Open Concept Kitchens Are Back

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The open concept (or open plan) kitchens fell out of favour during pandemic lockdowns. Back then, it proved too difficult to have a Zoom meeting at the dining table next to the lounge/school room while someone else was nosily learning to make sourdough in the kitchen.

The time seemed right to end the decades-long love affair with open plans.  Designers and homeowners pondered. To put up walls or not?

Clearly, the desire to create designated workspaces and personal retreats within the home has remained a design priority.

But the kitchen, the beloved heart of the home, just couldn’t be hidden away.

So, despite wavering for a short time, we’re here to say that open concept kitchens are back!

The concept still has its cons - mostly to do with piles of dirty dishes on display when the mother-in-law drops by; or feeling like you’re washing up in the loungeroom. All that means is that rather than saying goodbye to open concept kitchens, it’s time for them to evolve. Getting the balance right requires excellent design.

Here are 5 ideas to help nail your open concept kitchen design:

Open Kitchen and Dining Room

1.Clearly Separate Every Distinct Zone

Clever designs help to divide zones. Each zone requires its own lighting. It’s important to be able to turn off the kitchen lighting so that when the dishes are done and you walk away, you don’t still feel like you’re in there. Coloured cabinets help to define the kitchen zone. Divide the kitchen from the rest of the open plan with physical markers like large furniture. Generous corner lounges work a treat. Large rugs and mats under the dining table do too.

2.Ditch The Island For A Peninsula Bench

Island benches are gorgeous and are said to add value to the home. A U-shaped kitchen with a peninsula bench can provide the same breakfast bar effect while also doing a better job of confining the kitchen to its own designated space. There’s also the benefit of getting a little extra bench and storage space to work with. On that note, sinks attract mess and clutter. Avoid the feeling of the kitchen spilling over into other zones by positioning the sink on a back or side wall rather than on the island or peninsula bench.

3.Try Broken Plan

Broken plans use simple architectural or practical features – but not walls - to separate zones. That way the zones can still work functionally together and share the same natural light while still feeling distinctly separate and offering an added layer of privacy. Elevating the kitchen by just a few steps to a raised level creates a unique and effective divide. Half walls, glass doors and integrated fireplaces can also be strategically positioned to separate the kitchen from other rooms without closing them off.

4.Showcase Tapware And Hide Appliances

Integrated appliances are a perfect solution for open concept kitchens. Hide away the more functional aspects of the kitchen with an integrated fridge and dishwasher. Keep the microwave below bench and smaller appliances like kettles and toasters behind cupboard doors. Undermount sinks also streamline the kitchen to help it ooze style over functionality. Something that can’t easily be hidden is kitchen tapware. In that case, make the kitchen tapware stand out as a design feature in its own right.

5.Keep The Noise Down

The sound of kitchen appliances humming away in the background can put a dampener on downtime. Online reviewers will be quick to point out noisy appliances. Find out what they have to say and look for quality brands that are likely to operate at a more open-plan-friendly volume. Most modern dishwashers have timer settings so you can set them and forget them. They’ll work through the night and not during your favourite evening program.

We’re here to answer your questions

At Tradelink we sell an extensive range of kitchen products, including kitchen tapware, sinks, accessories and appliances. Our showroom consultants are available in 100+ stores to help you make fabulous choices for your open concept kitchen, or any kitchen design.

We also have a leading range of bathroom and laundry products on display. For the record, we tend not to recommend open concept bathrooms and laundries.

Visit us today to browse the range and ask for a demonstration or advice. Search for a store here.

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