Choose Consistent Finishes and Materials
Using the same or complementary finishes and materials throughout the kitchen and living area will help visually blend the spaces. For example, if your living room has hardwood floors, continue the same hardwood into the kitchen. Or opt for matching granite countertops and wood cabinetry to create cohesion. Consistent paint colors on the walls and trim molding will also go a long way in making the kitchen feel like part of the living space.
Open Up Sightlines
Consider knocking down any unnecessary walls separating the kitchen and living areas. Eliminating physical barriers helps the spaces feel more continuous. If load-bearing walls prevent completely removing walls, consider wider doorways or open pass-through windows to maintain sightlines. You can also align cabinets and shelving on either side of doorways or passages between rooms. Maintaining these visual lines makes the transition from one space to the next feel more harmonious.
Rethink the Kitchen Island
Including a kitchen island can help delineate the kitchen within a larger open concept floor plan. Opt for an island design with finishes and cabinetry that matches the rest of the kitchen. Incorporate seating space and an overhang that extends into the living room. This invites people to gather at the island while still feeling part of the main living space.
Use Furniture to Blend Spaces
Strategically place living room or dining furniture next to the kitchen to help fuse the spaces. For example, position a sofa or comfy chairs around one side of the kitchen island. Or place a dining table and chairs near enough to the kitchen for easy serving. Match the style and finishes of this furniture to the kitchen cabinets and appliances to tie the look together.
Incorporate Similar Lighting Fixtures
Consistent lighting between the kitchen and living space can create cohesion. Use pendant lights over the kitchen island or dining table that match the living room chandelier or sconces. Wall mounted fixtures and recessed lighting should also coordinate in style. Avoid harsh overhead lighting only in the kitchen. Soft, uniform lighting that flows between the spaces makes them feel connected.
Allow Living Space Flooring to Flow Into the Kitchen
Hardwood, tile, or other living room and dining room flooring materials should continue into the kitchen space for a smooth, blended aesthetic. Only use separate kitchen flooring like sheet vinyl if you utilize transition strips and edges that don’t starkly define the kitchen boundaries. The flooring should make walking between the spaces feel natural.
Hide the Sink and Appliances
Having a kitchen sink and appliances like the refrigerator and oven fully exposed in the living space can make the kitchen feel isolated. Try tucking the sink out of sight around a corner wall. Or install appliances in enclosed cabinets so just the cabinet facades show. This allows the appliances to discreetly blend into the aesthetic of the living space.
Add Architectural Interest Between Spaces
Design elements like arched doorways, bar seating, room dividers, changes in ceiling height, and thoughtfully placed columns or beams can help the kitchen gracefully meet the living space. These architectural details ease the transition and add visual interest as you move throughout the open concept area.
Don’t Forget the Purpose of Each Space
When blending kitchen and living spaces, remember that each area has its own unique purpose. The kitchen is for cooking, while the living room is meant for relaxing. Make sure each zone properly supports its intended function. For example, don’t block kitchen work triangles or traffic lanes with furnishings. And don’t allow TV noise to disrupt cooking concentration. Aim for seamless flow, but keep individual functionality.
Incorporate Greenery and Flowers
Adding matching greenery and floral arrangements in the kitchen and living room brings a sense of harmony. Use vines, ferns, orchids, or other greens in pots and vases on the kitchen counters and island. Repeat these in the living room on side tables, the mantel, or bookshelves. The consistent natural elements subtly help unite the look while also brightening both spaces.
Blending a kitchen into a open living concept requires careful planning and design. But with cohesive finishes, unfettered sightlines, consistent lighting, flowing floors, and other subtle detailing, you can create a kitchen that truly feels like part of the larger living space rather than its own isolated room. Take time to thoughtfully incorporate your kitchen so it blends seamlessly into the surrounding open area.
Frequently Asked Questions About Blending a Kitchen Into an Open Living Space
How do you delineate a kitchen in an open floor plan?
Using an island, area rug, and thoughtful lighting design can help delineate the kitchen within a larger open living space while still allowing it to feel blended. The island provides a natural barrier and gathering place. An area rug under the kitchen table or island defines the space. And unique lighting over the kitchen further distinguishes it.
Should kitchen and living room flooring match?
It’s generally best if kitchen and living room flooring match or are complementary. Having the same floors flow between the rooms makes them feel more connected. Just take functionality into account – some materials like slippery stone may not work as well in a kitchen.
How do you merge kitchen and family room?
Use open sightlines, continuous flooring, consistent finishes, similar lighting, flowing furniture arrangements, and architectural details like wide openings or exposed beams to merge kitchen and family rooms. Removing any dividing walls also helps. The goal is to allow uninterrupted movement and visual connection between the spaces.
Should kitchen cabinetry match the rest of the house?
The kitchen cabinetry does not need to exactly match the rest of the home. But using the same style door fronts, similar stains and paint colors, and complementary material finishes will help the kitchen feel blended into open concept living spaces.
Should I paint the kitchen the same color as living room?
Painting the kitchen and living room the same base color is one effective way to visually blend them together. Just take lighting into account – kitchens require brighter, harsher lighting. So consider going a shade or two lighter in the kitchen to compensate for the different light.
How do you blend old and new decor?
To blend old and new decor, use a base color palette that ties spaces together. Incorporate new furniture shapes and materials, but keep traditional styles. Mix and match patterns featuring both older and modern prints. Use antiques sparingly to accent. And unify spaces with greenery, art, and repeating accessory elements.
Integrating a kitchen into an open floor plan with a living room, dining area, or family room requires careful planning. Using consistent design elements like unified color palettes, matching materials and finishes, flowing floor plans, coordinated lighting, transitional furniture arrangements, and architectural details will help the kitchen feel like a natural part of the larger living space. With some intentional design choices, you can create a beautifully blended open concept that maintains functionality while allowing for an organic, harmonious flow throughout the home’s common spaces. Paying attention to sightlines, textures, lighting, and purposeful furnishings will create a kitchen that truly feels seamlessly incorporated into any adjoining open living area.