Open-plan kitchens are the way forward in house design and we are big fans of them. We love how it brings the whole family together within a sociable space, also maximising the area making it feel so much bigger using every inch rather than having rooms that aren’t lived in.

However, there are some drawbacks in the design where toys could be sprawled across the kitchen floor, the smell of cooking lingering and the space always being too noisy (especially if you have a young family). In this blog, we will show you some great tips to create a fabulous open-plan kitchen that’s perfect for you and your family.

Room dividers

There are many ways to create room dividers in the kitchen space. Pocket doors or large internal glazed doors are beautiful ways to separate the different areas in an open-plan kitchen. They can be opened during the day and closed off in the evening when relaxing in the cosy lounge area.

Kitchen islands are another great room divider. They can be made to separate the main kitchen area to the dining/living spaces and house appliances and extra storage just like the one below in our Hatfield Broad Oak project.

This large island sits centrally amongst a brick pillar and wooden beam. It separates the main kitchen from the living and dining space and features an induction hob, mini prep sink and lots of storage.

Create raised levels

Create different levels with mezzanine floors to separate off the lounge/dining areas. You can still be sociable while enjoying the space but keeping the areas clearly defined. The best time to incorporate raised levels is whilst you are in the process of extending, so plan well in advance before any works start.

We are loving what our client created in their home in Golders Green, Barnet. They have created two mezzanine floors where one features the handmade kitchen and the other a dining room, both looking down on to a large living area. It is such a wonderful renovation, with the kitchen being separated into different zones but still allowing everyone to be in the same space.

Use different types of flooring

Using different types of flooring in open-plan spaces is a great way to define and add a sense of purpose to this type of living. The flooring can be split into zones, using different patterns, materials and colours that work well together.

One idea could be to keep the same material such as an oak floor but change the pattern, so from a straight oak plank to a herringbone design. Another idea could be to choose different types of floor such a tile in the kitchen, wooden planks in the large open-plan space and a carpet/rug in the lounge area. There are many options to choose from and changing the floor will add some individuality too bringing out your personality.

Below in our client’s home in Upminster, it showcases how open-plan kitchens can work so well by adding contrasting floors and different materials to the ground below. Our client opted for a traditional tile to flow around the L-shaped kitchen and a herringbone wooden design to fill the rest of the space. In the living area, a large rug was purchased to make it feel nice and cosy.

Position your furniture

Positioning your furniture carefully can create zones which stop the room feeling like one large space. Have a clear dining area, lounge and kitchen where your children will also love to use the space to play. Create a designated play area which can be segregated by a toy chest or a sofa. L-shaped sofas are also a great idea and work perfectly in this type of space.

Below in our client’s home in Billericay, the three areas have been defined perfectly with the positioning of the furniture. An island sits in front of the main run of units in the kitchen, with a dining table sitting in front of this and a sofa to the left with added furnishings such as cushions and a rug.

Soundproof the space

Soft furnishings such as rugs, curtains, throws and cushions will absorb a lot of the noise. Hard floors such as tiles will not really help to control the noise, so consider something softer such as vinyl, rubber or a carpet in the lounge area. Also, something to consider is what you will have on your walls and ceilings. Clad in some wood to give great texture and absorb the noise around.

Soft furnishings have been added to this kitchen design in Cuffley. A lovely cosy retreat to unwind in after a hard days work. The layering of cushions will do a great job in absorbing the noise.

Plan the lighting

With a well planned out lighting scheme will define the different areas and change the mood. Add spotlights to the kitchen area to make the space feel bright, also consider having cabinets lights too which can be put on in the evening to create a softer look.

Pendants are ideal to hang above a dining area to make it feel more formal and also creating a separate zone. The living space can be added with plenty of lamps to create more of a relaxing atmosphere in the evening.

Put the spotlights on 2-3 circuits so the whole living space doesn’t need to be lit up all at the same time.

Clever lighting has been installed into this grand space in Woodford Green. Our client built a huge extension onto the existing property and opened it up with a large glass roof and glass front. Three pendants have been suspended above the kitchen island and a very large pendant hangs above the dining table.

Add great extraction

When cooking in an open-plan space smells can linger into the evening. By having a good quality extraction fan and designing the hob and oven near a window will stop the smell of food spreading around the room. Try and position your cooking appliances far away from the lounge area to avoid the smell lingering when you are relaxing in the evening.

The extractor in this modern kitchen in Henham is the Wolf downdraft pop-up extractor. It is a robust and professional appliance that will eliminate smells and smoke perfectly. It is so effective in containing the cooking smells, the whole space will be instantly eliminated from any smells and smoke lingering.

If you would like to know more about creating the perfect open-plan space in the heart of the home contact us today – we look forward to hearing from you.