1. Size Doesn't Matter
1. Size Doesn't Matter (Image 1 of 17)
Open plan doesn't have to mean huge - a smaller room can include a dining and/or seating area too. Here are two very different kitchens, two very different approaches. In a large space, your island can be used for just about anything - preparation space, dining, storage. In a smaller room, like the kitchen above, it will almost certainly be a breakfast bar, and might be your only dining space, so position it carefully to make it a practical and sociable spot.
2. If You've Got Space, Use It Wisely
2. If You've Got Space, Use It Wisely (Image 2 of 17)
If yours is a large space, your layout options are endless. So, do you give all your extra space over to a large seating area, or a vast dining table-breakfast bar? The answer lies in how you will use your kitchen every day, whether this is your only reception room - and how many you have to seat for dinner. Before you plan, try to imagine how your family would use such a room - and try to project a few years ahead, too.
3. Zone Your Kitchen
3. Zone Your Kitchen (Image 3 of 17)
For an open plan kitchen to work successfully, it needs zoning. In other words, the different areas of the room need defining. For this to be successful, you need physical divides between each area. This can be achieved with a breakfast bar, dividing the kitchen off with something as simple as different flooring, or using lighting to highlight a dining area, for example.
4. Keep Decor Simple
4. Keep Decor Simple (Image 4 of 17)
Simplicity is the key. If you over-clutter a kitchen diner, it will end up looking messy and crowded. Keep decor restrained, colours muted, worksurfaces clean and neat, and furnishings simple. As for units, go for streamlined designs and plain but stylish looks.
5. Hide It Away
5. Hide It Away (Image 5 of 17)
An open plan kitchen more than any other needs to be tidy, so if you can't keep your shelves and open-cupboards neat, hide them away. By that we mean that the appliances should be integrated, the units perhaps even handle-free, and work surfaces as clear as can be. Indulge in large pull-out larders to store everything you need regularly and to free up worktops.
6. Go For Free-Standing Furniture
6. Go For Free-Standing Furniture (Image 6 of 17)
The open plan kitchen is the one place where you can indulge in free-standing furniture without having to worry about whether it will fit. The upside? If you keep your plumbing and main electrics and gas supply to the side walls, your kitchen island can become a moveable feast - handy if you have a party or want to upgrade or add to it in the future.