10 Open Kitchen Solutions That Will Get Things Cooking

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
Recommended by
In some sense, the kitchen is the center of the home—a warm, cozy spot where everyone tends to gather.

Today, modern living frequently calls for an open plan, where the kitchen, living, and dining rooms merge into one great room. Though this is the perfect solution for hosts who like to entertain and be part of the group while putting the finishing touches on their canapés, it can sometimes be hard to make it fit in seamlessly—and clutter-free—with the rest of your living space. Luckily, with some smart design decisions and a bit of creativity, it’s possible to keep your open plan sleek, modern, and communal while still catering to practical needs.


Find some cool counter seating

This allows your guests to hang out with you while you cook. Plus, it's possible to find a set that reflects the materials and colors found in the rest of your space. 

In this sleek kitchen, the range and wall oven are by BlueStar, the hood is from Zephyr, and the island is Caesarstone.

In this sleek kitchen, the range and wall oven are by BlueStar, the hood is from Zephyr, and the island is Caesarstone.

Photo: José Mandojana

Hide everything with floor-to-ceiling storage 

A bank of extensive cabinets offers ample storage and provides a clean backdrop. 

What was formerly a hallway is now integrated with the kitchen. A bank of floor-to-ceiling cabinets offer storage and an island covered in Carrara marble offers space for working or dining. The barstools are from CB2.

What was formerly a hallway is now integrated with the kitchen. A bank of floor-to-ceiling cabinets offer storage and an island covered in Carrara marble offers space for working or dining. The barstools are from CB2.

Introduce natural light—and lots of it

If you have it—or can get it by opening up the space to windows, be sure to flaunt it. This double-height space encompasses the home's kitchen, dining, and living areas and features glass doors that are 36 feet wide.

The wall of glass that lines this open kitchen connects each area of the combined space with the outdoors and benefits from the natural light that streams in. 

The wall of glass that lines this open kitchen connects each area of the combined space with the outdoors and benefits from the natural light that streams in. 

Photo: Ty Cole

Re-face your cabinets 

This can be the secret to adding character that suits your personal aesthetic. These cabinets were constructed from a single elm tree by carpenter Crisow von Schulz. 

The organically curving lines created by carpenter Crisow von Schulz were intended as a contrast to the rectilinear architecture of the houseboat. The ABK extractor unit allows maximum headroom and preserves the spacious feeling.

The organically curving lines created by carpenter Crisow von Schulz were intended as a contrast to the rectilinear architecture of the houseboat. The ABK extractor unit allows maximum headroom and preserves the spacious feeling.

Photo: Rene Mesman

Search for the right pendant lighting

Depending on the shape, size, and layout of your space, the right pendant lighting can determine the success of your open kitchen. Make sure to find one—or a set—that brings overhead light to the right areas without leaving other sections in the dark. 

Niche's Terra pendants in gray glass draw attention to this kitchen island over which they hang—adding a timeless touch to a modern interior.

Niche's Terra pendants in gray glass draw attention to this kitchen island over which they hang—adding a timeless touch to a modern interior.

Photo: Niche Modern

Keep it light

A neutral palette will open up your sense of space even further.

The neutral color palette of this home extends to the kitchen, which is overhung by several pendant globes.

The neutral color palette of this home extends to the kitchen, which is overhung by several pendant globes.

Photo: Marcin Ratajczak

Invest in high-quality appliances 

If you have the chance to do this, take it while you can. It will bring your space to a whole new level, while making your time in the kitchen more efficient, easy, and enjoyable.

The refrigerator is Sub-Zero, the cooktop and hood are Viking, and the oven is Miele.

The refrigerator is Sub-Zero, the cooktop and hood are Viking, and the oven is Miele.

Don’t be intimidated by a lack of square footage 

While a large great room can be a dream come true, an open plan can also help maximize small spaces. 

San Francisco architect Cass Calder Smith transformed his cramped, inefficient kitchen into a bright, joyous place where he can cook, eat, relax, and get some work done—if he chooses. 

San Francisco architect Cass Calder Smith transformed his cramped, inefficient kitchen into a bright, joyous place where he can cook, eat, relax, and get some work done—if he chooses. 

Install interesting cabinetry 

This could be another chance to add some personal character to your kitchen while playing with open shelving. These plywood sliders were designed to rest at specific positions and fit together like puzzle pieces. 

Don preferred closed cabinets for his kitchen but Dennis didn’t want doors swinging out. Contractor Franklin Pineda custom-built these cabinets using Baltic birch plywood from Anderson Plywood. 

Don preferred closed cabinets for his kitchen but Dennis didn’t want doors swinging out. Contractor Franklin Pineda custom-built these cabinets using Baltic birch plywood from Anderson Plywood. 

Photo: Eric Staudenmaier

Printspiration: Install a statement tile backsplash 

The ceramic tile backsplash of this dreamy black-and-white kitchen by DISC Interiors makes a bold graphic statement. 

In this kitchen by DISC Interiors, the stark black cabinets and kitchen island are offset by light whitewashed floors and white-and-brass accents. To finish off the look, a patterned ceramic tile backsplash packs a punch. 

In this kitchen by DISC Interiors, the stark black cabinets and kitchen island are offset by light whitewashed floors and white-and-brass accents. To finish off the look, a patterned ceramic tile backsplash packs a punch. 

Photo Courtesy of DISC Interiors

Jennifer Baum Lagdameo

@jennifer_lagdameo

Jennifer Baum Lagdameo is a freelance design writer who has lived in Washington DC, Brooklyn, Tokyo and Manila. She is currently exploring the Pacific Northwest from her home base in Portland, OR. Follow her on Instagram @jenniferlagdameo

Comments
Everybody loves feedback. Be the first to add a comment.
The author will be notified whenever new comments are added.