Many years ago, having the kitchen within the living areas was felt to be unhygienic because of cooking smells and generally unsavoury odours! The kitchen was always in another room which meant that the cook of the evening was stuck in the kitchen on their own whilst the guests were busy enjoying the drinks and nibbles in the next room.
Today, it is a very different story! Some clever architect thought that it would be a good idea to create an open plan kitchen/living/dining area and soon the rest of the world followed suit. Clients, who were worried about how cooking smells when producing an 8-hour casserole or frying onions, found that the new powerful extractor fans took care of that. Technology has really come on a long way and now enables us to open up the kitchen area without the worry of the smell infiltrating the room.
Clients have loved the idea of keeping an eye on the saucepans bubbling away whilst chatting to their guests sitting on the centre island with a glass of wine … people also realised that having their living and dining space in one large area was excellent for parties as well as being home alone for the evening with instant access to drinks and snacks; and a clear view of the TV while cooking certainly make for a much more pleasurable night in.
New builds are mostly developed with this sociable space in mind and open living has become the standard expectation. This lifestyle change has even extended to the older generation that were brought up with the “kitchen banishment ideology!” This demographic is seeing the benefits of an open plan layout and are enjoying the free flow of their living areas.
This way of life has changed how we entertain, buffets have become a very popular way of people helping themselves to a meal rather than the more formal plating, making dinner parties and get togethers more casual, with guests even chipping in and helping with the cooking rather than the burden solely on the host and hostess!
To make the best of your space we advise to subtly divide up the areas using pendant lighting, rugs, dividers or cabinetry to create zones for each area. The goal is to make the areas feel cosy and not like an aeroplane hangar. This is where an interior designer comes into their worth as there is a real skill set in making the areas flow.
At M&Y Interiors we approach each space accordingly, we have, where appropriate recommended a split living open plan area with steps down to a dining or living area giving a Californian casual feel that breaks up the space making it feel large and airy. We often recommend large bi-fold or sliding doors into the garden that flood the area with light.
When we look at designing an open living space we take into consideration the seating positioning with the tv in mind. Open plan often means that the seating is more in the middle of the room with the tv unit on one of the walls. This must work in harmony with the layout of the kitchen. Then we look at the position of the dining table and chairs and the proximity near the kitchen. We even consider the view from the table for example overlooking the garden. So designing this space is not an easy task, there are lots of things to consider and plan for – but when done right it can completely change how you and your family live. Your home will become more harmonious and by combining the areas to create a perfect space for cooking/living/eating you’re futureproofing your home to fit the ever-changing demands of all the family.
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