With no walls to obstruct light or views, open-plan spaces usually have a great sense of flow. But large rooms demand just as much care in the planning as small spaces. The working part of the kitchen in particular needs to function ergonomically. Where possible, adhere to the classic work triangle between sink, fridge and hob to cut down on footwork, using an island to help shorten these distances where necessary. White hi-gloss units work perfectly in this modern open-plan, monochrome scheme. When it comes to style, built-in stainless-steel appliances have a professional look, while fully integrated models are concealed behind matching cabinet doors for a streamlined effect. Consider noise levels and looks when choosing appliances, and look for appliances with decibel levels under 39dB. Keep worktops clear and hide clutter away with clever storage solutions.
For a show-stopping centrepiece look to luxury materials, from deeply veined marble and mottled granites to exotic timber veneers and gleaming mirrored glass or burnished metal. There's a trend towards more textured materials, think raw or rough-sawn wood, honed or flamed stone tops, as well as a contrast of colour or finish between the island and the rest of the kitchen. And don't forget kitchen island lighting – it can turn a good-looking unit into a showstopper of a kitchen centrepiece. Want more design inspiration? Take a look at these showstopping kitchen ideas and our pick of the best kitchen storage ideas Almost all kitchen islands incorporate seating – even the smallest space can usually accommodate an overhang of worktop and a pair of bar stools, although more of us are opting for long kitchen islands with integrated low-level, table-style seating at one end.
Choose your finishing touches. Make your kitchen feel more coherent by subtly linking finishes – pair a timber breakfast bar with wooden stools, for instance, or upholster the seats with fabric that ties in with your splashback. Little details, such as cabinetry handles, can make a big difference and transform a simple white scheme. Rather than buying everything from the same supplier, source furnishings and accessories from a variety of places, and mix things up to create an individual look. Unusual objects picked up on your travels or gorgeous vintage finds will all help to create a more homely and characterful environment. The right design will create an efficient space that's safe and comfortable for all the family .They may be built for cooking, but today's kitchens are often designed with so much more in mind. Depending on the size of your room, you might want to combine cooking and prep areas with dining and living zones all in one open-plan space. That's why it's so crucial to get to know the most common kitchen layouts and pick the right one for your space.
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