Open-concept kitchens are having a moment. Well, they’ve been having a moment for the past several years now. People have embraced the idea of opening up their spaces to connect their kitchens to their dining rooms—and maybe even connect their dining rooms to their living rooms, too. These open-concept interiors encourage seamless movement from room-to-room, making them particularly great for entertaining. No longer do you have to be holed up in your kitchen cooking a meal, while your guests chat away in your dining room. When these spaces are connected, you can converse while you cook—entertaining and enjoying yourself in equal measure.
The only downside of open-concept kitchens? They can be kind of hard to decorate. When you’re given a massive blank canvas, it’s hard to know where to go next—or even where to start. Thankfully, the interior design world is loaded with chic open-concept kitchen ideas worth replicating in your space. (Honestly, some of them are so cute you may be tempted to recreate them even if you don’t have an open-concept kitchen.)
Add an Island
A kitchen island can be a great way to add counter space without closing off your kitchen. And if you don’t feel like building one into your space, you can always opt for a rollaway island. To keep things feeling cohesive, choose a rollaway island that mimics your cabinetry. And make sure it’s just wide enough to give you extra counter space—without cutting off the pathways into and out of your kitchen.
Invest in Your Backsplash
Bold backsplashes are fun, no matter how your kitchen is laid out. But if your space is open-concept, a sleek backsplash isn’t just nice to have—it’s necessary. Of course, you can go as bold or as subtle as you want to. Just be sure to choose something that you’ll like looking at—and that you’ll love showing off.
Mix Up Your Color Scheme
Matching your built-in kitchen island to your cabinetry is a pretty popular choice, but it’s not a necessary one. So feel free to switch things up. Opting for different colors can make your space feel more dynamic—especially if you top things off with a vibrant rug.
Curate Your Counters Thoughtfully
In a closed-concept kitchen, you can get away with prioritizing practicality above all else. But in an open-concept kitchen, you’ll want to strive for a balance of function and form. So curate your shelves and counters thoughtfully. You’ll want to keep your must-haves within reach—but you might want to throw a few decorative accents in the mix, too.
Keep Your Ceilings in Mind
Using consistent overhead accents—like matching exposed beams—can be a great way to keep your open floor plan feeling cohesive. Having a consistent thread running through your space will enable you to switch up your furniture choices, your palettes, and even your aesthetic as you move from room to room.
Opt for a Corner Bar
A corner bar can add a little privacy to your kitchen without closing it off entirely. This is particularly great for cooks who love to focus as much as they love to socialize. Escape to the closed-off portion of the kitchen any time you need a breather. And hang out in the more open part when you’re looking to converse while you cook.
Make Bold, Thoughtful Choices
When many of us go to decorate our homes, we prioritize our living rooms, our bedrooms—maybe even our dining rooms. And our kitchens fall to the middle of the list. But when your kitchen is open-concept, you can’t afford to make it an afterthought. It’ll be on display, whether you’ve decorated it, or not. So embrace the challenge, have a little fun, and make sure your kitchen looks as daring and sleek as the rest of your home.
Frame Your Island
Framing your island can be a great way to make it feel more connected to your kitchen—without separating it from your dining room. The frame will act like a wall. But because it’s open, it will keep the flow from your kitchen to your dining room feeling completely seamless.
Don’t Be Afraid to Splurge on Your Barstools
In an ordinary kitchen, your barstools might get tucked under your counter—out of sight, out of mind. But in an open-concept kitchen, they might become the focal point of your space. So take advantage of the excuse to do a little shopping, and don’t be afraid to splurge on a seriously cool set.
Ground Your Space with a Cozy Rug
If your open-concept kitchen feels a little too open, add a rug. The rug will break up your space, adding contrast—and a welcome dose of coziness, too. And don’t worry about spills and other mishaps. There are tons of cute performance rugs that are designed to withstand the wear and tear of the kitchen. (Some of them are even machine washable—so you don’t even have to worry about spot-cleaning.)
Most open-concept homes boast a relatively square design. A kitchen lines one wall, a bar runs parallel to it, and a dining room table runs parallel to both of them. But why not do things a little differently and go wide? You can create a pathway that leads directly from your kitchen to your dining room, allowing you to move even more seamlessly between cooking and entertaining.
Of course, a design like this won’t work in any space. But if a more conventional approach isn’t working in your home, this might save you from giving up on your open-concept dreams.
Use Consistent Materials
Keep things cohesive by unifying the materials used in different parts of your space. Your dining room table can echo the wood in your cabinetry. And you can coordinate your dining room chandelier with the lights in your kitchen. (Remember, you don’t need to go too matchy-matchy. So opt for pieces that look like siblings or cousins—not twins.)
Experiment with Darker Colors
Kitchens tend to be pretty light-filled spaces—and they tend to be light in color, too. But that doesn’t mean going dark is off-limits. If a cozier kitchen suits your space, opt for dark cabinets, dark accents, and maybe even dark ceilings, too.
Play with Textures
A wide, open space gives you plenty of room to play. So don’t be afraid to take risks with your textures. Layering wood, rattan, and two kinds of tiles may seem like a recipe for overwhelm. But when surrounded by the white space of an open-concept kitchen, it can come across as surprisingly subtle.
Shake Up Your Structure
Connecting your kitchen to your dining room is an obvious choice. But connecting your kitchen to your living room can be an equally practical one. If you do a lot of entertaining—and if that entertaining looks a little more like a wine-and-cheese night than a dinner party—you might be better off designing your kitchen to open up into a cozy hangout space, rather than a sleek dining room.
Keep Things Cohesive, but Dynamic
Pay attention to the shapes in your space. They can make as much of a visual impact as the colors and prints you choose. If your dining room chandelier is full of crisp, bold lines, echo those shapes in your dining room chairs—and maybe even your barstools, too. By opting for shapes that are similar, you can keep your furniture feeling cohesive, without matching pieces exactly.
Sneak a Booth into Your Space
An easy way to make your kitchen feel extra special? Add a booth. Tucking a booth into your space can be a great way to capture some of that open-concept magic, while keeping things incredibly cozy.
Mix and Match Aesthetics
Mixing and matching aesthetics can be a bold move. But it can also be a great way to add some visual separation to an open-concept space. Go contemporary sleek in your kitchen and mid-century modern in your dining room—or opt for an entirely different combination. Just be sure to keep your palette consistent. It’ll make sure your spaces feel cohesive, even if you pull inspiration from two very different eras.
Spring for a Double Island
If you’ve got a lot of space to spare, consider adding two kitchen islands. Yes, you heard us right—two kitchen islands. You’ll add counter space without closing off your kitchen. And if you’re working with a wide open room, your end result won’t feel cluttered at all.
Add Contrast with Darker Pieces
Walls are rare in an open-concept space—so drawing attention to them can be a lot of fun. Use dark pieces to make your walls stand out in the few places they appear. Even partial walls can make a statement when paired with some high-contrast decor.
Invest Effort from Floor to Ceiling
When you’re decorating a kitchen, you’ve only got a few pieces to worry about—your cabinetry, your countertops, your kitchen island, your backsplash, and your lighting. That’s really it. So feel free to invest a ton of time and effort into each of those pieces. Since they’re big, they’re bound to make an impact. And there are so few of them that you could invest immense care into each one without getting overwhelmed.