Your Guide to Creating An Open-Plan Kitchen

See why ditching your dining room in favor of an eat-in kitchen is the wave of the future.

The kitchen is often called the hub of the home, and for a while we've seen spaces designed to open to adjacent family rooms, creating a more intimate, homey feeling. Now formal dining rooms are following suit: in many homes, they've effectively become obsolete, being absorbed by the kitchen, creating larger, more functional spaces - as seen in this room by Jute.

Homeowners have broken free of formality and embraced floorplans that combine rooms for optimal use. There's no sense in wasting square footage on a room that's only used sporadically. Considering an open-plan kitchen? The key to design success in these spaces is to separately define the dining and kitchen prep-areas, while ensuring the combined space is harmonious. Read on for why these rooms get it right.

_1A mix of materials and surfaces keeps the eye moving in these large spaces and prevents visual boredom. If your countertops are granite, opt for a wood table with chrome light fixtures. If you have butcher-block counters, a marble-top table set underneath iron light fixtures is a good way to introduce a variety of texture into the space.

Why it Works: The Open Plan Kitchen Why it Works: The Open-Plan Kitchen Why it Works: The Open-Plan Kitchen
 Stainless Steel and Calcutta Island, $7800, Old Plank  Romy Dining Table, $1495, Jayson Home  Berthillon Kitchen Island, $1995, Williams-Sonoma

_2 Using an assortment of lighting fixtures and styles will define the kitchen and dining areas as different zones, though they may only be separated by mere feet. Switch up the styles of your sconces, pendants, and chandelier to keep the design cohesive, but dimensional.

Why it Works: The Open-Plan Kitchen Tangeled-ChandelierThumb Why it Works: The Open-Plan Kitchen
 Piedmont Lantern, $249, Ballard Designs  Tangled Chandelier, $285, Schoolhouse Electric  Pair of Vintage Pendants, $1750, 1st Dibs

_3 Combining kitchen and dining spaces doesn't mean you have to lose all of the décor components which make dining rooms special. By introducing art, vintage and antique seating, beautiful draperies, and decorative accessories, you can still give the design of your open-plan kitchen the high-end look of a formal dining room.

ArtThumb Why it Works: The Open-Plan Kitchen Why it Works: The Open-Plan Kitchen
 Blue Aurora Print, $149, West Elm  Reclaimed Pine Hutch, $1999, Wisteria  Kiran Curtain Panels, from $30, Crate & Barrel

_4 By distinguishing the look of your kitchen barstools from your dining chairs, you can evoke the feeling of a separate dining room and make the space dynamic and interesting while you're at it.

Why it Works: The Open-Plan Kitchen Why it Works: The Open Plan Kitchen GuestStoolThumb
 Charlotte Perriand Barstools, $1575 for four, 1st Dibs  French Victorian Tufted Armchair, from $499, Restoration Hardware Square Guest Stool, price upon request, BDDW 

Are you considering an open-plan kitchen? Tell us about your renovation plans in the comments below.

Photographs: Jute, Andrew Arthur, Jessica HelgersonJessica Helgerson, Mim Design, Nate BerkusRebekah Zaveloff InteriorsSarah Richardson, Steven GambrelTania Hendelsmann, via AHomeStokholm

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