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17 of the Best Open Plan Kitchens

Open plan kitchen diner in new self build home
(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

Newly built housing has embraced open plan living completely. One of the most popular layouts, the kitchen-diner-living space reflects how our lifestyles and the way we use our homes has changed. As people are increasingly renovating or extending their current homes —remodelling Victorian terraces and 1930s semis — the demand for a functional and interactive layout is essential.

Creating the perfect atmosphere in your open plan kitchen is a fine art. The practical has to meet the aesthetically-pleasing in a way that suits your home and family. Open plan spaces enhance the feeling of light and space in a home but it pays to think carefully about the design so you don’t sacrifice the opportunity for privacy and cosiness.

Here are 17 great homes that show how a successfully executed open plan layout can work.

(MORE: Get a quote for your new kitchen)

1. A Contemporary Self Build With Open Plan Ground Floor

contemporary open plan kitchen dining living space

(Image credit: c/o Adrian James Architects)

Low pendant lights over the dining table help break up the floorplan in the ground floor of this home. The empty space between the kitchen-diner and living areas creates flexible room for play and entertainment.

2. Characterful Kitchen-Diner with Bifold Doors

traditional style open plan kitchen diner

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Utilising this kitchen’s natural light and abundance of space was essential so an independently-sourced white worktop and bifold doors were included. The flooring is tile throughout, but the wooden beams and furniture bring warmth and a sense of zoning to the area.

(MORE: Get a quote for your new kitchen)

3. Open Plan Kitchen-Diner Extension

Kitchen diner extension to a home created from three listed cottages

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

This kitchen-diner extension to a home created from three listed cottages, is accessed via the living room. A vaulted ceiling in the light-filled kitchen and dining areas creates a sense of space, while the living room ceiling is much lower and features exposed beams for a cosier cottage feel.

Building Regulations

If your home has more than two storeys (as is common where a loft has been converted), then you need to be sure that your open plan space will meet the Building Regulations with regards to fire and escape. This is usually an issue if the open plan area is your main means of escape. In these cases, you may need fire doors between the kitchen and first floor, as well as a fire protected escape route from the first floor.

If the first floor can be exited without having to go through the kitchen and open plan area, then this should not present a problem. In any case, it is sensible to look into fire suppression systems – such as sprinklers and smoke curtains – to limit the spread of fire and smoke throughout the home.

(MORE: Get a quote for your new kitchen)

4. Scandinavian-Style Open Plan Kitchen Extension

Modern open plan kitchen diner

(Image credit: James Morris)

Revolutionising the way the family interacts with their listed barn, this ultra-modern extension features a pitted Amazonian granite worktop that contrasts with the vast amounts of natural light.

5. Open Plan Living, Kitchen and Dining Space

Open plan kitchen, living and dining space in Brighton budget self build

(Image credit: Alistair Nicholls)

The kitchen is the heart of the home in this urban self build — it even features a swing and leads to a small courtyard garden. A triangular kitchen island makes efficient use of the space, while creating a divide between the areas for cooking and relaxing.

6. Kitchen-Diner in a Barn-Style Home

Open plan contemporary kitchen-diner

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

The dining space of this self build is overlooked by a galleried landing. Long pendant lights hung from the double-height ceiling illuminate the dining table in the evening, while large windows at the front and back of the home flood the area with natural light by day.


Some of the best open plan spaces work so well because they have clearly defined zones for various tasks. Ideally, you should divide the room without affecting the flow of light. You may also want some private areas, but if you have young children it is important to think about the sightlines between where you may be working or relaxing, and where they will be playing.

The following are great ways to zone a room:

  • Use breakfast bars, islands or low-level furniture (or low stud walls) to section up the floorplan
  • Where possible, varying the floor levels is extremely effective, but think carefully about safety and steps in areas used for cooking or playing
  • Lighting is an unobtrusive and practical way to zone. Use low pendants over a dining area and spotlights for task lighting
  • Use different flooring in different zones of the room. This also means you can use softer flooring in cosy areas and hard-wearing options in the kitchen-diner

7. Open Plan Living in a Victorian Tin Chapel

Open plan kitchen diner in converted Victorian tin chapel

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

What could have been an overwhelmingly large space in this converted chapel, has been cleverly sectioned into cosy and practical spaces for relaxing and eating. A sofa and ornate rug (just in shot) have been positioned to zone the living area.

