Open-plan kitchen-diners: top tips for creating a cosy space

An open-plan kitchen

Do you have an open-plan kitchen-diner but feel like it is missing something? If you thought compact spaces are difficult to design, well… surprise! Large spaces are often just as tricky to sort.

Whether you are currently renovating or thinking about redesigning your grand space, open-plan kitchen-diners can feel cavernous and cold. However, open-plan layouts also provide plenty of opportunity to create warm, welcoming and cosy spaces.

We know one of the main struggles when it comes to big spaces is striking the right balance between practical and welcoming – but don’t worry, it’s far from impossible. We’ve asked interior designer Roselind Wilson, founder of Roselind Wilson Design studio, to share her industry expertise on making open-plan kitchen-diners feel warm and inviting, despite their grand size.

Curious? Here are her top tips…

Roselind, how can you make open-plan kitchen-diners feel cosy?

You can develop an intimate ambience in a number of ways. People often get a little bit nervous at the thought of being bold with colours – especially deeper hues – but if you want to ground a room to make it feel more inviting, it’s an excellent idea to introduce a combination of complementary light and dark shades.

Grand blue open-plan kitchen-diner with spacious island and dining table
This dark kitchen, along with a dining table with benches, sits in a large yet cosy open-plan space. Design: Granit Architecture + Interiors. Photography: Andrew Beasley.

The beauty is that you can add elements of interest without taking over physical space – this will help to connect the areas and make it feel more united. For example, you could introduce a dark feature wall and then place large artwork on it.

The background will immediately make the pieces stand out and look more attractive, increasing the sense of comfort and cosiness.

Cosy open-plan kitchen-diner with seating area and dining space
In this project in North Finchley, Roselind’s team included a central partition with a revolving TV.

Tell us more about lighting…

Lighting is an absolute must, and more really is more. Several well thought-out layers, working at various levels and controlled by different circuits, will allow you to control the ambience and mood.

Pay particular attention to the colour of the light and add a welcoming feel by steering towards the orange glows of warm whites as opposed to colder, blue-based tones.

Direct brighter task solutions towards the kitchen areas in which you cook and clean, then add a combination of down lights, under-counter glow, and wall lights. Depending on the style of your home, include pendants or chandeliers for drama.

Well-lit grand kitchen with island, dining table and home bar
Layered lighting, including decorative and architectural solutions, creates a cosy ambiance in this scheme from John Cullen Lighting.

What about materials?

Materials in the kitchen are often quite hard, so try to add softness where you can. Depending on the nature of the room, blinds or sheer curtains work well to bring balance. If there is seating, you might choose faux leather for practicality or introduce patterned, tactile fabrics that can be easily cleaned to relax the overall feel of the space.

Banquette seating upholstered in green faux leather in dining area
Victoria Alderson‘s glamorous kitchen includes a rustic dining table with green faux leather banquette seating. Photography: Colin Poole.

Are there any clever design tricks?

Another way of giving large open-plan kitchen-diners definition while creating a sense of intimacy is to include a floor-to-ceiling partition. It won’t intersect the entire room but will subtly divide areas.

The fantastic thing is that it is functional, looks great and can be adapted to suit any style and budget by choice of material or adding artwork.

Big dining table with large chairs and banquette seating and a grand chandelier above
This open-plan kitchen-diner project by Roselind Wilson Design includes a grand dining table with plenty of seats.
Cosy snug with neutral sofa, a cosy throw and lots of cushions hidden behind a partition wall
Behind the partition wall in this kitchen-diner, hides a cosy seating area.

In conclusion, with help from lighting, the right materials and clever design tricks such as partition walls, you can create a warm and welcoming open-plan kitchen-diner.

Banquette seating ideas: how to incorporate them into your kitchen

Featured image:The Haberdasher’s kitchen by Devol. Prices for a full project start from £30,000.

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