Open Concept Kitchen Design Ideas
The idea of an open concept kitchen is getting more and more sought-after, especially in the case of modern and contemporary homes. And it’s no wonder why: open concept kitchens maximize the appearance of space, and lend themselves to better functionality and design, especially for family homes. The trend of making the interior flow of the house as seamless as possible, and to simplify structure, decor, and functionality is only growing year over year.
If you decide that an open concept kitchen may be the best choice for your home, the good news is that there’s no shortage of open concept kitchen ideas for you to explore. Here are our favorite open concept kitchen design ideas.
If you’re looking to simplify your home, then an open floor plan is a great design choice. In the process of installing an open concept kitchen, you’ll lose walls, and even some countertop and cupboard space, which may force you to pare down your belongings (a draw from some people).
If the idea of paring down is attractive to you, then you may enjoy a minimalist open concept kitchen design. Especially if you have less square footage to work with, a minimalist design may be a great choice. After all, even with the space than an open layout kitchen can create, you don’t want to crowd that newly found space with unnecessary items and appliances.
To achieve this look, keep the countertops clear, and opt for minimal decor in the dining areas as well. Opt for light colors on the walls, tiles and countertops, and natural finishes.
As mentioned above, installing an open concept kitchen creates space in your home by removing traditional kitchen elements like countertops and cabinets. This means that by default when you make the switch to an open concept kitchen, more of your kitchen tools and items take on a more “visible” quality.
Instead of using traditional closed-door pantries to house your kitchen items, consider using open shelving. Open shelving (or exposed pantries) have become an increasingly popular trend. They require serious organization but can be stunning when executed well.
Cozy Breakfast Nook
While formal dining rooms used to be more-or-less the norm in family homes, informal dining areas, and a kitchen that opens up directly into the dining room, have become more popular with the rise of open concept floor plans. One great way to implement a more casual dining area in your open concept kitchen is a breakfast nook.
A breakfast nook is a great choice because it works well in any style of kitchen whether it’s a minimalist, contemporary residence or a traditional home. Especially when nestled against a window, a breakfast nook can work wonderfully in an open concept kitchen.
Adjacent Dining Room
One common open kitchen design idea is to place your dining room table directly across from the kitchen so that the kitchen truly opens up into the dining room. More often than not, this creates a more casual quality, since the kitchen and dining areas are closer to each other. It’s also incredibly family friendly: mom and dad can easily walk food over to the dining table in just a few steps, or everyone can serve themselves buffet style by placing the main plates on the kitchen island.
One design idea that always compliments an open layout kitchen remodel is a contemporary, white color focus. Especially if you like the idea of an upscale, extravagant kitchen, a contemporary white design can help create the exact look you desire.
In this contemporary kitchen example, the bright and light quality is emphasized by white marble countertops and a white subway tile backsplash, creating a truly luxurious look. Use of light colors also helps to make spaces look even bigger, so when paired with your new open concept kitchen, the possibilities are endless!
If you like white as a backdrop but can’t envision an entire kitchen in one color, consider a monochromatic design. Pair your white kitchen with another neutral color.
A mostly white kitchen doesn’t have to translate to over-the-top upscale. This open concept kitchen design also lends itself very well to beachfront or ocean-side settings. Especially when a white and bright backdrop is paired with nautical or blue accents and light wood textures, the result, as demonstrated in this coastal New England house, can be lovely.
For those who prefer a little drama in their home, dramatic lighting may help create the open concept kitchen design of your dreams. Especially if you prefer to retain some of the formality of a true dining room, consider spacing your dining area offset diagonally or laterally from your kitchen space.
Furthermore, installing a significant focal point in the dining area can differentiate the “dining” area from the food preparation area in a creative way. An ornate chandelier or unique lighting fixture can do just the trick, especially when placed above a dining room table.
If you choose to go the route of lighting-as-centerpiece in your open concept kitchen, don’t feel limited by style. Just because your kitchen layout is modern, it doesn’t mean your decor has to be. Use centerpiece lighting to help define the kitchen or dining area, but don’t be afraid to go retro or Renaissance with your choice.