(MORE: Get a quote for your new kitchen)

8. An L-Shaped Hand-Crafted Home

Open plan kitchen diner living space in hand crafted self build built on a budget

(Image credit: John Need)

The floorplan of this inviting home creates naturally separated areas of function, but the warm wood throughout encourages informal interaction. Cleverly designed, the space enjoys far-reaching views through large expanses of glazing without compromising privacy.

9. Kitchen, Dining and Family Space with Garden Views

Country style open plan kitchen in timber frame self build

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Located at the rear of the house, this family area is most frequently used and the wooden topped breakfast bar creates a focal point and a place to congregate, while drawing attention to the natural surroundings.

10. Contemporary Woodland Home with Open Plan Kitchen

open plan kitchen diner with double height space

(Image credit: CDMS Architects)

The architect owner of this home has utilised several popular zoning techniques to break up their kitchen-diner. The dining table sits in a double-height space with industrial style lighting, while the kitchen is clearly defined by a lower ceiling and structural column. The sink and worktop for food prep have been positioned facing out into the dining area so that the hosts can talk to any dinner guests from the kitchen.

(MORE: Get a quote for your new kitchen)

How to Keep Cooking Smells Contained

Open plan spaces present the problem of cooking smells and steam filling the whole area. Therefore a good means of extraction is essential. If possible, place the cooker near a window and as far from the living spaces as possible. An efficient cooker hood is also required, but look for models that are quieter so as not to interrupt people relaxing in the living area.

If you are still concerned about smells and steam (or noise — more on which below), then it might be sensible to install sliding pocket doors between the kitchen and living room.

11. A Remodelled and Extended Bungalow

Contemporary open plan kitchen diner in remodelled bungalow

(Image credit: Alistair Nicholls)

A large extension to the rear of a 1950s bungalow has created a versatile open-plan living space. This is partially open to the hallway, separated by a curved glass wall which allows the flow of light between the front and back of the home. A slate-effect feature wall in the living area helps to create a defined zone for relaxing.

(MORE15 great ways to bring in light from above)

12. Contemporary Extension for Modern Living in Old Farmhouse

Modern open plan kitchen diner in extended farmhouse

(Image credit: David Barbour)

White walls and light coloured furniture creates a bright and breezy flow to this extended farmhouse. This kitchen is subtly zoned with lighting: the pendant lights hang intimately low while the high ceilings enhance the sense of light and space.

(MOREClever lighting design ideas for your home)

13. Loft-Style Open Plan Kitchen

Industrial-style open plan kitchen diner

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

New York loft-style has been mimicked in this open plan kitchen and enhanced with industrial style lighting and exposed brick. The double-height void above the dining area (out of shot) and a third floor habitable room meant that a sprinkler system was required to meet Building Regulations.

(MORE: Get a quote for your new kitchen)

Sound Control

Open plan spaces with hard flooring and lots of smooth surfaces are bound to be noisy and prone to echo. To minimise this, use soft flooring or rugs in the living areas and remember that soft furnishings and textiles will absorb noise too.

You should also plan the layout to minimise disruption. If you want an office or homework zone, keep this away from the TV or play areas. It is also a good idea to look for appliances that claim to be quieter, but check out their reviews to see how people find them in practice.

14. Renovated 1960s Self Build

open plan kitchen diner with mezzanine

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

This home features an open plan mezzanine level with spare bedroom, allowing light to flow freely throughout the building. Practical concrete flooring on the ground floor unifies the space, while the wooden structure and panelling bring warmth and colour.

15. An Uncomplicated Kitchen with Built-in Storage

Open plan kitchen diner with pendant lights

(Image credit: Martin Gardner, Michael Sinclair)

Colour blocking through this large open plan living area is essential for the feeling of movement within a shared space. The blue-toned kitchen conceals a larder — a popular way of maximising on potential lost space when designing an open plan kitchen. A bespoke kitchen table and light sofa complete the zoning effect.

16. An Eclectic Chapel Kitchen

open plan kitchen diner in eclectic chapel conversion

(Image credit: Chris Humphreys)

The kitchen-diner with a vaulted ceiling sits in the former vestry, and a mezzanine level has been added above the living area creating a lower ceiling. Wooden flooring has been used in the cosy living room, and stone in the kitchen with its industrial-style fittings. A double-sided woodburning stove can be enjoyed from both sides of the room.

17. Stylish Combined Living Space Makes the Most of the Light

Open plan kitchen diner in new self build home

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

Combining the kitchen, dining and living spaces maximises limited space and natural lighting. The industrial style used throughout unites the areas, while a snug is separated by a double-sided fireplace, containing the woodburning stove.

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