Layout and Concepts: Broken Vs. Open Plan Kitchen
Modern living is now characterized by the unique concept of an open plan design. But the recent design trends still consider kitchen as a "semi-private" space by many interior designers.
Open plan vs. broken plan kitchen
An open-plan kitchen opens up your kitchen space with the rest of your home interiors and is not divided with any wall. This concept promotes a family-oriented atmosphere which encourages better socialization during family events. The main benefit of this plan is that you don't need to go back and forth to the kitchen just to get some foods and drinks. Also, the open-type kitchen doesn't isolate you from the rest of the living spaces, thus allowing you to see everything in full view while cooking.
The lack of tangible partitions efficiently integrates relaxation, food preparation, and socialization in the concept of open-type planning. Unfortunately, exposing your kitchen mess to the public appears to be its major drawback. Since there are no interior walls, expect these unpleasant kitchen clutters and loud sounds of the dishwasher to ruin your family time in the living area. But you can resolve this design flaw using the concept of "broken plan."
Broken plan applies the unique concepts of creating invisible zones using raised floors, changes in materials and application of glass partitions and pieces of furniture. The general idea is to use subtle divisions that will separate two individual spaces without losing the essence of the open plan layout. It's necessary to define the specific zones for each area, so your beautiful kitchen won't appear like "displaced" with the rest. What you can do is to create some visual links that will provide your kitchen a cohesive appearance.
The broken plan design suggestions
1. Making the color choices consistent
If you wish to link different zones to your modern kitchen, consider using a unified color scheme for two individual spaces. Black granite backsplashes, for instance, may appear consistent in the dining area that features natural stone on the walls. Alternatively, running the granite flooring from the kitchen to the dining area is also possible. Matching the color of your structural beams to the overhead cabinets can be another excellent idea.
2. Variations on kitchen materials
You can make the entire kitchen design work cohesively according to your preferred material. For example, if the countertop of your island kitchen is made of granite, you may use the same countertop material over your dining table. This would create an excellent visual connection from one zone to another. Another bright idea is to use light wood materials on dining chairs, breakfast tables, and cabinets at the kitchen.
The style of the furnitures is also crucial to assemble the living zones in one unified look. It's significantly important, particularly where the style will extend into and becomes a part of your living space. Glass partitions, for instance, may look glamorous and stylish if you position them beside your glass top dining table. Alternatively, you can run a single cornice detail, starting from the living area all the way to the kitchen.
3. Employing smart architectural solutions
Breaking down walls is not the only solution to widen up any available space or create a connection between two different spaces. A typical kitchen is often divided into preparation and cooking areas, which both can show up the annoying mess. Placing some free-standing shelving units and wall dividers creates a great opportunity to conceal the cleaning and food preparation zones, which may still leave the rest of the kitchen as your central focal point. These suggested types of furniture do not require any major construction methods since you can find them at any furniture showrooms.
Another approach is to add additional surface levels that will separate the kitchen from adjoining spaces. You can consider raising up the kitchen floor, adding some few steps or lowering down the ceiling of your living area. When trying to separate two individual spaces with floor steps, consider two or more flooring materials to be installed. Using natural stone and hardwood flooring is an effective way to separate the spaces and create some contrasting effects at the same time.
4. Maximizing the screening solutions
The application of screens is a valuable design solution to separate work areas from social areas. Vertical slats, open shelving units, free-standing accordion dividers are examples of "see-through" dividers which intend to break off the view from another area but still allow the lights to pass through. Horizontal slats are another solution to reduce the direct penetration of sunlight, particularly if you have tall windows or sunroof in the living area. In addition, low-height counters allow for continuous flow of conversation between spaces while concealing the clutters below.
You may install two-foot countertop dividers across the kitchen nook or breakfast counter to block a plate-loaded sinks from full view. These dividers may seem enough to separate the kitchen from the rest of the social areas. A drop-down lighting fixture at the dining area is also helpful to switch the attention of your visitors instead of focusing too much at the kitchen. Other alternative solutions to improve screening may include glass murals, bookcases, tall lamps, mobile bar counters, and tall display cabinets.
5. Coordinating the cooking appliances with your kitchen
Interestingly, your choice of cooking equipment may significantly affect the overall design of your open plan layout in terms of acoustic and visual considerations. Black cooking range, for example, may look elegant with natural stone floorings like granite or marble. What's important here is to match the front side of your appliances with the cabinetries, backsplashes, floor, and countertops. But not all the time you want to expose the butler's pantry where you can hear the rumbling sounds of small appliances and dishwasher.
The perfect solution here is to install an appliance cabinet to keep your everyday appliances including the dishwasher. The built-in storage enables you to organize your kitchen more efficiently while keeping the rest of the kitchen look pleasing to the eyesight. In this approach, you are able to maintain the beauty of your kitchen as this huge storage compartment becomes a part of your interiors. You may also match a black-colored sink with granite countertop to achieve an impressive, cohesive design.
An open plan layout greatly improves the access of spaces without the presence of solid walls blocking off the views. But the broken plan enables you to create the distinctive zones that allow a greater sense of privacy when needed.
- Dale Basilla