When it comes to living spaces, home design has evolved from having separate rooms to a more integrated approach to kitchen designs and living areas. Segregating living spaces made sense to conserve heat or retain privacy, but modern open-plan design has developed many solutions to these age old problems, balancing style and practicality.
An integrated space can be subtly zoned with furniture, flooring, colors, lighting, and even the textures you use. Implementing zones for cooking, dining, relaxation, and more maintains the structure of your design and encourages flow between areas. The kitchen is the star of an open-plan design, serving as a place to both entertain and cook. Zoning areas also makes a large space less overwhelming.
Integrating kitchen and living areas means you can be involved in a party as you prepare food or watch over your kids during the day as you multitask. Integrated living gives families the versatility they need, which is the reason for its success. Modern design techniques, like effective sound control and underfloor heating, ensure that your kitchen and living area perform to a high standard. Cohesive styling ensures that your design blends seamlessly for the ultimate in form and function.
Read on for the best design tips to effectively integrate kitchen and living room styles, creating a first-floor layout where you will love to spend time with family and friends.
Establish Your Floor Plan
Before you can decide on a style for your open-plan kitchen and living area, you need to figure out a floor plan that works for the space. A kitchen design expert can help you define your requirements, establish what would suit your needs, and turn this into a cohesive plan for updating your home. They can draw up a plan with you and work with you from concept through to installation.
In the planning stage, decide on existing features you want to keep and then add what you would like to include to enhance your lifestyle. Would you like a custom section of partition wall to hold an open fire or bookcase? Pocket doors are useful to slide across when privacy is needed and still maintain an open layout, while glass doors can be closed but still let light through. A kitchen peninsula with seating that leads into the living area is a seamless way to link the two areas. In a spacious open-plan kitchen design layout, a large island or an L-shaped island can effectively delineate key areas of your design. A screen of plants or a distinction between flooring is another way to segregate areas but ensure that a good flow is maintained between your integrated spaces.
Look at Styles
Your open-plan kitchen and living area have different functions but need to be integrated in a way that is seamless and stylish. Examine different design styles and choose one that you like and would work well in your home. Create symmetry throughout your first-floor design by introducing structure and mirroring themes in different areas. This also brings cohesion to your key living areas and gives your first-floor design a sense of being grounded. For example:
- A style such as Mid Century Modern has strong, clean lines that will work throughout your design.
- A contemporary style kitchen could have curved edge countertops that you then can pick up in the lines of your living room’s furniture. Curved edges also promote flow throughout your design.
- An industrial look could use minimalist metal bar stools that could be echoed in a lighting fixture in the living area. Exposed brickwork in this style could be also used in both spaces.
Use the characteristics of your chosen style throughout different elements of your design to create symmetry and avoid a disjointed, confusing design aesthetic. There are many ways to achieve this. For example, a repeated pattern motif is a subtle and chic way to unify your open-plan first floor remodel. If you accessorize with simplicity, then it’s easier to introduce symmetry and to change your style whenever you choose.
Another option is to select different design styles for each space, which adds interest and helps to differentiate key living spaces. Make sure your chosen styles do not jar with each other and unify the spaces in other ways through your choice of color scheme, patterns, metallic fixtures, or accessories.
Decide on a Color Palette
After you’ve planned your layout and chosen a style you like, think about color. An open concept design should have personality and characterize each space. Color is the perfect way to define areas and subtly link them together. The right color scheme provides structure and encourages flow along with injecting your own personal taste. Choosing similar or complementary colors creates a sense of unity between the kitchen design and living space. There are many ways to achieve this to create a unified first floor home design.
Define specific areas with a statement rug or bold feature wall. You can paint arches or doorways for a strong color blocked look to emphasize the start and finish of each zone. A color scheme can also signify the function of an area. Rooms could contrast in shade but blend tonally for a unified aesthetic. Maybe you’d like dark colors to cocoon your living area and a bright, light feel to your kitchen. You could use the same color for all areas, sticking to an elegant neutral palette. Place pops of color around your open plan design to unify it and eliminate blandness.
Choose The Right Flooring
Selecting flooring for an open plan kitchen, dining, and living area is tricky, but there are many stylish and durable options that will enhance your home. When considering flooring for this busy part of your home, remember that flooring that is suitable for your living area might not be durable enough for your kitchen. Also, if you want waterproof material for your kitchen, it could feel too functional for an area you relax in. Flooring should be low maintenance and long-lasting and something that you can live with in each part of your integrated space.
