Some people love open-plan living. It can make your home look like it has more space, and even make it easier to spend time together as a family. Personally, I do like open-plan homes, but I think you have to make it work. If you get it wrong, it can look messy and chaotic, which is no good. Most people don't live in entirely open-plan homes unless you have a studio apartment or a loft. But many people have one space for their kitchen and dining room, and even living room. Making a kitchen-diner work can be hard. But I have some excellent inspiration to make yours stand out.
Use Zonal Lighting
The lighting you choose will have an enormous impact on the appearance of your kitchen-diner. Separating the room into zones can help to create a distinction between each area. Lighting helps with this if you can get it right. You should think about the purpose of the different types of light you use. In the kitchen, you need practical lights so that you can see while you're cooking. The dining space might require something more ambient to create a relaxed space. I love the idea of having low-hanging pendant lights over a dining table, island or breakfast bar. It marks the area out as a space for people to sit and separates it from the rest of the room.
Install Kitchen Extraction
Cooking in an open-plan space can be a bit of a nightmare when it comes to containing odours. Cooking smells can get into soft furnishings and linger for a long time. Having extraction in the kitchen is essential if you want to minimise this. It's also ideal for helping to reduce condensation, so you get more than one benefit. If you don't already have a cooker hood, you should consider installing one. It's worth it to improve your living space. You can even get one with an intensive power setting to help reduce odours quickly.
Create a Clear Divide Between Zones
Even if you want to have one cohesive space, you still need each area to have its own purpose. Separating each zone can be more for your sanity rather than the look of the room. You can move more easily from one activity to the next and create more of a disconnect between different things. You don't want to be thinking about the dishes you have to do while you're eating dinner. Thinking about your layout will help you to begin creating separate zones. Consider your furniture placement and where to put different types of lighting.
Make a Decision on Flooring
Your floors can also be used to create zones in your open-plan space. You can decide to have different areas raised or lowered so you have to step up into the kitchen or dining area. A lot of open-plan spaces use different flooring for the different parts of the space. For example, some might have a hardwood floor in the dining room but vinyl in the kitchen. Another option is to have the same floor throughout to create more of a unified space. You can still have your zones, but it also makes the room flow a bit more.
Focus on Storage
In an open-plan space, it's easy for clutter to take over everywhere. It can gather on your kitchen surfaces and the dining room table. So having plenty of storage will help you to keep it under control. Start in the kitchen, and think about storing everything smartly. Not only do you have food and pots and pans, but you probably have appliances too. These can clutter up the worksurfaces and leave you with no space for cooking. If you can, try to have a cupboard just for storing appliances, and keep them to a minimum. Put as much as you can away in cupboards, drawers and racks, instead of having it out.
Keep the Table Made
When you look at smart real estate photos of kitchen-diners, they often have the table set. It might make it look a bit staged, but it can be a great way to emphasise your dining zone. Select some quality linen tablecloths, napkins, cutlery and plates to keep on the table. If you don't want to lay everything out, just have some things in the centre, like a vase or even a container of cutlery. It can also help to prevent clutter building up on the table. You can stop everyone using it for other purposes, from homework to oiling pieces of their bike.
Open Out into the Garden
If you have a garden, it's an excellent idea to connect it to the interior. On warmer days, you can open it up and have more living space. You could use it for parties and other social gatherings. If you don't already have a door leading directly outside, you can put one in. French doors are ideal because they also let in plenty of natural light. Outside, you could have a patio with an extra dining space so you can eat out there in the summer. Bring the outside in too, by adding some plants to your interiors.
Keep Things Quiet
When you have an open-plan space, the noise from each zone can carry into other areas. So you need to find ways of keeping it down. Start in the kitchen by choosing quiet appliances. Even a loud kettle can be disturbing if someone is trying to watch TV or have a conversation. Consider the placement of things like speakers and TVs so that the sound doesn't carry through the whole space. Of course, you might want it to. You should also think about the ways you can soundproof. For example, you can put down rugs to deal with the sound of people walking. It's even more important if you live in an apartment with downstairs neighbours.
Making an open-plan living space work takes some effort, but I think you can make them look and feel fantastic. Just put some thought into how you want it all to flow together!
I'd love to know your thoughts on these tips, or if you have some of your own! Drop me a comment below.
Stay safe, x
*This is a collaborative post*