Open kitchens are the latest trend in kitchen design, allowing for more efficient cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and all-around multitasking. Open kitchens are very popular here in The Bay Area and is the most popular option for new kitchen designs. When designing your open kitchen, you’ll want to create a room that feels inviting and spacious but allows easy mobility and lacks clutter; no easy feat. Whether your modern open kitchen is sleek and minimalistic or bold and bright, there are many factors you’ll need to consider when designing its features and overall layout.
In this article, we’ll discuss several tips and tricks that will show you how to create a modern open kitchen design. You’ll learn what elements are key to promoting the ideal open layout in your kitchen, as well as how you can ensure it has a modern flair. Everything you need to know about creating the perfect open kitchen, from storage to color choice to flooring and more, is here!
Remove View and Movement Obstructing Obstacles
When designing a modern open kitchen, the priority you need to focus on is its key layout term “open.” An open floor plane essential means you have one large room with minimal to no physical barriers between it and other rooms in the home. Therefore, your first step when designing this space is to either remove obstructions if you’re remodeling your kitchen or to refrain from adding unnecessary barriers to your floorplan.
If you’re remodeling your current kitchen to have an open floor plan, you’ll want to remove view and movement obstructing obstacles that separate your kitchen from the rest of your home. This will help the kitchen feel more spacious and inviting as it will be more easily visible and accessible from other rooms.
The best way to open up a kitchen’s floor plan is to start removing any walls or similar barriers that create a clear boundary for your kitchen. If a wall separates your kitchen from perhaps an adjacent eating room, tear it down!
Other common features of homes built between the 80s and 90s are kitchen desks and peninsulas with cabinetry installed above. Kitchen desks often go unused by modern-day homeowners, or they’re filled with clutter that could be more efficiently organized elsewhere. It is far better to remove these features to create more space or to repurpose them for a modern feature or appliance instead.
Kitchen peninsulas can often double as a bar, a fantastic and common feature in modern open kitchens that prioritize being a communal space. However, if cabinets are installed above this feature, it blocks off the view in and out of the kitchen, making it feel more closed off. So, if you want to keep your kitchen peninsula, you can, but we recommend removing any cabinetry installed above.
Increase Vertical Space
Creating an open floor plan certainly revolves around having ample space in your kitchen for easy mobility as well as hosting guests and family members. However, another element of an open floor plan is making the kitchen feel large as a whole, not just in the immediate walking space. You’ll also want to think about your vertical space as well.
When designing an open kitchen, remember to think about how much vertical space you’re allowing as well as horizontal space around kitchen features. Vertical space can help an otherwise small kitchen feel significantly larger, and it can help when ensuring the installation of storage features like racks and shelving don’t feel like they’re cluttering the space.
There are a number of crafty design choices you can make to help your kitchen feel taller, such as installing slim cabinets, using reflective surfaces like metals and mirrors, or simply painting them white to make them feel brighter and more open.
However, if you want to physically increase your kitchen’s vertical space, you can raise the roof several inches. This might be a pricey endeavor for some, but it can make a world of difference in your kitchen’s overall aesthetic.
Alternatively, if raising the roof isn’t an option, try to remove features that overpower your ceiling space, such as bulky light fixtures. Soffits are another common feature of the 80s and 90s homes that mostly take up roof space in order to hide wires, ductwork, and plumbing. Removing these can instantly help your feeling feel 7+inches taller.
Create Purposeful Zones
All kitchens have zones, regardless of the chosen plan or when they were made. These zones are usually split between different tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, prepping, and so on. While these zones still apply to modern open kitchens, they’re placed a bit more strategically in a unique way to their time.
Up until recently, the kitchen was a secluded space where people prepared dishes privately while guests or family members waited in another room. With the rise in open kitchens and new modern tastes, this space has become a social hub that emphasizes entertainment and the creation of culinary wonders in front of others. Because of this, the location of zones has shifted.
Instead of dishes being cooked and prepared along the many counters lining the kitchen walls, modern kitchens often have the primary cooking appliances and prep stations front and center, most commonly on a large central bar or island where guests often sit across from a stovetop or a large sink.
Suppose a major appliance is not located within the central island itself. In that case, it is directly behind it, so the host may continue prepping, cooking, or cleaning while still being within talking distance of anyone sitting at the bar or island. From there, all kitchen essentials are organized around this primary zone.
Designing your modern open kitchen this way allows you to uphold the value of blending cooking with entertainment while also providing essential structure to this space. Strategically placing zones will help your kitchen flow much better while also helping you create specific sections for specific purposes or tasks.
You can even extend your zone creation to other rooms by using furniture to help set your open kitchen apart from adjacent rooms without adding physical barriers, like walls, that would otherwise inhibit an open design.
Keep Design Elements of Other Rooms in Mind
This is an important design tip that many homeowners overlook when they start planning their new or remodeled kitchen.
