An open-plan kitchen suits today's informal lifestyles, providing a natural hub for the home and greater sociability during cooking and prepping. But it takes skill to design a space that integrates easily with the living area, especially in apartments and smaller homes. Clever zoning, sound control and a cohesive decorating approach are all key factors. Open-plan living has become part of our everyday lives. From a home office within a living room to a kitchen-diner, these spaces should be well designed and able to utilise the best of the overall room in their function. Clever decorating and styling ideas will keep each area looking separate but seamless. Sound complicated? Well, fear not, as we have compiled our top five tips for making the most of your open-plan space, without breaking the bank.
Island kitchen layout. What is it? Probably the most popular kitchen element of recent years, an island sits in the centre of a room, with worktops on the surrounding walls. If the space is large enough, an island unit provides a multifunctional space that can work as somewhere to cook, prep, eat and entertain. It can act as a ‘bridge', cutting down on leg work between workstations, and, in a large room, it makes the most of unused space. Consider incorporating a hob and sink as well as a dishwasher, wine cooler and recycling bin. There should be plenty of room left over for decent storage, too. Make sure there's at least one metre between the island and all the cabinetry surrounding it, so that you can open all doors and drawers.
Extend a worktop to form a worktop-level breakfast bar and the third side of a U-shaped kitchen. Like a peninsula, a breakfast bar can extend a kitchen space out into the centre of a room, free from any walls. Integrate kitchen and living areas with the use of a single floor treatment and by introducing elements of kitchen storage outside the boundaries of the kitchen. Here open shelves store a collection of wine and water glasses. Even a long narrow space can be home to a U-shaped kitchen: just fit one or two units at right angles at each end of your main bank of storage. This forms a very shallow U shape, but a U shape nonetheless and it's a design that defines the practical kitchen area from the wider eating and entertaining area beyond. The play of hi-gloss cabinet fronts and veneer carcases helps to further define this division. In this U-shaped kitchen, a wide window is the central anchor point of the scheme, filling the space with light and showing off matt-finish units, rich wood and glazed tiles in their best light. The use of wood finishes on the floor and worktops brings a warmth and cosiness to an otherwise pale decorating scheme and adds a rustic edge.
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