• Deb Reardon

A guide to free flowing open plan Home & Kitchen Design

Updated: Apr 6

Image of Designers Planning your new Kitchen

Open plan living is high on many homeowners wish lists when they’re building or renovating.

Not only does an open space provide plenty of room for entertaining guests (without relegating yourself to the kitchen), but open plan also feels incredibly spacious, airier and more welcoming.

However, the open plan style does come with its challenges, and there are some key things to consider before you launch into your Kitchen renovation or new home build.

Here, we’ll talk through some of the most important tips for designing an open plan kitchen & Lounge.

Free flowing Kitchen space:

Even though you’re planning for an open layout, you don’t want your Kitchen space to be too free flowing, or you might find yourself tripping over pets & family members!

Orient your kitchen layout so the flow of traffic does not need to pass through your kitchen to get outside, or other parts of your home. This takes a little thought around where to place & orient the walls, windows & breakfast bar, especially in Galley Kitchens.

You may need to get a little creative early on with your home design and plan the location of windows and doors to the outside entertaining areas, to make sure your kitchen does become the pathway to outside, or to prevent your kitchen space, being used by your pets, family & guests on their way to other parts of your home.

Hiding the mess:

Open plan homes & Kitchens really benefit from a scullery, otherwise known as a butler’s pantry, either built into behind the main kitchen or to the side, discreetly placed to be mostly shielded from the eye.

This way preparation and dirty dishes are out of sight, until it's time to deal with them.

If you don’t have room for a scullery then the placement of your food preparation and clean up areas need to be carefully thought through, and consider placing the sink & food preparation area, set to one end of a breakfast bar, so to contain the mess to designated area, as opposed to placing the sink in the center of the breakfast bar & allowing mess to spread in both directions.

Or consider a Kitchen design featuring a decorative upstand area, attractively shielding the sink & food prep area, while leaving the rest of the breakfast bar free of clutter.

Keeping the Kitchen free of clutter:

It’s important you maintain clear distinction between your kitchen, dining area and living room.

This keeps everything from blending into one and becoming too chaotic.

Car keys & Mail need to have a specific planned location away, from the kitchen and whether this is a specially designed custom made or sourced desk area for this type of clutter or a Hallway table or

maybe incorporate into your kitchen design a custom-made small office area, cleverly built behind doors adjacent & blending into the kitchen, where every day bills, keys and clutter can reside, until it's time to deal with it, again talking to your builder and Kitchen Designer early on in your Kitchen project on can facilitate these types of discreet cupboards, or utilise a nook or cranny into a handy area to hide away everyday clutter.

Keeping the kitchen area separate:

Wood, tiles or a differing flooring in & around your new kitchen helps keeping a Kitchen visually separate.

Make sure you don’t lay carpet up to or even near a breakfast bar, not only is this an old fashion look that will destroy your open plan atheistic, but the flooring under a breakfast bar needs to be of a surface that can be cleaned easily.

If you have the same flooring through your open plan kitchen, dining & lounge areas use rugs and mats to create defined zones – a high-pile rug in the living room space shows that it’s clearly different from your kitchen.

Play with shape and layout: placing a chaise lounge between your living and dining rooms creates a visual barrier.

Install a half-wall, partition or custom-made bookcase to section of areas, while adding interesting (and functional) elements.

A cohesive look and feel:

While you want to have distinct spaces for living, eating and cooking, you also want to create a design scheme that flows across the room. Put simply, each area should look like it’s coming from the same palette.

Decide on a theme and colour options and stick to them across your space.

That way, although your large room is divided into several areas it will never feel like anything’s an awkward add-on.

Plan your space to create room:

When planning your layout, think about how you’re likely to move through the space. If you’re an outdoor entertainer, position your dining or living areas near the door to the backyard so you and your guests can easily go from indoors to outside. Putting your kitchen next to your dining area means you’ll be able to serve your guests quickly – and it also means people can relax in the living area without hearing as much noise from the kitchen.

It’s well worth the time, to get your Kitchen designer, involved early on in your next project, to ensure you have ticked all the boxes and your Kitchen renovation or new home build look & Function matches that of your dreams.

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