’s still a scab, and while I’m sure the mag had already sent this off to print when she scabbed, the timing is awful.

    • AnneL says:

      All of the newer builds where I live have recessed lighting. I don’t like it at all. The bulbs are a pain to change and it’s not….pretty, for lack of a better word. The best thing I can say about it is that it’s convenient.

  11. Lolalola says:

    Any interest I used to have for her is gone now that she is crossing the writers + actors picket line. #NotaFan #byedrew

  12. ML says:

    Gosh, doesn’t Drew have a whole bunch of side-hustles? She produces shows/ films. “… and she’s also shilling for her Walmart home line,…” And now this and a interior design hobby?? And she’s just crossed the line and become a scab so she can get even richer shilling her stuff??
    Personally I agree with everyone above who wrote that we shouldn’t be covering her and her side hustles (though I just responded).

    Drew is a scab.

  13. Jen says:

    I live in a small bungalow and my tiny bedroom gets too stuffy with a closed door, so my whole house has blackout curtains or blinds, not just the bedroom.

  14. H says:

    May I make a suggestion? Can we blackout coverage of scabby Drew until she’s no longer breaking the picket line? She’s promoting a bunch of stuff and using it to earn lots of money and doesn’t have writers and is harming everyone who is striking and those who are working on her show, because if I understand the rules, they may be ineligible for future union membership. She issued a non-apology and said she wishes there was something she could do to help the strike but she won’t cancel her show. This is incorrigible and anti-worker and anti-American. I would love for this blog not to help her enrich herself at the literal expense of American workers – and this affects all of us who work, not just those on strike.

    Even if not, I will not be clicking on a single article here even remotely about this woman. No one is getting any ad dollars off my clicks after this either LOL, just like she shouldn’t be getting ad dollars off of her scabbing.

    • Coco says:

      Not the fake tears and I’m the victim non-apology video. Drew is really is showing us who she really is and doubling down on it.

      I agree no more stories about this scab should be posted unless it’s about how she scabbing
      ( just to keep it fresh in our mind what type of person she is)

  15. Lynne says:

    Rly bad timing drew.
    Let’s hear about Hugh Jackman…..

  16. K says:

    Give me separate rooms so I can have moods in each one. I want a dark academia/Astral/ celestial goth bedroom, an industrial kitchen ,a coastal spa bathroom, and a cozy,warm living room with a huge fireplace and built ins. I don’t want a hollow barn with dreadful acoustics and concrete. My last name ain’t Kardashian.

  17. J says:

    I live in an open concept home and completely agree. I also hear different people’s televisions going and it is annoying.

  18. Saschafrom76 says:

    Why are you normalizing this scab?!

    • J says:

      Not everyone sees her that way.

    • Satish More says:


      Exactly. I’m not interested in reading or hearing a single thing about Barrymore other than what a scab she is and how she should be ASHAMED of herself.
      And how TONE DEAF is this article? Barrymore posing in her mansion, while 10s of 1000s of fellow SAG-AFRA are losing their homes or about to lose their homes, because they can’t make their rent and mortgages right now

  19. Satish More says:

    The ONLY conversations we should be having about Drew Barrymore right now, is that she’s a scab