Our 21st century is all about making the most out of the essentials when it comes to design. This doesn’t mean doing without. It means taking the reins, and redefining spaces according to our own needs, not the needs assumed by the approaches of the past.
One way this is expressed is by opening things up, literally, in open concept spaces like kitchens. But, if you’re looking to undertake a project like this, how do you go about it? Writer and kitchens expert August Drilling is here to give us the heads up on open concept kitchens.
Homes with open, more free-flowing layouts are incredibly popular in new constructions today. Additionally, many homeowners who decide to put their home through a remodel often opt to modify their layout to be less segregated and more open. Rather than separate rooms for the kitchen, dining room, and living area, open concept layouts favor one larger connected area. An open concept layout like this creates the illusion of a much larger space, and is great for the entertainment of friends and family.
The desire of open concept kitchens is often one of the biggest reasons for a remodel. If you’re remodeling your existing kitchen, there are many combinations of ways to open up the space. However, depending on your current layout and what methods were used in the construction of your home, not all options may be possible. Also, the choices you make on your kitchen cabinets play a large role in your kitchen environment.
The more natural light, the better
As a good rule of thumb, the more natural light allowed into a room, the larger the room will feel. There are many good ways to add more light to your open concept kitchen space. For example, consider widening an existing window, or adding a skylight to brighten the room from above. If certain structural issues don’t allow for these options, however, try removing walls from inside the house to bring in light from other windows.
Knock down walls
Knocking down walls is typically the go-to strategy for opening a space and creating open concept kitchens, and it really is the most efficient way. The results are immediately apparent: two rooms are instantly combined to become one bigger space.
But, wall removal isn’t always possible. Sometimes, a walls conceal heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, electric work, and support beams. If you choose to knock down walls in these cases, the scope of your project may be greatly increased, making the cost more expensive. Changing your plan entirely, removing part of the wall, or perhaps creating an interior window on the wall are all alternate strategies that can be pursued.
Because soffits bring the average height of the ceiling down, they tend to make a room feel smaller and more cramped. If it is possible to remove the soffits, extend your cabinetry to the full height of the ceiling. Having taller cabinets not only give you additional store and/or display space, but also makes a room feel larger.
Remove the upper cabinets
Kitchens built before the early ’90s often featured four walls, or three walls with another wall created by a peninsula and upper cabinets. If you don’t need the storage space, you can remove the upper cabinets. This option extends your line of sight, and also lets more natural light from adjacent spaces into the room. Additionally, with the upper cabinets out of the way, the peninsula becomes much more useful and accessible.
Another more contemporary strategy to create a more open environment is to remove all of your upper cabinets and only having lowers. In place of the uppers, some homeowners are installing slab shelving, keeping their dishware in plain sight. This is a fun trend that reduces the visual dominance of your kitchen cabinetry.
A kitchen island or peninsula?
Peninsulas with seating are great for entertaining and add a little more functionality to your space. However, they do act as a wall and can interrupt the room’s flow. Instead of jutting out at right angle, try angling the peninsula to open greater than 90°. Instead of a peninsula, an island can be used. Islands preserve the storage, act as a meeting/conversation point in the space, and encourage the connection between rooms.
Whatever methods you end up deciding to utilize for your remodel, make sure to consult with your contractor to see if it is feasible. Also, they might have additional ideas that can aid in perfecting the overall quality of your project.
August Drilling works for CliqStudios.com, online suppliers of high quality kitchen cabinets.