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Kitchen Living Room Design

Kitchen Living Room Design or Open Concept

The definition of “open floor concept” when used in architecture is referring to a house in which two or more spaces have been combined to form a much larger space by eliminating some of the walls that would divide the rooms.  Kitchen and living room combos are vastly popular and are great for casual family living offering a perfect place for entertaining guests.  This type of floor plan is airy and multifunctional and the foundation for modern design.  By combining the two spaces where families spend most of their waking hour’s homeowners are improving the functionality features of their homes and bringing a livelier atmosphere to the past formal living spaces.

History of Open Floor Concept

The open floor plan is a relatively new concept that was birthed in the post-war 1950s. Though Frank Lloyd Wright began to design homes with large open living space that combined the dining and living areas and often was separated by a large open fireplace in the late 1800s.  At that time the kitchen was still very much a separate utilitarian service area and not used for socializing.

The post-war years brought about hundreds of thousands of young growing families with children (Baby Boomers) and formality began to give way to a more casual lifestyle.  Kitchens were being incorporated into the open floor concept allowing for parents to have children nearby for supervision during meal prep. A hallmark of the midcentury modern decor style is one of the early version of open floor plans. Since the 1990s the kitchen living room design has been dominant in new construction and has been the choice in many major remodeling projects for older homes.  Kitchens have now become the heart of the home a place where daily lives revolve.  The combined cooking, dining and living spaces are often called Great Rooms.

Another reason for the consideration of an open floor plan was to accommodate higher population densities.  There were more homes being built in the same amount of space previously used for fewer homes.  This was especially true in urban areas.  Since the footprint of the house was the same but the size of the family had grown, incorporating kitchen living room design allowed families more functional living space.  The previous home design offered a hallway with rooms off of it and included formal living spaces such as libraries or a study and formal living and dining areas whereas the new open concept combined the kitchen and living area and did away with the formal study, living and in many cases formal dining room.

Kitchen Living Room Ideas

Often the open kitchen area is linked to a dining area.  This can consist of a breakfast bar to a classic dining table and chairs.  The dining table offers a border dividing the food prep area from the rest of the living space.  The kitchen island a perfect working surface and can include a sink or cooktop often also used to separate the living space from the kitchen area.  Extra cabinetry for storage can be housed on the island and can also provide a bar area for seating.  The centrality of the island allows for several people to work in the kitchen at the same time and provides a perfect place for socializing with the cook in an open concept.

The design of your kitchen living room should be aesthetically pleasing together.  The color scheme will be complimentary and the furniture style similar.  In many open concept design styles, the living room is divided from the kitchen area by the arrangement of the furniture.  The sofa is often used to make the delineation of spaces and the seating is clustered together,  centered over a floor covering.  Bright lighting is of the utmost importance in the work areas of the kitchen but is often softer and more ambient in the living room space.

The inclusion of a dining table and chairs in this open concept provides ease in preparing a meal and serving since close proximity to the kitchen space makes filling serving dishes quick and keeps the cook involved in the conversation.  Open floor plans offer a more unifying guest/host experience and go with the more casual lifestyle we enjoy today.

Pros and Cons to Kitchen Living Room Design

One advantage to updating your home with an open floor plan is resale value.  A vast majority of homeowners are shopping for homes with an open concept.  The reason for most is the fostering of individual activities and yet greater socialization in the family that comes with this design.  Another benefit is when entertaining large groups space becomes very versatile and can be expanded in many ways to accommodate large parties.

Better traffic flow is a plus and is accommodated with limited doors and no walls to hinder movement.  A major benefit is the shared light.  Windows in a closed floor plan only allow natural light in a particular room but with an open floor plan, natural light can spill into the entire living space.  Also with the expansion of three spaces to one, even a small home can appear spacious.  Lastly, communication is enhanced with the elimination of walls and doors to separate family and friends from sharing lives and avoiding isolation.  This especially benefits young parents in supervising children while completing everyday tasks.

There are some disadvantages to a kitchen living room design and one can be the cost to move wiring and plumbing for the kitchen.  The kitchen is one of the more costly rooms in the house to remodel and can cause the most inconvenience to homeowners during construction.  When eliminating walls another support must be implemented in the home. Steel beams are usually incorporated for support and can be costly. Larger rooms are often more expensive to heat and cool and by opening the spaces it eliminates the ability for closing off unoccupied rooms which can increase utility costs.

Lastly, there is no hiding of clutter when guests arrive.  The open concept keeps the family’s habits transparent to all who visit.  There is also a lack of privacy for individuals in the family that need a quiet environment for reading or studying.

In the end, the specific need and taste of each homeowner is the driving factor to whether an open floor plan is right for their family.  At present, the marketplace upholds this design in regards to homebuyers choosing to purchase a home.

A related article Open Floor Plans.

Take a look at several open floor plan designs below: