Four-dimensional design makes itself at home in the open-plan kitchen
An open plan kitchen is a great way to make the most of limited space, creating an open, airy feel, and providing a family-friendly living area. Kitchen design starts with the first three dimensions: up and down, and side to side. A vertical divider like beaded curtains, a dropped lighting bar, or a bamboo or branch screen all draw a line to separate the kitchen workspace without impeding the flow of light, air, and family conversation. Most functional of all, the food-prep island or L-shaped countertop literally draws a line, but other horizontal dividers can make a subtle impact too. Kitchen decoration that incorporates a lighter ceiling color separates spaces with a subliminal visual message, and a rich rug delineates the living room floor giving an instant feeling of home comforts. And the fourth dimension? You only occupy the kitchen a couple of times a day; what about the rest of the time?
Give your hanging lighting bar alternating different colored bulbs: spotlight-white for daytime kitchen work, a more mellow color in the other direction to warm up the living room side for down time. The super-useful island can be made to work even harder: create a focal point in the living room side by insetting the TV or console, with alcoves on either side to accommodate DVDs, books, and ornaments. That way, it’s not just a barrier, but multi-tasks in the living room too. Or consider cupboard doors on opposite sides of the island: kitchen side for utensils, and a cupboard for tableware, candles, and hobby materials on the living room side. And breakfast bar stools can become offbeat lampstands for a romantic dinner or evening with friends. Before you start, use 3D home design software to test your ideas, and use the Homebyme online 3D tool to visualize your multi-tasking space.
Hang a screen made of natural twiggy branches, strung-together bamboo, or bead curtain to separate living room and kitchen functions.
Incorporate an island storage and preparation counter or L-shaped countertop into your kitchen design to turn the necessity of storage and prep space into a design demarcation feature.
Use subtle horizontal visual signals to separate the spaces: a lighter color ceiling over the kitchen, or a warm cosy rug on the floor to show where the relaxed living space starts.
Use a hanging light bar creatively with bright bulbs angled over the kitchen work areas, and more mellow colors in the living room direction to add a warm atmosphere for the evening.
Use the space below the countertop as a living room feature; incorporate living room items like a TV or console, alcoves for books or ornaments, or living room storage cupboards.