Open-plan kitchen interiors have become a trend of recent years in the USA. Combining the kitchen and the dining room is the most relevant organization idea applicable to spaces of any size or layout. Various designer tricks (including visual and functional) are practiced to make the combined room cozier by separating out particular zones.
Combined kitchen and dining room: pros and cons.
- Instead of two tiny rooms, you receive a spacious and airy one. A kitchen/dining room interior appears more contemporary and allows for implementation of any creative design idea of yours.
- After combining these two areas, you can cook while talking with your home-mates. During a dinner party, you’ll be able to go to the kitchen for the next course without breaking the exciting conversation with the guests.
- The kitchen and dining space becomes more convenient for table setting and serving of dishes.
- An open-plan kitchen/dining room encourages you to invite guests and throw parties oftener, to hold family gatherings, celebrations and banquets at home.
- Kitchen smells may stick in gizzard of the guests at the table (especially when your kitchen hood does not keep up). Smells and evaporation also tend to eat into the upholstery of chairs, into curtains and other textiles. So, when opting for an open layout in the kitchen, see about installing a good air extraction system and prefer materials that don’t absorb smells (or at least don’t hold them long).
- Kitchen noises are another issue that can’t be solved with the help of a room divider. Water flowing from the tap, the humming of the kitchen hood and dishwasher, and other noises can be quite annoying to your guests dining at the table. Note that noiseless appliances might cost you a bomb.
- A regular kitchen allows for a slight untidiness, while a walk-through kitchen with a dining area requires permanent orderliness. However, some kitchen divider options are good at disguising the mess in the kitchen part of the space.
- Bear in mind that a kitchen/dining room isn’t a secluded space. Don’t opt for such a layout if you like cooking alone.
If all the above-listed drawbacks of a combined kitchen/dining room are nothing to you, let’s proceed to the kitchen divider ideas.
Why a kitchen/dining room needs a divider?
Psychological studies have proved that a human performs different activities better and more efficiently when each activity takes place in different surroundings. In interior design, the zoning principle relies upon the assumption that a person feels uncomfortable in a huge space that is monotonous and not divided into areas (at least visually). In this regard, opinions of both professional designers and expert psychologists concur: a room of large area with no parts separated out depresses its occupants. In such a kitchen/dining room, you would feel a growing desire to find a secluded spot to have a meal without the sense of emptiness behind your back.
The kitchen is traditionally viewed as a rather intimate room hidden from prying eyes. Contemporary USA designs are at odds with tradition, demonstrating a tendency towards open layouts and exhibition of the kitchen space in an impressive manner. To avoid the unpleasant psychological effects, they recommend that a divider should be employed, separating the huge room into two areas:
- the cooking area (the kitchen itself);
- the dining area, which may flow smoothly into the living area.
Walls are the ultimate separation tool, but not the only one available. The division may be conditional, with only visual means of differentiation applied.
Kitchen division ideas: visual.
- Lighting. Try arranging the lighting fixtures in accordance to the following scheme: illuminate the kitchen area with spotlights; hang a chandelier or several ceiling lamps in the dining area above the table.
- The accent wall. A great idea of highlighting the dining area is to cover a part of the adjacent wall with finer, brighter or contrasting wallpaper. Other walls should be painted or wallpapered in neutral shades.
- Flooring. A reasonable idea for worldly-minded homeowners: separate out the kitchen area with tile flooring and apply hardwood in the dining area.
- Rugs and carpets. It’s the simplest idea of highlighting the dining area without initiating a large-scale home renovation. Carpets may be arranged in different ways and rearranged easily.
- Decorations. The dining area is intended not only for family gatherings, but also for dinner parties, so it should boast an attractive and beautiful appearance. Decorate the area with eye-catching paintings, mirrors, and plants in fine ornamental flowerpot.
Kitchen division ideas: functional.
- Decorative room dividers, screens, curtains. Your kitchen divider may made be from glass, plasterboard, metal or wood, its height ranging from four feet to floor-to-ceiling. Screens intended to separate the kitchen and dining areas can be sliding or folding; sometimes fabric is preferred in the form of curtains.
- Sliding doors. It’s the perfect solution for those who enjoy the idea of an open layout, but sometimes feel the need to stay secluded.
- Furniture. Furniture arrangement options in a combined kitchen/dining room are innumerable. Just to name a few:
- A kitchen bar is convenient for having a light meal at.
- A kitchen island may be employed as a divider in huge rooms. Its position depends heavily on the shape of the ready-built kitchen and the island itself.
- Shelving units, racks, console tables and cupboards are used as room dividers in the kitchen.
- Faux walls are often disguised as double-faced shelving units, which adds up some storage space in the kitchen and dining areas.
- Architectural zoning. Physical division of the room with half-walls, partial walls, columns or ceiling beams requires a creative approach in combination with a good taste. Arches and wide openings are able to separate the two areas clearly, while the space still feels open. Ceiling beams represent the most unobtrusive architect ural zoning option, which may even be categorized as visual division.