Many of us have been living in an open plan configuration for so long, that we've come to reconsider the benefits of separating the kitchen from the living room.
While we may still love the convenience and sense of connection of open plan living, the constant distractions may become a little irritating. This isn't so surprising when you consider the clash of a noisy, busy kitchen lying adjacent to a living room that is often home to a television screen. Our lives are increasingly filled with excess stimuli and we need space to focus on one task at a time. But even if you don't have a noisy home, separating your kitchen from your living space will create a calmer, more focused place to relax.
A permanent structure may not be necessary or even desired. We may not want to retreat to the pokey, smaller spaces anyway. We may just need something a little in-between. So what are the options for separating your kitchen from your living room? Here are a few examples to get you started.
A built in bookshelf is a very easy way to separate a kitchen from a living room. A quick trip to a furniture store will unearth a load of options and configurations to fit most spaces. It's a very flexible approach that can be utilised in temporary spaces or existing kitchen layouts.
Add a few friendly pot plants, gorgeous glassware, some cooking books and a few beautiful kitchen pots for best effect. If you want to maximise light and maintain an airy, uncluttered look, be careful not to crowd the shelves. One great advantage here is the opportunity to change the look by simply mixing up the objects on the shelves.
A partial wall of glass panels is a fantastic way to allow light from the living area to pass into the kitchen areas. At the same time, glass panels offer the opportunity to create a very stylish separation without the closed in feeling of a solid wall. For those with small children in the living areas, there's the added benefit of being able to maintain supervision while cooking.
Kitchens are often strictly functional spaces with sharp angles and lines erring on the severe side of the homely spectrum. In contrast, a large aquarium filled with swaying greenery and bright fish offers a watery natural ambience that may offer the perfect counterbalance to your decor. For inspiration, have a look at some of the fishtanks by Aquarium Architecture. This particular example is an extremely eye catching addition and the waterproof surfaces of a kitchen are the perfect place to maintain a large fish-tank.
In the old days every kitchen had an open fireplace so if you have the space, this will feel like a very natural addition. As seen here, opening up the fireplace on both sides offers the opportunity to enjoy this space across both rooms. Consider a stone-wall like this for a down to earth, rustic look. If you aren't keen on the excess heat of a full fireplace, consider a stone-wall with a display shelf for a bank of candles.
Floor to ceiling sliding glass doors offer an extremely sophisticated and streamlined look to your kitchen area. The added benefits are a maximum flow of light and visual continuity. This will help maintain the sense of spaciousness so important in smaller homes that often need the fluidity of open plan layouts. The great benefit in full sliding doors is that a thicker glass will mute the sound pollution from adjoining areas.
If you're looking for a more solid separation of space, a low wall as seen here is a great compromise. At just above waist level, a wall like this will offer many of the other psychological and physical benefits of separation mentioned earlier. The difference here is that a low wall will enable you to maintain use of the lower half of the kitchen space. For the final touch, furnish the upper half of the wall with stylish glass panels.
If you are interested in separating living zones, you'll love this Ideabook You can separate your rooms without walls.