One way to approach this is to mix flooring materials to segregate spaces and increase functionality. Your chosen flooring materials should complement each other to keep a flow throughout your design. Consider combinations such as neutral vinyl with natural stone or wood, or slate tiles paired with dark laminate. Parquet, tiles, or graphic printed rugs work well in styles with strong lines. Rugs also soften a look, and dull sound and create a focal point.
Another option is to choose one flooring material and use it throughout your first floor design to give it a truly cohesive look and feel. Unlike a bathroom design, it is possible to install hardwood flooring in a kitchen design. Make sure you understand the limitations and ongoing maintenance requirements of your chosen flooring material. Hardwood can warp so it’s important to clean up spills right away. It can also scratch and dent in high-traffic areas, but these imperfections become part of its charm. Best of all, hardwood can be refinished multiple times to update its look. Alternatively, go for Luxury Vinyl Plank, which offers the look of hardwood in a moisture-proof, durable, easy-to-maintain surface. The latest innovations in LVP mean it can closely imitate the look and feel of hardwood.
There are plenty of flooring options available, meaning you won’t have to sacrifice style or lose cohesion in your integrated design.
Plan a Layered Lighting Scheme
Natural light is the best way to brighten a space. Include as many windows as possible in your remodel to flood it with light during daylight hours. If possible, position your kitchen table near a window or place a seating area by the window in your living room. If you are planning on incorporating dividing doors between your kitchen and living room, consider having glass in them to let light flood the space.
Create a layered lighting scheme to provide different types of lighting when needed and to differentiate areas within your open plan design. Dimmer switches adjust the level of lighting in any part of the space to set the mood. Design your layered lighting scheme to focus on specific parts of your design at any one time. Depending on the layout of your first floor, different light fixtures can serve to illuminate more than one area. Light up your outdoor spaces too to create a smooth flow from indoor to outdoor dining and entertainment areas.. Floor lamps, sconces, or pendant lights can work well in any part of an integrated design as long as they complement the style of the room.
Integrate your kitchen and living room even more by using texture to link the spaces. It offers so much choice and can be used to define areas as well as unify your overall design. Using texture is especially good to add depth to a neutral color palette. Organic materials such as rattan can be used in storage containers on open shelves or in pantries. Dining room table decor such as linen can be reflected in a lampshade in a living area, or your countertop material can emulate your fireplace surround. The sedate feeling of living room decor can often feel disconnected from a multifunctional family kitchen design. Texture is a perfect way to align the tone and energy of both areas without overwhelming your design.
Bring in Nature
Large windows and exterior glass doors enhance the light and view of your outside space. Neutral blinds, shutters, or drapes let in further light and retain a feeling of calm. Take this natural palette and materials into countertops, flooring, and soft furnishing fabrics. Colors such as blues, greens, and earthy tones also bring a natural feel. Continue your décor and materials into an outdoor seating area connected by glass doors for a completely seamless flow that increases your entertainment space. Mirror the great outdoors with houseplants for a lush, welcoming interior. Why not be bold with a living wall to link both spaces? Incorporating animal, floral, or botanic motifs on fabric or accessories is another way you can integrate nature into your open-plan design.
Artfully Arrange Furniture
Each part of your home has furniture that characterizes its form and function. As long as the style works and it fits your functional needs, there is no reason why you can’t place different types of furniture throughout your open-plan kitchen and living area. Curved edges create flow and let people move around easily. Your living room storage could emulate the style or color of your kitchen cabinetry. A chic beverage bar in the living area can draw a party out of the kitchen and enlarge your space. Corner seating is a great room divider that brings attention to the center of the room. Tables and seating in both rooms should link in some way, through style, material, or color for a cohesive feel.
An integrated kitchen and living room is an open plan look that is modern and equipped to cater to all requirements. It can be designed with one style in mind or a blend of two aesthetics for a home remodel that embraces form and function. You can segregate or open up this design in a way that complements your lifestyle and taste, resulting in a living space that is unique to you. Living in a stylish, yet functional, integrated kitchen and living area is easily achievable. Contact us today at Solstice Kitchen and Bath to get started on your remodeling project.