A spacious open floor plan with elegant design elements, pops of color, and plenty of natural light, is a Pinterest dream come true. It’s the pinnacle of modern interior design. It allows you to make your home feel more comfortable and inviting.
However, before you start tearing down the interior walls and reimagining your living room and kitchen areas, you need to take a moment to develop a comprehensive plan. Although it seems counterintuitive, it’s much harder to design an open rather than closed-plan space, so you’ll need to consider it carefully. There’s always the risk of making it feel too empty, disconnected, or simply too odd.
Check out some of the top tips to help you create the perfect open-plan living room with a kitchen.
An open-plan design is a floor plan that combines two or more separate rooms into a single space. Rooms such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen that would traditionally be separated by floor-to-ceiling walls and doors get turned into sprawling areas ideal for socializing and spending quality family time together with your loved ones.
Of course, an open concept doesn’t necessarily mean that there are no barriers between rooms. It simply means that there are no permanent, floor-to-ceiling ones. Half-walls between the kitchen and the living room still fall under the category of open-plan. So do mobile screen dividers, glass partitions, and room divider curtains.
There are plenty of reasons why creating an open concept living room with a kitchen can be an excellent idea. You can continue interacting with friends and family or keep an eye on the kids while making dinner. You can enjoy greater space utilization, more flexibility, and better traffic flow. Perhaps most importantly, you can increase the value of your property – open plans add 7.4%, on average, to the value of your home.
You’ll need to keep in mind that there are a few disadvantages, as well. You won’t have as much privacy as you might want, the smells from the kitchen will easily spread to every corner of the space, and you’ll find it more difficult (and more expensive) to heat and cool your home. Still, an open concept floor plan can be well worth it.
When creating an open floor plan, it's generally the best idea to start with the kitchen. Kitchen remodeling gigs can be challenging in and of themselves but become especially so when you have to think about how it will all fit together with the dining and living rooms.
That’s why it’s in your best interest to keep the kitchen design simple. Adding too many different colors, textures, and focal points will make creating a unified flow and a comprehensive interior rather challenging.
If you go for bright walls in the kitchen, make the cupboards and countertops simple. If you find fun, colorful tiles, keep everything else monotone. Simpler kitchens can help you keep the entire space looking cleaner and more modern.
The idea behind the open concept is to allow for a streamlined, free-flowing interior design. However, you’ll still want to create the illusion of separate, distinct spaces. Otherwise, the whole design would look awkward.
Fortunately, creating different zones with distinct purposes is easy – all you have to do is play with colors, textures, and materials.
The simplest way to “separate” the zones is by using different (but complementary) paint and wallpapers. A warm, earth-toned living room with a white kitchen looks elegant and modern. A minty kitchen with a deeper pastel green living room is fun and vibrant. Don’t be afraid to let your imagination run free and create unique zones with a fresh coat of paint.
You can also separate the zones with rugs, varying floor materials, or different textures – soft, plush materials in the living room and harder, more industrial materials in the kitchen and dining room.
The next step is to ensure that the space is logical, which means space planning. You don’t want to end up with a guest bed by the trash can, inaccessible chairs in the dining room, or a fridge in front of a big window.
The simplest way to avoid such issues is by drawing a simple sketch. Start with creating the floorplan and adding all the fixed elements – walls, doors, stairs, and kitchen cabinets if you aren’t planning on changing them. Then, start playing around with different options – change the position or direction of the living room, think about where the dining room will be, and consider where you want to place your bookshelves, plants, console tables, and more.
Make sure that every corner is accessible and practical – you don’t want to have to jump over the couch to reach your favorite armchair.
The main reason why open-plan concepts became so popular is that they make your home brighter. Even with smaller windows, you’ll let in more natural light into your kitchen and living room by tearing down the walls that separate them.
If you’re creating separate zones with partitions, go for glass partitions that let all the light shine through. If you need some more light, place a few strategic mirrors – as a bonus, they’ll make the space seem even bigger. Use pendant lighting for a more modern feel, and don’t forget to add a few floor lamps that can help you create a more private atmosphere.
The biggest issue with open floor plans is that they can make the space feel empty. Therefore, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure that the space feels warm and cozy. After all, you’ll likely be spending the majority of your time there, so it’s essential that you feel comfortable.
If you have a very large space, you’ll want to add as many natural elements as you can – wooden floors and furniture, brick accent walls, indoor plants, and more. Use darker, warmer colors to make the rooms seem more intimate. Add rugs, curtains, decorative pillows, and throw blankets – they work wonders for adding warmth to the space.
An open concept floor plan can be somewhat challenging to create. But if you do it right, you’ll make your house feel like home. Consult a designer, and create a spacious room that feels warm and cozy and that helps you maximize the use of the space you have available.