Open-concept kitchens and floor plans are on trend these days and for good reason. Perhaps it’s the rising price of homes, their shrinking size, or the way we live in them that has inspired the wall-less layout. I suspect it’s a bit of all three. Doing away with walls and halls allows us to maximize every inch of living space, which is key if you’re light on square footage. Regardless of the size of your home, an open-concept floor plan is preferred for the casual, family-friendly atmosphere it encourages.
When it comes to design and decor, the wall-less layout also means your home must have good visual flow and continuity throughout. Most kitchens see a lot of action on a daily basis, beyond cooking and eating. Especially in an open-concept layout, the kitchen often doubles as an entertaining area, a conversation zone, a homework centre, a home office, and more. In addition, your kitchen will be visible from every other area – the front entrance, the living room sofa, the dining table/office space, so make sure you like what you see.
Here are some of my fave tricks of the trade for a fab open-concept kitchen, from every angle!
1. Use a cohesive colour palette throughout the whole open space.
Remember: unobstructed sightlines mean your kitchen will be visible from many different points, like the front entrance, living and dining area. The colours you select should complement one another. This continuity will also apply to your decorating style. For example, if you’re taking the “contemporary” route, commit to this style throughout the open area to create an overall sense of harmony.
2. Continue the same flooring in living areas and through the kitchen.
Eliminating that visual break between tile and carpet and hardwood will blur the boundary between different areas, making them seem larger. If you’re partial to hardwood, you’re in luck. Wood floors have a wonderfully warm, welcoming and homey quality to them, and they’ve gained popularity in kitchen applications thanks to advances in durability and cleanability.
3. Consider a hefty centre island to take you from the living area to the kitchen without skipping a beat, visually and functionally.
The island will serve as a large food prep area, entertaining and dining space, eliminating the need for a dining table and chairs, and freeing up valuable space for other essentials. In this kitchen, I incorporated a Kohler chef’s sink in the island – a must-have for the chef at home.
4. Let your kitchen take centre stage in your open floor plan.
For this renovation, my clients did not want a formal dining space, but instead, they had big goals for a high-performance and outstanding kitchen. Like art in your living room or that Murano glass chandelier dangling above the dining table, choose an element for your kitchen and make it the star of the show. It could be the island, the range hood, of another element that you really love. In this kitchen, the statement piece is definitely the marble slab feature wall. Love it!
The kitchen has always been the hub of the home, regardless of its size, or style, or layout. With the advent of the open-concept home, this once-utilitarian space has become a showpiece to be used, loved and admired.
Kate Davidson is the founder and principal designer of Kate + Co Design. For more than a decade the multidisciplinary interior design firm has been providing complete residential and commercial design services throughout North America. Kate + Co is known for creating luxurious livable interiors. For more visit www.kateandcodesign.com and @kateandcodesigninc