​How to separate the kitchen from the living room

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
homify Modern kitchen
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Nowadays, an open-plan kitchen is nothing new. However, whether or not that kitchen and adjoining room enjoy an easy flow is another matter. But a kitchen that shares its space with a living room just offers so much potential, especially in terms of entertaining, as a kitchen living area provides extra legroom for guests. The room also does not seem as cramped, as is often the case with stand-alone kitchens. 

There are many possibilities to separate a kitchen and living room, like using a kitchen island, a table or a book shelf as a room divider. If you want a complete separation you can, of course, opt for a more permanent kitchen divider and also use an entire wall to firmly separate the cooking from the living space. 

Today we explore some other options, including open-plan kitchen living room dividers, regarding this topic. 

1. A kitchen island as a room divider

Refrigerator, stove, sink and a small working area—a section cut off from the rest of the house. For a long time, the kitchen was just that, a simple cooking area in which the cook worked alone. However, those days have passed and the kitchen has become increasingly the centre of family life and serves as a meeting place for family and friends. It’s no longer a mere cooking and baking space, as it has become a living and socialising spot. 

And when the size of the room allows for it, the kitchen island is a very important element that enhances socialising and communication. Another great advantage of a kitchen island is that it can easily separate a kitchen and living room visually, without letting the kitchen part become totally isolated. On the contrary, the area is so inviting, as a few friends or family members can gather around it and include you in the conversation, even while cooking. 

2. A deep wall as a room partition

A low wall is probably better known from the outside. The deep walls are often seen in stone optics in front of gardens, parks or similar spaces. But even if you want a clear but not a complete separation from the kitchen and the living room, you can decide to install such a deep wall. The low wall ensures that the space can be clearly seen as a separated area, but the still existing openness creates a more comfortable atmosphere. An area of the deep wall should be left open to allow a passage into the other room. 

And how about a deep wall in antique, rustic style, as seen here? Columns added can become an absolute eye-catching touch.

3. A table as a room partition

A simple trick to separate the kitchen and living room is a table. If you have an ordinary kitchen sharing its open-plan space with a lounging area, then a simple table can visually separate both zones, similar to a kitchen island. And just like an island, a simple dining table can also be the gathering spot for friends and family. 

A rectangular table is a great option, seeing as it can separate the space either length- or width-wise. Adding in a round table could upset the whole linear design, even though it takes up a little less space.

4. A book shelf

Another very simple way to split up a kitchen living room is to set up a book shelf as a wall. High and wide book shelves ensure good visibility when filled with books, and yet it does not give the impression of a completely secluded space, since it is not entirely opaque. In addition, most book shelves also don’t reach all the way to the ceiling, which includes some extra space and breathing room. 

Need a professional touch in your kitchen (or bathroom or garden… )? Check out our range of experts, including Interior Architects, here on homify. 

5. A classic wall

Of course if you want a total separation between those two rooms, a tried-and-tested wall remains your best option, leading to a kitchen that enjoys its own space and layout completely separate from the living room. 

Just note that, seeing as you’ll be baking and cooking in that kitchen, that numerous scents might travel to the adjoining living room, which is not always a good thing. And that’s why an extractor hood is deemed appropriate, to separate the kitchen scents from the living room ones.

Good reasons for an open-plan living- and dining area

Open living spaces are brighter and, above all, more inviting—they convey a sense of freedom and space. And even though the activities of the kitchen and living room aren’t necessarily the same, sometimes one still wants a direct link with whatever’s happening in the cooking space, especially when the chef is applying the finishing touches to the meal and the guests are already seated at the table. 

This way, the entire activity of cooking and meal prepping becomes a social experience and includes everybody, not just those in the kitchen. 

The pros and cons of an open kitchen living area (part 1)

Handleless Kitchen Finished In Farrow & Ball Downpipe Just Click Kitchens Modern kitchen MDF Grey Kitchen,Handleless Kitchen,Farrow and Ball,Downpipe,Dark Grey,kitchen cabinet,Grey kitchen,Modern Kitchen
Just Click Kitchens

Handleless Kitchen Finished In Farrow & Ball Downpipe

Just Click Kitchens

As always, we want you to have all the facts, which is why we are including the benefits plus the downsides of an open-plan kitchen living room to really help you balance all your options. But please note that these can differ greatly depending on individual house designs, space, materials, lifestyles, etc.  

• PRO: Brilliant natural luminosity: as walls are natural light barriers, tearing a few down can do wonders for your interiors' natural lighting.

• CON: Less privacy: having an open kitchen and living room might mean some extra cooking/cleaning noises while you're trying to relax in front of the telly—and vice versa.

• PRO: Better hygiene: As there's an open view between your cooking- and relaxing spaces, it can inspire some to not only adopt healthier cooking methods, but also enhance cleanliness. 

The pros and cons of an open kitchen living area (part 2)

Totteridge N20 modern extension and full refurbishment Compass Design & Build Modern living room lounge area , open plan living
Compass Design & Build

Totteridge N20 modern extension and full refurbishment

Compass Design & Build

• CON: Kitchen safety: an open cooking zone is NOT good when you have little ones with curious hands running around the house.

• PRO: Better resale value: it's a world-wide trend that’s not looking to slow down soon.  

• CON: Scents and smells: an open-plan layout makes it much easier for those curry smells to waft into your living area and seep into the furnishings.  

If you’ve ever asked yourself: “Where should I put my fridge in a small kitchen?”, then we have some good news…  

Why you should opt for an open-plan living room and kitchen if you have a large family.

Extension to semi-detached house, Belfast BT9 Jim Morrison Architects Modern kitchen architects, belfast, architect, extension, kitchen
Jim Morrison Architects

Extension to semi-detached house, Belfast BT9

Jim Morrison Architects

If you have a large family, an open-plan kitchen and family room could be a great choice. While you may not want the little ones running around in the kitchen, the benefits outweigh the cons.

Family game nights will be a lot more fun when everyone can play — the cook included! With an open plan, the living room and kitchen allow for easy access to food, too.

It's easier to keep an eye on your children when everyone is out in the open — whether they're in the family room or the kitchen, you'll know what they're up to. With the layout here, you also have a good view of the backyard. This openness is perfect for knowing what's going on at all times.

Finally, it can feel more casual and inviting in a home when the living room and kitchen fuse together. When you can grab a slice of pizza on your way to the couch, you'll be thanking yourself for choosing an open-plan kitchen and living room.

If you think this could be a good fit for your new home, consider contacting a professional to discuss options. And if you're not a fan of the open-plan, consider these sliding doors to ensure the kitchen remains the cook's domain.

Open or closed – how do you feel about your kitchen space?

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