Heavy Natural Light
Speaking of lighting, another great use of design in your open concept kitchen is to incorporate as much natural light as possible. An obvious advantage of open concept kitchens is how they open up spaces and often draw more natural light into the more commonly occupied areas of your home. But if you want to take this idea to the extreme, consider strategically positioning your open concept kitchen directly across from large sliding glass doors or spacious windows that open up into a backyard or patio space, which will maximize daylight in the kitchen, living, dining and study areas.
Especially when this design phenomenon occurs at the read of the property, it helps to create an airy and fresh space for entertaining family and friends.
If you like the idea of having a lot of natural light in your home, consider going the extra mile in expanding your open concept kitchen into the outdoors. In addition to connecting your open concept kitchen to an indoor dining area and/or living room, you can also design your kitchen so it opens into an outdoor dining or lounge area.
Glass doors create a visually pleasing and highly functional entry point that allows guests and families to pass easily between the two living areas. You can also go the route of screened-in porches, which protect loungers from mosquitoes while allowing summer breezes and beautiful views of nature to pass through.
Keep design elements somewhat consistent between indoor and outdoor to create a unified look and feel, and the appearance of one cohesive indoor/outdoor space, rather than two separate spaces.
Whether you’re building outdoors or not, using the same material theme throughout the connected spaces in your open concept kitchen helps maintain a cohesive look and feel. It doesn’t have to be over the top, but one or two consistent elements can go far to help unite your new open space.
With open concept plans, designers strive not only to create separate zones within one large space but to make the end result feel cohesive. In this Carlton Architecture + DesignBuild designed home, the designers did an excellent job of dividing “individual spaces with furniture groupings and circulation. Common materials such as steel, rift-sawn white oak cabinetry, and dark stained oak floors are used to unify the three areas,” they explain.
Colorful Cozy Kitchen
Just because open concept kitchens are a relatively modern innovation, and the majority of popular designer trends towards simple farmhouse styles, that doesn’t mean you can’t use color in a fun and unique way. In fact, color and accessories help to create a cohesive look throughout the wide open area. And this doesn’t mean going over the top with color, but rather, sticking with a fairly neutral palette, but weaving in lively pops of colors through each space, such as on pillows, area rugs, bar stools and seating, tiling, and lighting fixtures.
Color can enhance the cozy quality of your family space, but also create an eclectic vibe you won’t find in any other home on the block.
Colored Accent Walls
Another fun way to use color in your open concept kitchen design is by “dividing” with color to differentiate unique areas within the open space. For example, installing a teal backsplash in the kitchen, and a complementary colored accent wall in the dining area can differentiate the areas without truly diving them.
If you do, however, like the idea of select privacy, you can always opt for installing a divider or curtain between dining and living areas. That way, the privacy barriers can be removed or added back in as needed, depending on the social situation.
Family Friendly with Warm Tones
One of the possible cons of open floor plans, especially in contemporary homes, is that the room may feel a little cold and impersonal. Open concept kitchens do an excellent job of modernizing spaces, but they don’t often feel warm or engaging. A great way to offset the modern quality of the design that can create this vibe is by using “’warm’ or earthy materials and/or colors, as well as a mix of textures is a great way to achieve balance, and to create a more lived-in space ” (HGTV). Rich wooden finishes and warm accent can help you achieve this aesthetic.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you don’t mind colder-toned design aesthetics, and industrial, loft-style open concept kitchen may be a great fit for you. If you want to emulate the loft-style apartments so often photographed in New York City and other urban areas, lean on grey, cool tones to give you that modern look and feel. Exposed bricks and metallic appliances can also help to convey an industrial, modern style.
Traditional Farmhouse Style
Farmhouse style, as favored by the popular remodel expert duo Chip and Joanna Gaines, is definitely one of the top design options favored by homeowners. This style exudes character and rustic beauty, often with the help of distressed woods and metals.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of options or inspirational ideas to help you create the design of your new open concept kitchen. The process of going through an open floor plan kitchen remodel is complicated, but at the end of the day, you’ll be able to create something truly unique and customized to your exact desires and needs.