An open kitchen will be visible from multiple rooms, so you’ll want to make sure elements of its design either match or compliment design choices in adjacent rooms.
It’s a simple tip but effective. Because open kitchens are such large and visible spaces, the last thing you want is for it to starkly contrast the rest of your home. To prevent this, look at the rooms surrounding your kitchen and consider how they are designed. Your goal is to design your kitchen in a way that is unique but still matches or compliments the design elements of adjacent rooms. You can do this by matching colors, textures, flooring, and more.
Another way you can help your kitchen blend in with the rest of your home is to directly pair it with whatever room is directly next to it, like a living room or eating room. This will help the space feel even larger and uniform in design.
Choose the Right Materials
Now, let’s move away from how you can ensure your kitchen has an open floor plan and focus more on ways you can help it exude modernity. A great place to start with this is by incorporating modern, trending materials.
The most common modern materials found in kitchens today are:
- Dark or natural woods
- Natural stones like marble and granite
- Metals like gold, brass, and stainless steel
Each of these materials has its unique places within the modern kitchen and gives it an unequaled aesthetic. Dark or natural woods are an incredibly common material for countertops nowadays, especially for homes that prefer the rustic, farmhouse aesthetic. Woods are also used as accent pieces, such as wood ceiling beams, for an additional kitchen charm that can easily be carried throughout the home.
Natural stones became increasingly popular around the 70s when there was a rise in the use of granite for countertops. While granite is still a popular choice, more and more homeowners are shifting their view to the wood counters mentioned previously or marble counters. As a more luxury item, marble is a hot commodity in any modern home and has even been seen used for gorgeous backsplashes or flooring as well as countertops.
A classic sign that a kitchen has a modern flare is when the hardware and appliances have a metallic shine. Long gone are the days of simple cabinet and drawer knobs. In modern kitchens, these pieces of hardware become vibrant pops of color as many are made of bright metals like gold or brass. Stainless steel can also be seen glimmering on more than one surface, namely refrigerators, microwaves, and dishwashers.
Don’t Overlook Seating
As we mentioned previously, it is an important part of any modern open kitchen, so you’ll want to make sure you give your guests every opportunity to rest comfortably in this space without inhibiting your ability to cook and clean.
A new priority in modern kitchens is providing ample Seating for guests that is comfortable, unique, and doesn’t disrupt the kitchen’s open floor plan. Some of the best ways to accomplish this are to consider giving your large kitchen bar or island a waterfall countertop edge. Another option currently returning to popularity is breakfast nooks, where you can seat more guests in a comfortable booth rather than a few on tall bar stools.
Waterfall countertops will help ensure you have as much countertop space as possible while also providing a convenient place to tuck away your bar stools when they aren’t being used, so they aren’t a tripping hazard. Of course, you don’t want just any bar stools in your modern kitchen. A great way to spruce up this space, especially if it boasts a more modern minimalist design, is to have unique bar stools as statement pieces as well as viable Seating.
Breakfast nooks are a less common modern kitchen element, as they originally became popular in the 1920s. However, as kitchens became increasingly social spaces, these seating booths have made a comeback in recent years, as they can seat a larger number of guests in a separate space that isn’t directly in front of the central island/bar.
Incorporate Modern SMART Appliances
The epitome of modernity is its increasingly innovative technologies, and so, it stands to reason that the more of this technology you can incorporate into your open kitchen, the more modern it will be.
There are many kitchen appliances and features that utilize modern technology, most notable SMART technology, for optimal convenience and luxury. These SMART technologies can be found on refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, and even range hoods.
If you truly want to take your modern kitchen to the next level, we highly recommend investing in one or even all of these SMART technology appliances. Each is built with its unique features to aid in cooking, food preparation, and kitchen management, as well as modern luxuries, such as allowing users to play music in the kitchen or pull up a recipe on the display screen.
Built-In Appliances and Storage
The final tip on our list is essential for a kitchen to have an open layout and a modern aesthetic. For any kitchen to feel open, it needs to be devoid of clutter, and reducing clutter is a key element of modern design.
To reduce kitchen clutter and promote an open and modern design, homeowners should consider having all of their appliances and storage elements built-in to the cabinetry and other features lining the kitchen walls so they are all flush with one another. This will get appliances off the counters and provide more floor space by having everything equidistant from the wall.
If you have shallow cabinets, this might be a difficult feat, but for the most part, you’ll see the majority of modern homes have all of their ovens, microwaves, refrigerators, and other popular appliances surrounded by cabinetry for a sleek, clean, and modern look. Many will even place their dishwasher within the central kitchen island, especially if the sink is also located here, for maximum clean-up ease.
Not only does this approach help reduce counter clutter in your modern kitchen, but it will also help it feel bigger and much more open, which aids its open floorplan.
Element Home Remodeling is a kitchen remodeling contractor based in Mountain View, CA. We service the entire Bay Area and offer open, modern and spacious kitchen designs. Contact us to learn more and to schedule a free consultation.
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