In modern homes there is considered virtue in creating an open-plan area. For many, this open living design begins in the kitchen, commonly held to be the heart of all homes.
Knocking down the walls
Moving into a new home presents owners with plenty of design choices to make. If the house is more than 50 years old, chances are the kitchen will be a completely separate space to the dining room, so in order to create a kitchen-diner it will be necessary to knock down the dividing wall. Be careful! Many internal dividing walls are also load-bearing walls that hold up the floor above, and might even extend to the roof. If unsure get professional advice. If the wall is load-bearing it can still be removed, however, a supporting girder (rigid steel joist) will need to be installed to bridge the gap. Acro props are put in place to support the floor above while the wall is removed.
Once this has been done, it is time to plan the layout of the kitchen-diner. Bear in mind that despite the area being open-plan, it is still a good idea to have zones. This means defining each area, either by furniture or color, or even both.
The kitchen will almost certainly require plenty of storage, so put up fixed units on the remaining walls, and cupboards or islands at and below waist level where the wall used to be. It is a good idea to have low units partly separating the kitchen and dining space, as this helps to define both areas and provides plenty of workspace. It also means that is a good serving area when it comes to sitting down and dining.
Furnishing the kitchen-diner
Fitted units and other storage spaces define the kitchen section, so the focus for furniture will be in the dining area. Naturally this means the dining table and chairs, and these should draw the eye and become the centerpiece of the kitchen-diner. Choose a dining table set that complements the kitchen area, but that does not necessarily match it. After all, it is not a breakfast room that is being designed but an elegant dining and communal space that should make guests feel relaxed and stimulate conversation.
Dining tables in kitchen-diners can either be standout, statement-making pieces, such as those made out of solid marble, or they can be subtler yet just as refined. An oak dining table is a good example of understated elegance. It brings a natural look into the home, yet can easily be dressed up and accessorized to look impressive.
If the area is a large space, it is a good idea to invest in a dining table that can extend to seat more people. Install a fancy chandelier or pendant light above the table to help define the area and use wall or floor lamps to create ambient lighting.
A new home means owners can try something new. Take advantage of handy kitchen features, such as larder drawers or units that pull out the entire contents for easy access, or for smaller kitchen areas, use bi-fold doors on cupboards which do not take up as much space as regular ones.
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