A Functional and Stylish Kitchen in an Open Floor Plan

by Olga Alexandru

A Functional and Stylish Kitchen in an Open Floor Plan

Open plan kitchen and living space

Open floor plans are very popular, especially gaining popularity in the last few years. That should be no surprise since they have very tangible benefits, with spaciousness, lack of visual barriers, more light, and facilitated entertaining being just some of them. Still, they have their challenges too. How to functionally separate the kitchen from the living room when there are no walls dividing these two areas? How to give every zone its unique character without producing over-the-top eclectic designs? Those are all the questions we will try to answer in this article.

Mark the Zones with Area Rugs

If you are searching for a simple way to visually separate the kitchen, the living room and the dining room, you can use three area rugs. The biggest advantage in this way of zoning is that you are not using any vertical separators, meaning that you are not interrupting the floor’s airy and spacious feel.

This Is Where the Kitchen Starts


In most open floor plans, the kitchen starts where the island starts. If you don’t find this item to be especially striking or different from the rest of the space, you can use other details nearby, on, or above it to draw that line. The best way to do it is to hang a row of pendant fixtures above the kitchen island.

Different Lighting

Fixtures shouldn’t be the only thing that differs in open floor concepts, but the lighting itself should also vary. And while the dining area should have only one overhead fixture that focuses on the dining table, and the living room should have layered lighting (overhead, wall and floor lamps), the kitchen must have lighting in abundance. Special care should be devoted to task lights which should be directed toward the countertop, sink and stove.

Maximize Storage Capacity


One of the biggest challenges of a small open floor plan kitchen is the lack of storage. A wall that would divide the kitchen from the living room would probably solve that, but let’s not go down that road. There are plenty of other ways to maximize storage capacity – from full-height cupboards to a butcher’s block.

Create a Unified Style

The main design goal in an open floor plan is to create a multipurpose space that will still retain unified style. That can be done by installing the same flooring throughout the entire room. To make the entire floor plan even more pulled-together, consider using the same design collections for the living room and the dining room.

Unite with Colour


Colour can be a strong unifying element, but even if you use the same neutral shades (beige, grey, white) throughout the entire space, you will not create any strong visual impact. Instead, scatter one bright colour across the room – e.g. turquoise throw pillows on the living room sofa, turquoise bar stools in the kitchen and a turquoise vase on the dining room table.

Find an Orientation Focus

Joey from Friends once asked a lady “You don’t own a TV? What’s all your furniture pointed at?” Although his remark about the TV wasn’t quite true, he was right in thinking that the furniture should be pointed at something. Choose to orient your furniture towards the outdoors – a window, garden or a courtyard. Take this asset into account when you are positioning your dining table, sofa and kitchen elements.


A Seamless Transition

If you are an avid follower of interior design trends, perhaps you don’t even have to bother separating these zones. One of the biggest kitchen design trends for 2017 is precisely the invisible kitchen. This kitchen concept is all about hiding appliances and having the absolute minimum on display. This creates a very streamlined appearance that blends into the open floor concept.

An open concept kitchen is a world of open possibilities when it comes to interior design. The one limiting factor is adapting it to the rest of the room. However, that doesn’t have to be neither bad nor difficult. Every time you change something as simple as colour, you will get an entirely new space.

Author bio:

Zoe Clark is a journalist, freelance stylist and blogger. She is a visual storyteller and aesthetician by heart who often writes about decorating and DIY ideas. She loves sparking creativity in people and giving them ideas for their own spaces.

Image sources: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6

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