An open kitchen design connects the kitchen space with adjacent living areas, creating a more open and cohesive floorplan. This popular design trend allows for easier hosting, better traffic flow, and a more social atmosphere. However, not all open kitchen designs are created equal. The layout, architecture, and decorative details must be carefully considered to successfully integrate the kitchen with other rooms.

In this article, we will look at five stunning before-and-after open kitchen remodels. Each transformed kitchen demonstrates how to seamlessly incorporate the cooking space into an adjoining living room, dining room, or family room. We will analyze what worked and what didn’t in each redesign, providing ideas and inspiration for your own open kitchen project.

Key Benefits of an Open Kitchen Floor Plan

Before diving into the makeovers, let’s overview some of the top reasons homeowners opt for open kitchen designs:

  • Promotes conversation and interaction – Removing barriers between the kitchen and living areas makes it easier for the cook to stay involved with family and guests. Open designs facilitate conversation and connection.
  • Increases spaciousness – Eliminating walls opens sightlines and makes interior rooms appear more expansive. The continuity between spaces also contributes to a feeling of airiness.
  • Allows easier hosting – An open kitchen simplifies entertaining by allowing the host to remain with guests while cooking, supervising kids, or performing other kitchen tasks. Traffic flow improves, too.
  • Adds architectural interest – The transition between the kitchen and adjacent rooms becomes an opportunity for attractive arches, breakfast bars, unique floors, and other architectural details.
  • Encourages multiple activities – Open kitchens invite people to occupy the space for pursuits other than just cooking, like homework, socializing, or watching TV.
  • Enhances natural light – With fewer structural barriers, daylight can permeate into interior rooms through expanded windows and skylights above the kitchen.

Now let’s check out how five homeowners integrated their new open kitchens with the surrounding living spaces.

1. Dark and Dated to Light and Airy

This outdated and compartmentalized kitchen received a gorgeous open concept transformation.


Previously, the kitchen was closed off from the other first floor living areas. Dated cabinetry, heavy tile backsplashes, and worn laminate floors had darkened and shrunken the kitchen. The work triangle felt cramped and disjointed. This closed floorplan limited natural light and made the rooms feel small and separated.


Light and airy open concept kitchen:strip_icc()/stocksy_txpe4ae4cbmi000_small_11002628-606781f653d24e5d949e8ad57c74f46b.jpg)

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By knocking down walls and opening up the space, the homeowners created a light-filled, contemporary open concept kitchen. Bright white cabinetry paired with the white marble backsplash and counters reflects light, making the space feel fresh and expansive.

Simplifying the layout into one continuous room increased visibility and made the renovated kitchen appear significantly larger. The revised work triangle tightens the distances between each work zone.

To warm up the crisp white palette, the designers integrated wooden floors and accents throughout the living areas. The multi-toned floors transitioning from the kitchen to the dining room produce visual continuity.

By opening sight lines and allowing light to permeate into the adjoining rooms, the once cramped, compartmentalized floorplan transformed into an airy, elegant open concept.


  • White cabinetry increases light reflection
  • Marble backsplash adds brightness
  • Multi-toned wood flooring unifies rooms
  • Simplified work triangle
  • Expansive sightlines

2. ’70s Galley to Modern Marvel

This narrow galley kitchen couldn’t fully support the needs of a growing, active family. The renovated open floorplan better accommodates family life.


Closed off narrow galley kitchen

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The previous layout was defined by a cramped galley kitchen disconnected from the other first floor living spaces. The closed floorplan confined the kitchen to one narrow area, limiting counter space and storage. Appliances and cabinets appeared dated and worn.

With a peninsula awkwardly jutting into the room, the traffic flow felt disrupted. The small eat-in dining space couldn’t accommodate the whole family. Dark cabinetry and tiles coupled with poorly placed lighting shrank the narrow kitchen.


Open and spacious kitchen with living room

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By opening up the wall separating the kitchen and living room, the homeowners created an inviting open concept. The continuity between the white cabinetry and living room trim and moldings makes the space feel seamlessly connected.

Integrating the kitchen peninsula with a shared eating space allows for casual dining while maintaining an open traffic flow. The ample quartz-topped peninsula provides additional seating and counters.

