Open-plan kitchens provide a great deal of flexibility and versatility for your living space to suit a modern lifestyle.
The kitchen can fulfil many different roles, not just a place to prepare food. Open-plan kitchens lend themselves to being a natural hub of the home as it encourages a blend between the kitchen and the living and dining space. This leads to a more sociable atmosphere in the home and can be especially great for families or co-living set-ups.
Not only that, open-plan kitchens can fit in perfectly to smaller homes and apartments as it is a skilled way of seamlessly integrating different spaces of the home whilst freeing up space. This relies on a smart design which can give way for clever zoning.
1. Different Flooring for a Different Space
Flooring is an easy and stylish way to create two distinct spaces in an open-plan design. Think about functionality as well. For example, the type of flooring that you will want in the kitchen is not necessarily what you would want for your living area.
In the kitchen, you might prefer something that is easy to clean and highly functional, like a vinyl floor. For a living space, your priority might instead be something that creates more warmth. Whatever you choose, make sure that the two flooring materials complement each other well. A common choice is a patterned flooring for the kitchen with a neutral wooden floor or carpet for the living space.
2. Functionality is Key
Although a key benefit of an open-plan living space is the aesthetics, the design needs to also be functional and ergonomic. Kitchen islands or breakfast bars are a good way of doing this. Not only do they act as a natural divider between the distinct areas, they also maximise kitchen space. They can also enhance both practicality and sociability.
A kitchen island with appliances pre-installed will allow whoever is in the kitchen to face the rest of the living space whilst simultaneously getting on with everything they need to do in the kitchen.
Additionally, having a logical and functional kitchen set-up including easy access between the fridge, the sink and the oven, will help increase the functionality of the space. Easy access between different spaces will help to create a more relaxed working space free of obstruction.
3 . Work with a Minimalist Colour Palette
Choosing a neutral or minimalist colour scheme will help make sure that your design is timeless and acts as a great base for your open-plan space. It also helps to ensure that there is continuity between the different spaces. This will act as a good base from which to build upon. You can use colours, textures and accessories to add a touch of personality to the spaces and give them a distinct feel.
4. Plan with Clever Zoning in Mind
Before undergoing your open-plan design, think about where you want people to be seated while you cook and also where you will want to eat. Also think about the function of the living area – will it be purely for relaxing or will it serve as a dining room or a home office? This will help you plan. For example, seating such as breakfast bars will need to be near enough the cooking space to facilitate easy conversation, yet far enough from any home office space so as not to distract. Dining areas need to be close to the kitchen to minimise the journey between the two spaces.
5. Create Flow with Lighting
Open-plan spaces tend to naturally have a great sense of flow as there is nothing to obstruct light or views. Lighting and design will play a key part in creating this sense of flow. Opt for something that will create continuity and contribute to an illusion of having a larger space. Skylights that run between the two spaces can be a good way to do this as well as colour scheme and style aesthetic.
Take advantage of natural light sources such as large windows or French doors. Also use spot lights, under counter or under cabinet lights and floor lamps to create different lighting rooms and set-ups throughout the space.
6. Choose Appliances Carefully
Appliances take on an increased importance with an open plan design as they have the potential to affect the entire space. When choosing kitchen appliances, think carefully about smells and noises. For example, with smells make sure that you have an extractor fan or cooker hood. This will help to remove strong smells and steam which will protect the rest of your open-plan space from odours and condensation.
Another thing to factor in is how much noise the appliances will make as this will disrupt the rest of the space and can impact the sociable nature of the open-plan areas. Experts suggest choosing appliances and white goods with decibel levels lower than 39dB. If there is the potential to do so, try and move very noisy appliances such as a washing machine to a designated utility room.
7. Implement Curved Shapes
Curved designs passively encourage traffic and are a good way to introduce the flow you want to create. Not only that, but in multi-purpose spaces, they ensure that there are no sharp edges or danger spots. You can think about the design you want so that the curved design can subtly indicate seating areas to guests and family members.
8 . Smart Storage Solutions
Opting for smart storage solutions can help you free up space and declutter your open-plan living areas. Tall cabinets can help make the space appear taller and also allow you to prioritise your most used items to be on lower shelves. Pantries or integrated storage spaces will help you have designated areas for different items. Open-shelving can also be an attractive way to showcase your favourite items or appliances.