Open Plan Kitchen Living Areas – How to Create Space in a Smaller House
Tuesday,20 February 2018

When you are building a home on a narrow lot, or you are building a small house, your main aim is to create the feeling of space.

With clever design, even the tightest floor plan can feel spacious. One popular idea is to combine the kitchen and living areas into one large open plan area.

Open Plan Living

Gone are the days where the sitting room was a separate room at the front of the home, and the kitchen was separate towards the back of the house.

Sure some people still like to have a formal lounge or sitting room away from the hustle and bustle of the main living area, but it’s in addition to a living area. An open plan kitchen and living space are what the majority of new homeowners most want to create that spacious feel.

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Open Plan Kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of the home. In the morning, there is breakfast, coffee and school lunches to prepare and in the evening, dinner prep and helping with the homework. For everyday living and entertaining, it’s important not to tuck the kitchen away otherwise the person who spends most of the time preparing meals can feel cut off from the rest of the family or guests.

When children are young, open plan kitchens allow a parent to prepare meals with their children still in sight but without having them in the dangerous kitchen area.

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Kitchen Dining Room and Living Combination

Most people have heard of the kitchen triangle where you want to keep the sink, fridge and stove in easy reach of each other. The same concept can apply to the kitchen, dining and living combination. You need to decide which areas you want to be closest to each other, so it’s the best combination for your family.

The placement of the kitchen and living area is important. Some people want to be able to see the TV while they are cooking or cleaning up the dishes while others would prefer to place the two areas away from each other because of the noise.

Another consideration is to keep the dining table within easy reach of the kitchen to reduce the time it takes each night to serve and clear away the dishes.

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If you entertain outdoors regularly, you may want to keep the kitchen near the doors leading outside.

Open Floor Plan Decorating & Furniture Layout

Just because you have an open plan area, doesn’t mean you can’t still have some separation between the zones. One of the easiest ways of creating zones is to use furniture.

In the living area, bring your lounges in from the walls and create an area that will encourage conversation. A rug placed in front of the lounge chairs also helps define the space.

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Lighting can also be used for zoning an area. One or more pendants over the dining table make it look like the eating area, and pendants or downlights over the kitchen bench define the preparation area.

A narrow open plan living area can be made to feel wider with the right furniture. Choose lounges that aren’t too bulky or deep and don’t overfill the space with too many pieces. The more cluttered the area is, the less spacious it will feel.

Furniture that you can see through or under also helps give the illusion of more space. Glass or perspex dining and coffee tables will make the area look bigger than one made of heavy wood.

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Keep your decorating pieces to a minimum. Use your walls rather than floor space and keep the clutter to a minimum. Choose a few pieces you love.



Extend your living area by letting the outside in. Choosing doors that open up to your backyard or alfresco will give you more entertaining options and make the area feel large, especially if you use similar flooring inside and out.

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By choosing an open plan living kitchen, you will be able to create the feeling of space in your narrow or small lot home. Ask the experienced team at Start Right Homes how they can help on (08) 6189 8795 or contact us online.