An open concept modern kitchen is the ideal layout for those who love to entertain and cook. With fewer walls and an airy, open floor plan, an open concept kitchen seamlessly blends with adjacent living spaces to create a bright, inviting atmosphere. Here’s everything you need to know about designing and decorating an on-trend open concept kitchen.

What is an Open Concept Kitchen?

An open concept kitchen is characterized by a lack of separation between the kitchen space and adjacent rooms like the living room or dining room. Taking down walls created a continuous flow between rooms, which makes entertaining easier and allows the cook to still interact with guests while prepping meals.

With fewer physical barriers, open concept kitchens feel more spacious and airy. The open layout also allows natural light to filter through the home, creating a bright and cheery aesthetic.

Benefits of an Open Concept Kitchen

There are many excellent reasons to opt for an open concept kitchen:

  • Creates a greater sense of space – Removing walls helps make the room appear larger.
  • Allows natural light to spread – Sunlight can permeate more areas of the home without walls blocking it.
  • Encourages conversation – The cook can easily chat with guests in adjacent rooms.
  • Improves ventilation – Cooking smoke and aromas circulate freely throughout the space instead of being confined to the kitchen.
  • Provides versatility – An open floor plan can be adapted as needs change. Rooms feel less segmented.
  • Visually appealing – Most homeowners find open concept kitchens more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Adds value – Open layouts are popular with buyers, so it can improve resale value.
  • Blurs room divisions – Eliminates closed off, isolated spaces in favor of a cohesive flow.

Elements of an Open Concept Kitchen

Several structural elements and design choices help maximize the open layout:


The kitchen should have clear sightlines into the dining and living areas. This creates an unobstructed flow and helps spaces feel continuous rather than cut off from each other.

Wide Entryways

Expanding doorway openings between rooms maintains the open visual continuum. Wide entries prevent the spaces from feeling too separated.

Large Windows

Abundant natural light enhances the airy, open environment. Strategically placed windows allow light to spread between rooms.

Matching Flooring

Continuous flooring materials like wood or tile extend seamlessly between the kitchen and other living spaces. Consistent floors make the rooms feel more connected.

Harmonious Colors

Use analogous hues in each room to create a cohesive color story throughout the open area. Tone-on-tone colors add subtle continuity.

Integrated Appliances

Built-in, full-size appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators preserve the streamlined aesthetic. Freestanding units disrupt the flow.

Minimal Upper Cabinets

Limiting overhead storage maintains open sightlines. Too many bulky upper cabinets make the space feel crowded.

Island or Peninsular Layouts

Islands and peninsulas promote an open flow instead of breaking up the space like a standard built-in kitchen.

Design Tips for Open Concept Kitchens

Certain design strategies help maximize the benefits of the open layout:

  • Incorporate transitional elements like half-walls, columns, or steps to delineate different zones while maintaining an open feel.
  • Define work areas with flooring changes, like a tile apron around the sink. Use area rugs in living zones to further distinguish spaces.
  • Add pendant or recessed lighting over key areas of the kitchen and task lighting as needed. This keeps it well-lit for prep work.
  • Install floor-to-ceiling windows and interior glass doors to take advantage of natural light. Optimize views of exterior greenspace.
  • Select sound absorbent materials like textiles, insulation, and acoustic tiles to prevent noise from echoing throughout the space.
  • Position the kitchen away from high traffic areas in more private zones of the open concept space.
  • Keep the finishes and style cohesive yet understated. The kitchen shouldn’t look incongruent with the living areas.

Decorating an Open Concept Kitchen

When decorating an open floor plan, create visual harmony throughout:

Repeating Colors and Materials

Echo finishes, textures, and hues in both the kitchen and living zone. For example, if the living room has a blue accent wall, include blue decor accents in the kitchen. Mirror ceiling beams or flooring materials too.

Consistent Style

The kitchen and living area decor should coordinate in terms of era, motif, and overall vibe. For instance, blend modern and contemporary elements but avoid mixing modern and traditional.

Transitional Furnishings

Use furniture placements to soften divisions between rooms. For example, position a buffet that faces both the dining and kitchen areas. Bar stools are another great transitional piece.

Multi-Purpose Islands

A kitchen island can integrate storage on one side and casual dining or extra seating on the other to pull double duty.

Light Fixtures as Focal Points

Statement pendants, chandeliers, and other compelling light fixtures draw the eye through the continuous space.

Mirrored Elements

Strategically placed mirrors visually expand small open concept kitchens and reflect light to make the space sparkle.

Greenery and Florals

Plants, fresh flowers, and vases stuffed with branches help unite separate zones in an open floor plan. They add life and softness too.

Common Open Concept Kitchen Layouts

There are a few standard kitchen layout options well-suited to open floor plans:

  • Galley Kitchen: This single-wall layout pairs counters and cabinets on one side with an opposite run of cabinets. It’s an efficient use of space.
  • L-Shaped Kitchen: With counters on two adjoining walls, the L-shape maximizes workspace while keeping traffic flow open.
  • U-Shaped Kitchen: The U shape provides ample counters and storage by lining three walls. A gap creates an accessible work zone.
  • G-Shaped Kitchen: Adding an extra leg to the U shape forms a G. This creates more room for appliances, sinks, and prep space.
  • Island Kitchen: Islands promote an open concept by separating cabinet runs. They also expand counter space and storage.

Frequently Asked Questions About Open Concept Kitchens

What are the downsides to an open concept kitchen?

Possible downsides include reduced privacy, increased noise transmission through the space, the need for rigorous organization, and lack of defined room divisions.

How can you delineate an open kitchen from living areas?

Use flooring changes, ceiling beams, steps, columns, lighting variations, area rugs, and furnishings like islands to define each zone while maintaining an open flow.

What size island works best in an open kitchen?

Ideally, an open concept kitchen island should be at least 36-48 inches wide and proportionate to the overall room size. Islands over 6 feet wide can obstruct flow. Allow a minimum clearance of 42 inches around all sides.

Should open kitchen cabinets match the rest of the home decor?

While the cabinetry finish doesn’t need to perfectly match other rooms, it should coordinate in style. Consistent elements like hardware, lighting, and accessories will blend the space.

What open kitchen layout is the most spacious feeling?

The island kitchen layout creates the most spacious, airy open kitchen aesthetic. Removing upper cabinets also helps maximize the feeling of openness.


With their seamless integration of adjacent living spaces, open concept kitchens promote beauty, functionality, and versatility through their sleek, modern design. Taking down separating walls creates a brighter, more inviting environment perfect for cooking and entertaining. Careful finishing and furnishing ensure the look flows smoothly throughout, so you can enjoy the benefits of a continuous, open floor plan.