86% of home improvers go for an open plan kitchen – here's how you can too | Real Homes

86% of home improvers go for an open plan kitchen – here's how you can too

Dreaming of an open plan kitchen? We've rounded up some practical advice on how to make it happen

Lighting by Fritz Fryer
(Image credit: Fritz Fryer)

Open plan kitchens are one of the most sought after features of a modern home, thanks to their light, spacious and versatile design. And quite frankly we love them. Looks like we aren't the only ones either, as new statistics revealed by Insulation Express (who patiently analysed every episode of Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer’s Love It or List It to get these stats) show that 86 per cent of home renovators go for an open plan kitchen. 

Obviously, open plan kitchens look gorgeous, but the main reason for this reno decision is actually down to the fact that barely any of us have much use for a separate dining room anymore. Creating a sociable space in which to cook and eat together is way more covetable, plus, it's usually just a case of knocking down a wall to amalgamate the spaces. So in terms of effort and cost, it's a relatively easy transformation. 

Reckon that open-plan kitchen life could be for you? Let's make it happen. We've rounded up some practical tips and inspiring ideas to help kickstart your project. For loads more info, head over to our guide on how to design an open plan kitchen

How to create the best open plan kitchen 

Zone your space

In the very early stages of designing your open plan kitchen, think about what 'zones' you need in your new space. Obviously, there is the kitchen itself where the cooking will happen, but then you also need space for a dining area, or maybe you want to fit in a mini lounge too, complete with a sofa and coffee table...

Where the kitchen goes will probably dictate everything else, so decide on that first. Although not essential, locating the kitchen by an external wall is convenient for both waste water and ducting for an extractor fan. An external wall is also useful in the kitchen zone for locating potentially heavy base and wall units.

open plan kitchen diner with industrial feel by fritz fryer

(Image credit: Fritz Fryer)

Next thing to think about is where the dining table will go. You don't want to be trekking across the whole room to serve dinner, so keep it close to the kitchen. And it's nice to have natural light over or near a dining space, so think about positioning the dining zone near windows or below a skylight. Once the essential kitchen and diner elements are covered then you can see if you can fit in a more relaxed lounge area. 

Choose the best shaped kitchen 

If you are starting from scratch with your kitchen when you make your space open plan, consider all the shapes you could go for and pick the one that will suit your space and how you move around it best. 

A linear galley kitchen could work if you have a larger space and need plenty of cabinets for storage, this is also a great shape for visually and physically marking off the kitchen zone from the rest of the room.

U-shaped kitchens are another option if you are keen to make your kitchen feel separate but still remain part of an open plan space.

L-shaped kitchens are best if your space is smaller as space will remain open. Of course, you could add an island to divide the kitchen from the rest of the room without taking up too much space. 

Open plan living room, kitchen and diner

(Image credit: Future/Chris Snook)

Go with the best colour scheme for your kitchen 

The fun bit! Picking the right colour for your open plan kitchen. Since there is inevitably going to be more light in your new space and the kitchen is just one small part of the room you can afford to be a bit braver with the colours you choose. We personally love darker colours in an open plan kitchen – blues, greens and greys. You can then use these colours elsewhere in the space to create a harmonious look. 

open plan kitchen diner with yellow accents and woods by malcolm menzies

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Pick quiet appliances 

A big thing to bear in mind when choosing appliances for your open plan space is noise. Definitely look at the noise levels of appliances when you’re buying. A loud washing machine or dishwasher could be really intrusive if it’s not designed to be quiet.

Do you planning permission to create an open plan kitchen?

Demolishing walls to create an open-plan layout doesn’t usually require planning permission.

If you’re extending to create an open-plan layout, this can often be achieved under the permitted development regime. However, you should check with your local authority’s planning department to verify that this applies in your case.

Structural changes will require the input of a structural engineer, and the building regulations will apply to aspects of the work, too.

Find our more about planning permission in our beginners guide. We've covered everything you need to know about permitted development rights, too.

For more information found in the study head to insulationexpress.co.uk.