20 Open Layout Kitchen Ideas That Are Spacious and Functional

open kitchens

Proem Studio

Historically—and by historically, we mean pre-1990s—kitchens served as a private space to prepare meals within the confine of its own four walls. Some older layouts even went as far as hiding the kitchen behind a swinging door. Now, homeowners have embraced the idea of opening up their kitchens to their dining rooms, and often, their dining rooms to their living rooms, too. 

Open kitchens, or modern, open-concept layouts in general, are perfect for casual family living or entertaining, as it encourages seamless movement and interaction from room to room. Eliminating the barrier between the kitchen and social spaces not only works for gatherings, but also opens up your floor plan, giving it the illusion of more square footage.

To get the gist, here are 20 gorgeous kitchens with spacious, open layouts that are sure to provide major inspiration.

01 of 20

Make Your Island the Centerpiece

open kitchen

Design: Julian Porcino, Image: Alex Zaroar, Virtually Here Studios

One of the best parts about an open kitchen design is the integration of an island. This will often serve as the centerpiece to your cooking and entertaining, but we love how this kitchen design also makes it a visual focal point.

Keeping this center island predominantly white and utilizing high-contrast black on either side ensures your eye will always lead you to the visual interest of the space.

02 of 20

Get Creative With Your Layout

open kitchens

Reena Sotrapa

Every home layout is different, so don't be afraid to work with what you've been given. This open-concept design makes use of the adjacent wall to serve as an additional prep space and storage.

03 of 20

Make It Feel Like You

open kitchens

Rikki Snyder

While most open-concept designs boast a modern feel, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the open and inviting layout in your eclectic home. We love how this space exudes such personality while sharing open-kitchen qualities often found in minimalistic homes.

04 of 20

Think Outside the Traditional Island

open kitchens

Erin Wiliamson Design

While most love the extra storage that comes with a kitchen island, a bulky piece can just be yet another obstruction to the view of your gorgeous kitchen. Opting for a cart or something with open shelving can give you the extra prep space you need without hiding the color of your cabinets or your artsy flooring.

05 of 20

Try the Trend in Your Tiny Kitchen

open kitchens

Pure Salt Interiors

Open kitchens aren't just reserved for homes that boast unlimited square footage. Often times, all it takes is the demolition of a single wall to give your small space the illusion that it's bigger.

06 of 20

Eliminate Bulky Cabinets

open kitchens

Tyler Karu Design

Almost every kitchen is designed with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry to hide all traces of pots, pans, dishes, and silverware. However, we're loving this farmhouse-inspired kitchen that makes the most of the below-the-counter storage space and eliminates all traces of cabinets on the walls.

In aiming to create an open kitchen, eliminating bulky cabinets opens up the space and makes the kitchen feel open-concept within itself.

07 of 20

Bring the Outside In

open kitchens

Proem Studio

What could possibly make an open-concept design feel even more open? The addition of bifold doors that merge your interior with your exterior space. If this isn't the ultimate entertaining layout, we don't know what is.

08 of 20

Mix Materials

open kitchens

Reena Sotrapa

If you're adding an island to a previously designed open-concept kitchen, don't get too hung up on making it feel matchy-matchy. Using multiple materials in contrasting colors and finishes, like this granite and wood island against the white and stainless steel backdrop, will make your kitchen feel one of a kind.

09 of 20

Include Only What You Need

OPen kitchens

Ashley Montgomery Design

When redesigning a space, it's easy to want to go all out with additional seating, new cabinetry, and oversized lighting fixtures. But, rather than living beyond your design means, evaluate your needs before installing everything your local hardware chain has to offer. Install only what you need, and we promise: you'll understand how less really is more.

10 of 20

Don't Skimp On the Details

Open Kitchens

Erin Wiliamson Design

Your open-concept kitchen was quite literally designed to see and be seen—be sure it commands the attention it deserves. Dressing it up with an eye-catching backsplash and decorating it with metallic details, interesting shapes, and one-of-a-kind design elements will make your kitchen a stunning backdrop to your other common areas.

11 of 20

Use Color to Highlight Your Space

open kitchens

Maite Granda

An open concept with little to no color throughout can feel stark. But, unless you're into that sort of look, painting your kitchen island in a bright, poppy color will help avoid all the spaces from running together. The cobalt blue cabinets on this kitchen island give your eyes a break from the primarily white and tan space.

Utilize color to add visual interest or to evoke style in your kitchen, similarly to how this ocean blue shade makes the space feel fun and coastal.

12 of 20

Open Up Your Open Concept

open kitchens

Rikki Snyder

As if an open-concept layout wasn't airy enough, the high ceilings in this home opens up the space even more. If the renovation budget allows, you can't go wrong by further extending your space vertically.

13 of 20

Create Extra Seating

open kitchens

Proem Studio

By far, the most obvious yet most functional benefit of an island is the option to convert one side into an additional seating area. Adding a row of barstools along the outside of your island doubles your entertaining space or makes for a casual place to enjoy meals on mornings and weekends.

14 of 20

Make Tweaks to Your Current Layout

open kitchens

Erin Wiliamson Design

Older kitchen layouts often feature a window cutout that almost creates the feeling of an open concept. Take it one step further and knock down the frame to open up the space and create a more modern layout.

15 of 20

Embrace Your Beams

open kitchens

Design: Julian Porcino, Image: Alex Zaroar, Virtually Here Studios

Oftentimes, hidden in the walls are beams that play an important roll in your home's structure. When you begin knocking down walls, you can be left with awkwardly placed beams that serve a huge purpose but make for an eyesore.

Rather than trying to ignore them, incorporate them into the overall design. We love how this space frames the kitchen without sacrificing the newly opened layout.

16 of 20

Create Zones Without Walls

Open kitchens

Reena Sotrapa

While open concept designs are beautiful, walls have traditionally served an important, but little-known purpose. Visually separating spaces creates designated areas for different activities, keeping everything in its place. For instance, cooking is done in the kitchen, meals are had in the dining room, and so on.

When you don't have walls to create zones, use statement lighting to establish rooms within a space. We love how this home uses pendant lighting in the kitchen and a modern chandelier in the dining room.

17 of 20

Maximize Your Minimal Space

open kitchens

Tyler Karu Design

Since not all of us are blessed with unlimited square footage, it's best to pick and choose what parts of a home are most important for you. For instance, if you prefer a larger kitchen but rarely sit at a formal dining table, merge the two spaces to accommodate more counter space and cabinets—and make sure to include and island where you can enjoy your meals.

18 of 20

Make It Cohesive

open kitchens

Pure Salt Interiors

With a kitchen that overlooks a dining room—and a dining room that's butted up against your living room—it takes more than an open-concept layout to make a space flow. Sticking to a clear color scheme in all conjoining spaces will make the overall aesthetic of your home look and feel cohesive.

19 of 20

Give the Kitchen Edge

open kitchens

Erin Wiliamson Design

When you're entertaining in an open layout, it's inevitable that your guests will huddle around your kitchen island. Since this is everyone's favorite space anyway, give it a special touch it deserves—and this funky tile backsplash is the way to do it.

20 of 20

Never Skimp On Style

open kitchens

Design: Julian Porcino, Image: Alex Zaroar, Virtually Here Studios

With less wall space to hang you favorite tchotchkes, it can feel difficult to infuse your personal style. Instead of displaying a ton of small pieces, stick to a few impactful design elements that tie the entire space together.

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