By knocking down the walls, the homeowners could expand and better organize the kitchen layout. Increased sight lines and multiple entry points make the room feel welcoming rather than confined.

Opening the kitchen to the living area improved traffic flow and spaciousness. The updated lighting scheme adds warmth while showcasing the beautiful design elements.


  • Connected cabinetry and moldings
  • Multi-functional peninsula
  • Improved lighting layout
  • Expanded work zones
  • Shared casual dining

3. Chopped Up Kitchen to Sophisticated Space

This outdated chopped up kitchen lacked functionality and cohesion. The redesign created an elegant, open entertaining space.


Previously, this interior kitchen felt cramped and outdated. The compartamentalized layout squeezed appliances and cabinets into a tight work triangle. Drab cabinetry and worn counters contributed to an uninspiring atmosphere.

A parallel eat-in kitchen and separate formal dining room divided the overall space rather than utilizing it efficiently. Poor lighting design failed to showcase the home’s potential. Closed off from natural light and disconnected from living areas, the interior kitchen needed a complete redesign to modernize and harmonize the space.


White and bright open kitchen dining room

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By opening up the walls and reworking the layout, the designers transformed the once cramped kitchen. Crisp white cabinetry and modern pendant lighting create a fresh, inviting ambiance. The simplified layout with clean lines provides visual order.

Integrating the kitchen and dining area into one expansive open concept room makes the space feel light and airy. A sizable kitchen island doubles as a breakfast bar, seamlessly joining the kitchen and dining functions.

The harmonized color palette, materials, and finishes move visually across the open space, linking the rooms together. The continuity between the spaces enhances flow and spaciousness.


  • Crisp white cabinetry
  • Modern lighting fixtures
  • Expansive kitchen island
  • Adjoining dining room
  • Continuous design elements

4. Compartmentalized Kitchen to Central Hub

This outdated kitchen was stuck in the past. By opening it up and embracing an eclectic style, it transformed into the home’s central hub.


The previous layout embodied the compartmentalized design approach of decades past. The kitchen area felt small, cramped, and disconnected from the rest of the home. Drab oak cabinets, worn laminate counters, and dated appliances contributed to an uninspiring aesthetic.

With walls dividing the kitchen, dining, and living zones, the rooms felt dark and segregated. Narrow doorways into the kitchen further isolated the space. The disjointed work triangle hindered functionality.


Eclectic open kitchen dining living

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By knocking down restrictive walls, the kitchen transformed into an eclectic central hub. The continuous interior brick matches the original feature wall in the living room, creating visual harmony between the spaces.

Unique lighting fixtures and repurposed antique furniture contribute to the vibrant, personalized aesthetic. A massive kitchen island provides additional prep space and casual dining while seamlessly joining the rooms together.

The open layout allows for easy conversation and interaction between people in the kitchen, dining, and living areas. Sunlight permeates throughout the interior rooms thanks to expanded doorways.


  • Continuous interior brickwork
  • Eclectic antique furnishings
  • Expansive central island
  • Sunny, open layout
  • Vibrant and personalized

5. Cramped Closed Kitchen to Family Gathering Space

This outdated closed kitchen got a contemporary open concept transformation perfect for daily family life.


The previous layout featured a compartmentalized kitchen that felt disjointed from the rest of the home. Appliances and cabinets appeared outdated and undersized. The work triangle lacked proper spacing.

Interior walls isolated the kitchen from natural light and the rest of the home. Narrow doorways into the kitchen area inhibited movement and connection between rooms. Additionally, the kitchen lacked space for family members to complete homework or interact during meal prep.


Open family kitchen and living room

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With the interior walls removed, the once cramped and dated kitchen opened into a bright, spacious family gathering area. A large kitchen island provides additional seating and prep space. The adjoining casual dining space accommodates the whole family.

A harmonized color palette carries through the open concept kitchen, dining, and living room areas. Modern pendant lighting fixtures and stainless steel appliances contribute to the contemporary aesthetic.

Radiant sunlight floods the interior space thanks to new skylights and widened doorways into adjoining rooms. With fewer visual barriers, family members can easily interact and multitask across zones.


