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News & Inspiration

5 Open-Plan Kitchen Living Room Ideas

Aug 30, 2019 | Project Homes, Choosing Land, Inspiration

Open-plan kitchen living rooms are one of the most popular features of modern homes, as the concept fits perfectly into our relaxed, social Aussie lifestyle.

Open-plan kitchen living rooms allow family interaction, in-kitchen dining and for some, a home office within a living room – all while creating a relaxed, light-filled and contemporary feel.

Within an open-plan area, the use of the space is up to you and can be filled and styled to suit your specific needs.

But, with no real defined ‘borders’ and an unobstructed line of sight right through the space, open-plan rooms can be surprisingly tricky to style and decorate!

Here are 5 open-plan kitchen living room ideas that can help you to utilise your space well – keeping the different zones looking defined yet still seamless and cohesive.

1) Create ‘Zones’

If you don’t define individual areas within an open-plan kitchen and living area, the space can end up feeling a bit like one big hall.

To add cosiness, function and visual appeal, open-plan spaces need to portray different ‘zones’, such as living, dining, cooking.

The Living Zone

A simple way to define your living zone is to use your lounge to subtly ‘divide’ the area from the rest of the space.

An ‘L-shaped’ lounge is a perfect way to ‘section off’ this zone without creating a barrier that is too intrusive.

You can either position your television on the opposite side of the lounge to complete the zone, or even place another lounge opposite the first lounge to create a nice cosy, social and intimate space within your large open-plan area.

TIP: Adding a beautiful rug under the lounge and coffee table, and then a floor lamp beside it will really give a sense of purpose to your living zone.

Mincove Homes Open-Plan Living Alfresco Area

The Dining Zone

As well as defining your dining area with your dining table (which is the obvious solution), your dining area can also be cleverly defined through lighting.

Placing prominent or statement lighting such as pendant lighting over the centre of your dining table will really draw attention to this area and define it beautifully.

The trick is defining your zones, but at the same time still having a sense of continuity between them.

2) Create Flow Between Your Zones

Flowing your flooring and wall colour choices through your zones will create an instant sense of continuity. 

However, the different elements placed within your open-plan space need to speak to each other without being too ‘matchy-matchy’ or feeling forced.

Don’t stress! This isn’t as hard to achieve as it may sound!

Un-complicate the styling of your space by firstly choosing a style that you love, and then selecting furniture and accessories that vary in colour and material – but still speak to each other visually.

Another tip to allow flow between your zones, is to be careful not to fill each of them with items of furniture that are too big.

It should be nice and easy to move from your kitchen, into your dining and living zones freely without having to navigate your way around bulky items!

The Milton Mincove Homes Display Home

TIP: Make sure your kitchen flows as a part of the greater space too.

With so many beautiful tile, benchtop and cabinetry options available to us these days, you’d be forgiven for getting a little carried away in terms of your kitchen design!

When in the planning and selections stage of your new home build, make sure to choose elements of your kitchen such as the colours, benchtop, splashback and joinery so that they will tie in and flow nicely with adjoining spaces.

3) Implement Creative Storage

Within a large, minimalist open-plan space, you may notice that you have a little less storage than you did in a home which had separate rooms.

Rather than having to fill your space with cupboards and shelving units, there are a few clever ways to incorporate storage that won’t be huge eyesores!

Firstly, plan ahead for your open-plan area by ensuring that you have as much storage in the kitchen as possible.

An impressive and extremely clever storage addition to modern homes is a walk-in pantry or a butler’s kitchen. 

Take a look at the floorplans of our Mincove home designs, such as the Oakwood and Cove which both have generous walk-in pantries, and the Milton which features a clever, spacious butler’s pantry!

Cove Kitchen Walk in Pantry

Tucked away neatly in your kitchen, both of these things will get used daily and without impacting on or taking space away from your open-plan area.

Secondly, invest in pieces of furniture that feature hidden storage.

Doing this means that you won’t have to purchase additional items such as cupboards or cabinets that have in-built shelving to store your belongings in.

When looking for your necessity furniture pieces such as your sideboard, coffee table and lounge, choose options that appeal to your personal style, but also have hidden storage to hold your personal items in privacy and style.

TIP: Incorporate stylish textured baskets as a decorative additional storage option throughout your space.

West Elm Subtle Clever Storage Furniture Option
Image: West Elm

Thirdly, think wall mounted! 

Whether it’s a chic closed cabinet or floating shelves – wall-mounted storage is the perfect way to take advantage of your open-plan wall space while keeping the floor area clear.

4) Create Ambience with Lighting

When thinking about lighting for a large open-plan area, it is easy to not think much further than downlights!

However, an open-plan area is a fantastic opportunity to create real ambience and set the mood within each of your zones. Think of the space as your blank canvas!

Start by thinking about how you will use each space, and your lighting options should come to you!

For example, will you appreciate the addition of pendant lighting over your kitchen island bench to assist food preparation? Do you want to make a real statement in your dining area with feature lighting over your dining table? Do you want to have dimmable lights in your living room to make downtime feel intimate and cosy?

Ktichen Living Room Pendant Lighting

TIP: Make sure to plan your lighting and electrical placement at the start of the design phase.

Remember, there are fewer walls in an open-plan space, so think carefully about where light switches will be in relation to your lighting, and where power-points will be positioned in relation to electrical devices.

5) Design Your Space to be an Extension of the Outdoors

Another fantastic design element that is ever so popular in modern Australian homes is indoor/outdoor living.

Really optimise your open-plan kitchen living room by designing it to flow seamlessly out to an adjacent outdoor entertaining alfresco space.

You can emphasise a seamless ‘extension’ of your open-plan space by opening it to the outdoors with generous (even floor to ceiling) glass sliding or bifold doors.

To achieve the seamless transition between spaces, the larger and more transparent the opening, the better. This will also allow a generous flow of natural light into your open-plan space, making it feel large, light and airy.

You can also make the transition from inside to out seamless through use of colour.

Ridgewood Mincove Homes Alfresco Area

If you can, start by colour-matching your internal flooring with your external flooring.

Next, style your open-plan space with neutral colours and natural textures – similar in tone to colours and materials that you can see outside.

If you have lots of greenery outside, bring some of that inside in the form of potted plants!

This subtle matching of colours and textures from the outside in will make a beautiful connection between your spaces.

Our Final Open-Plan Tip!

Large open-plan kitchen living rooms tend to be much noisier than closed-off rooms.

Help reduce your noise levels by adding softening ‘sound absorption’ elements such as curtains, rugs, throws and other soft furnishings.

Here at Mincove Homes we have a vast range of beautiful open-plan floorplans for you to choose from!

To have a chat with one of our friendly and experienced New Homes Consultants about open-plan kitchen living room ideas, give us a call today on (02) 4256 0222.

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