Andy Briggs, resident interior designer at Optiplan Kitchens, reveals how to get the most out of open-plan living in your kitchen.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and what was once a standalone room, has developed over the years to become an extension of the dining and living spaces. The possibilities that come with open-plan living are limitless and if well designed, the room will be used for years to come.
Here’s how to get the most out of open-plan living in your kitchen.
A Seamless Transition
A seamless flow throughout the room is key to achieving a relaxing and expansive atmosphere. By installing the same flooring throughout the cooking, dining and living area, you will create an uninterrupted flow. The illusion of a larger space is formed as visual breaks are eliminated and if you are feeling bold, this concept can also be applied to your garden. We are seeing a real trend towards matching the paving of indoor and outdoor flooring, which creates a continuous pathway through to the garden. Plus, when you add bi-folding doors that span the length of the room, your kitchen will flood with natural light. Even the smallest open-plan spaces can utilise natural light, especially through the use of a skylight.
Colour Me Beautiful
When deciding on the colour scheme for your kitchen, select a personal tone that can be built upon with highlights. Choosing a colour that doesn’t adhere to a specific ‘trend’ will ensure that your kitchen will have greater longevity. A ‘soft grey matte’ finish is a good base, as this can be accentuated with wooden textures or vibrant splashes of colour, that adds personality to the design. To connect to other parts of the room consider using the same shades of material throughout the kitchen and living furniture choices. Don’t be scared of going bold with your highlights, combining different materials adds depth to any space!
Functionality is Key
Whilst the open-plan living area should look striking, it’s imperative that the kitchen is functional and ergonomic. If it lacks practicality, then it will only frustrate you in the long run. Convenience is essential in this room! If you have space then add a kitchen island as this will enhance both the practical and social opportunities. Opt for an island with cooking appliances installed, as this will allow you to face the rest of the room whilst preparing meals. However, if the size of your kitchen cannot accommodate an island, then keep the dining table central to the room so people are still immersed in the space.
When designing an efficient layout, always incorporate the ‘work triangle’. The idea is to have a clear path between the cooker/oven, the fridge and the sink, so that they are easily accessible and not blocked by any obstacles. You want to be able to move freely and quickly between these appliances as this creates a more relaxed working space.
When it comes to storage, go for tall cabinets. These will not only accentuate the height of the room but from a functional perspective, it will allow you to store rarely used items at the top, with commonly used items at eye level. If you know you have a lot of items to store, then consider integrating a pantry. Or if you are a minimalist, be bold with open shelving to creatively display ornaments.
If you would like more advice on planning your dream kitchen and utilising your space, and to find your nearest showroom, visit www.optiplankitchens.com