  • Expansive kitchen island
  • Open casual dining space
  • Continuous color palette
  • Modern lighting and appliances
  • Sunny, open layout

Design Ideas For Your Own Open Concept Kitchen

After analyzing these incredible open concept kitchen transformations, let’s discuss key design ideas to integrate your own kitchen space with adjoining rooms:

Use continuous flooring materials

Selecting matching wood floor planks, tile, or stone that flows throughout the open space visually unifies the connected rooms. Continuous flooring creates better harmony.

Incorporate matching cabinetry

Using the same cabinetry finish and style in the kitchen as builtin living room shelving or media centers makes the design feel cohesive. Paint colors can match too.

Add a spacious kitchen island

A sizable kitchen island or peninsula instantly creates a multi-functional space for cooking, dining, homework, and socializing. It also defines the kitchen within the open layout.

Open interior doorways

Replace narrow doorways with wide pocket openings to expand sightlines and encourage movement between zones. Opening interior doors also enhances natural light.

Harmonize accent colors

Tie open rooms together through accent rug colors, bar stools, pendant lights, throw pillows, and other décor echoing the same tones.

Install transitional lighting

Use light fixtures spanning both the kitchen and adjoining living space. Multi-pendant chandeliers work beautifully to create a uniform look.

Incorporate architectural details

Add built-in bookshelves, media cabinets, window seats, and other built-ins that transition between the kitchen and other rooms. Details like trims and moldings should match throughout.

Maximize natural light

Skylights, expanded windows, and glass interior doors allow abundant natural light to penetrate an open layout. Brightness also makes the space feel more expansive.

Frequently Asked Questions About Open Concept Kitchens

Here are answers to some common questions about integrating an open floorplan kitchen:

What are the cons of an open concept kitchen?

Potential drawbacks to open kitchen floorplans include:

  • Noise transmission into living areas
  • Cooking smells spreading throughout home
  • Clutter on display
  • Lack of privacy

Proper ventilation and zoning rooms via flooring changes and ceilings can help minimize these challenges.

Should you keep anything closed off?

Homeowners may opt to close off:

  • Pantries
  • Portions of cabinetry
  • Appliance garages
  • Sink areas
  • Islands

This provides some visual separation without fully closing the kitchen off.

What’s the best way to define kitchen in an open layout?

Effective ways to define open kitchen areas include:

  • Kitchen islands
  • Breakfast bars
  • Flooring material changes
  • Differing cabinetry finishes
  • Multi-level ceilings
  • Pendant lights over sinks
  • Exposed beams

Subtly defining zones while maintaining an open atmosphere is ideal.

How do you decorate an open concept kitchen?

Tips for decorating open kitchen designs:

  • Tie spaces together with continuous backsplashes or accent tiles.
  • Use matching or complementary paint colors in kitchen, living, and dining zones.
  • Incorporate décor like fruit bowls, vases, and artwork visible from multiple rooms.
  • Float matching shelving for seamless transitions between spaces.
  • Mirror elements like cabinetry finishes, hardware, and lighting.

Should open kitchens have an eat-in dining space?

It depends on the homeowner’s preferences and needs. Many opt to designate a casual eat-in dining space near a kitchen island or breakfast bar. More formal dining rooms can be retained as well. Maximizing space for both dining and living is key.


Remodeling a compartmentalized kitchen into an open concept floorplan can utterly transform your home. Knocking down restrictive walls to better integrate the kitchen not only modernizes dated layouts but also enhances livability.

As the examples show, an open kitchen design must thoughtfully connect to surrounding rooms. Matching finishes, harmonious color palettes, transitional lighting, and multifunctional furniture all help to unify and define the open space.

Maximizing natural light and creating sightlines between zones makes the whole interior feel more welcoming and expansive. Clean, contemporary designs work particularly well.

With an improved work triangle and counters, open kitchens accommodate cooking and socializing simultaneously. Remember, not all walls must come down. Strategic barriers can keep mess hidden away.

Does your home feature an open concept kitchen design? If so, hopefully these inspiring remodels provided some ideas to make the most out of your own layout. Getting creative with cabinetry, islands, lighting, and décor choices can take your open floorplan to the next level.