Open-plan kitchens: an enduring decor trend

kitchen open to the living room with solid surface


Kitchens opening into the living room are still trending strong. And over the years, it's not only designers who've been falling for the comfort and versatility they offer, but the kitchen users too. But if you're planning this layout for your home, you might need a little help - along with some all-important inspiration. 

That's why we're taking a look at the main advantages and disadvantages of open-plan kitchens, as well as some top tips for integrating your kitchen into your living area

First and foremost, what exactly is an open-plan kitchen?

An open-plan kitchen is one that doesn't have any walls cutting it off from other rooms in the house. A larger kitchen that shares the spaces with other zones such as the dining room and/or living room. 

But an open-plan kitchen goes further than taking down partitions and walls: you need to think about the layout. It needs to be a highly functional space. That's why you should think very carefully about the positioning your cooking and working areas effectively, as well as the furnishings. 

Many such kitchens come with features that give you a sense of separation and improve functionality - without sacrificing the coveted open-plan look. This could be a kitchen island, peninsula, breakfast bar, or even a retractable glass partition. There are a number of ways you can visually divide the kitchen from the rest of the space, without introducing partitions. 

Advantages of an open-plan kitchen/living room

Here are some of the benefits of opening up your kitchen to the living room: 

1. It enlarges the space

If you have limited space in the home, an open-plan kitchen/living room visually enlarges the spaces. Having a diaphanous space will make it feel more spacious, rather than taking up valuable space with meters of partitions.

Open-plan kitchens

Project: Conde Altea, Valencia

Architect:Chiralt Arquitectos

Photo:Eva Perez


2. Improved ventilation in the kitchen

If your kitchen is located internally without any access to windows, ventilation can be an issue. One of the advantages of an open-plan kitchen is that it allows air to circulate from the living room - where you'll typically have larger windows.

Open-plan kitchens

Project: Residential Poseidon




3. Brighter spaces

In the same way that having an open-plan kitchen improves ventilation, it also makes the space brighter: these kitchens allow more light into the space.

Open-plan kitchens

Project: Chip & Chop, Pozoblanco



4.  More sociable

Kitchens are about more than cooking; they also have a definite social function. Whether with guests or just family, having an open-plan kitchen/dining room makes for easier conversation, and stops the sense of isolation you can get when you need to cook during functions.

Open-plan kitchens

Project: MadreSelva, Salinas

Architect:David Olmos

Photo: Ivo Tavares


Disadvantages of an open-plan kitchen/living room

There are a lot of positives, but there are also some drawbacks to having an open-plan kitchen. And you need to think about these too before you rush into any renovations.

1. Kitchen smells

When you cook, your home is filled with the smells of whatever's on the menu. We all love the smell of food when we're hungry, but if you've just eaten a big meal it might be the last thing you need. 

If your kitchen is open to the living room, you'll need an effective extractor hood to get rid of the smells.


2. Kitchen noise

An extractor fan makes a great impact on smells, but there's little doubt that it can be annoying hearing all the noise from the kitchen when you're putting away dishes or switching the fan on for example


3. Mess

Keeping your kitchen tidy is paramount. It's true that a good cook always leaves the kitchen clean and tidy after using it. But still, there are times when you want to leave the tidying for after you've eaten. When your kitchen is shut away from other rooms the mess stays there, but with an open-plan kitchen it visually invades the living and dining space.


Open-plan kitchen design ideas

Take a look at these ideas and get inspired by the enormous potential of this layout.

A white and minimalist peninsula or island

White kitchens are minimalist and modern, and if you want to make your open-plan kitchen more functional, an island or peninsula with a Krion worktop in white is all you need. It gives you a space fit for both kitchen tasks and socializing, and comes with the bonus of storage space inside.


Project: Vivienda Carlet, España




Krion sinks facing the living area 

Do you love the feeling of light coming through a window when you're doing the dishes? If you have a one-wall kitchen, you'll have your back to the light. You can get around this by fitting your sink into a peninsula. 

A semi-open kitchen with partitions 

If you're still not convinced an open-plan kitchen is for you, you could go for something in between. A semi-open kitchen with a dividing wall or glass panel could give you the best of both worlds.



Kitchen with lattice partition and worktop by Krion®