Next Up

15 Open-Concept Kitchens and Living Spaces With Flow

By: Amanda Lecky
January 15, 2016
Perfect for casual family living or easy entertaining, these bright, airy, stylish spaces are multifunctional and fun. But for an open layout that’s both inviting and efficient, it helps to understand the art and science behind top designers' choices. Here, 15 pros share their best strategies for heart-of-the-home cooking and living centers.
Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
1 / 15
Photo: Jodie Cooper, Jodie Cooper Design; Photo by D-Max Photographers

Creative Solution

In a new home, designer Jodie Cooper took the concept of dramatic lighting to new heights, using a custom-made "bulkhead" suspended from the ceiling by chrome rods to light the kitchen and dining area. "The bulkhead also helps to visually define the kitchen area without losing the loft-style feel," she says. And, she notes, "having a modern kitchen doesn't need to translate to having modern decor. By blending pieces, such as retro dining chairs, Chinese antiques and a rustic dining table combined with Turkish patchwork rugs, we created texture and layers, which add a kind of Bohemian style to the home to create what I call a 'Global Eclectic' interior."

More photos after this Ad

2 / 15
Photo: Robert Wilson, Granit Chartered Architects; Photo by Andy Beasley

Details Matter

In a contemporary addition, architect Robert Wilson chose materials and fixtures carefully to create a multifunctional space with a unified style. For example, a row of pendant fixtures over the kitchen island not only acts as a visual punctuation mark, dividing the workspace from the adjacent seating area, but also "injects a glow of bright yet polished radiance," he says. Tile flooring throughout the entire room keeps the look simple and pulled-together.

More photos after this Ad

3 / 15
Photo: Stuart Disston, AIA, Austin Patterson Disston Architects; Photography: Peter Murdock

Indoor-Outdoor Appeal

Perfect for casual weekend living, this Hamptons beach-house dining/family room has a close connection to the kitchen, as well as to outdoor living areas. Glass doors on the ground level slide all the way into the walls, opening the family/dining room and living room to an expansive deck area. The rooms can be entirely open or protected from mosquitoes with a screen system, allowing for summer breezes, ample entertaining areas and restoring connections to nature. "A consistent — but not overwhelming — thread of blue follows throughout these ground-level spaces: blue kitchen cabinets, blue custom rug and touches of blue walls," note the architects.

More photos after this Ad

4 / 15
Photo: Carlton Architecture + DesignBuild; Photography by David Dietrich

Unifying Design

In an open-plan concept, designers strive not only to create separate zones within one large space but to make the end result feel cohesive. In this home, the designers at Carlton Architecture + DesignBuild did both with finesse. "We divided individual spaces with furniture groupings and circulation. Common materials such as steel, rift-sawn white oak cabinetry, and dark stained oak floors are used to unify the three areas," they explain.  

More photos after this Ad