Open Plan Kitchens

30th April 2019

Hints and Tips on Open Plan Kitchens

I remember watching 90s shows like Friends and Will and Grace thinking I love how everyone is together, whether they were relaxing on the sofa or cooking in the kitchen. Open plan kitchens are continuing to grow in popularity which is proven by the number of enquiries to us at Detailed Planning increasing year after year.

Open Plan Kitchens are a fantastic way to have a multifunctional space in the heart of your home but a lot of thought needs to go into the layout to ensure you aren’t left with a cluttered non-functional space. This trend isn’t going anywhere so before you grab that sledge hammer and knock some walls down check out our top tips on designing/planning an open plan kitchen.


Wish List

First thing first, start by writing a wish list for your open plan kitchen, alongside this, look at your day to day living to see what is important to you and your day to day living. If entertaining is more your thing then look really carefully into the seating arrangements so you aren’t too far away when cooking, if you are a gadget lover look at the whole budget before you start planning where to put all those sockets etc, this will allow you to work on your budget and what you can afford before any architects pen is put to paper. You can look at someone else’s beautiful open plan kitchen and think you would love to replicate it but really is it suitable for your lifestyle? Click here for some inspiration from our projects.

Kitchen Work Triangle

Since the early twentieth century ‘The Working Triangle’ is a theory that states a kitchen’s three main work areas should form a triangle, the fridge, cooker and sink. Each of the points of the triangle should be between 4 and 9ft from each other. The theory has now evolved with the changes in modern cooking/lifestyles and now the triangle is set up with zones, such as preparation, cleaning, cooking. For example, placing your hob in one area far away from the sink could be dangerous with young and old. I have also been in a kitchen where you can’t assess the sink when the dishwasher is open so the work triangle is really something to consider.

Structural cost

It may seem like an obvious thing to consider but the cost in knocking walls down and putting in steels can be high. Once you have instructed your architect to draw your plans you will need to also involve a structural engineer. They will check if you are able to remove walls, the type/size of steels you need and really what your limitations maybe structurally. We can recommend structural engineer if you are unsure of who to go with.


There can be a negative to an open plan space…clutter. This is something you need to consider in your designs. Cook books, toys, appliances, utensils and personal treasures all need a place/storage. If you’re someone who likes to display your personal treasures you could incorporate your favourite objects in the design by displaying high out the way of potential breakages as a feature on a shelve or even as decoration on your walls. Think outside the box on how you would display belongings and you’ll surprise yourself what you may come up with. If you love gadgets look into where to hide wires, place electrical sockets, gas pipes etc with your architect early on into the project to ensure the finished job is exactly how you pictured.

Time/The Upheaval of the whole process

Dust, no electric, no hot water…these are all things that will happen when you embark on a major project in your home but even more so when it comes to kitchens. You need to be ready for the amount of dust you will find long after the builders have left. Also remember when working on a kitchen you can’t always use the kitchen so make sure you have additional budget for takeaways, maybe a small portable hob to use in another room while the work is happening or just planning that long overdue holiday for when your kitchen is out of action.

Bring the Outdoors In

If your kitchen leads out to an outdoor space it is a great way to extend your you open plan kitchen further. Using the same or similar internal flooring as your patio to seamlessly connect the spaces or having your patio level flush with your internal floor level will increase the internal/external living space even further. Just think of those summer days when the back doors are open and your open plan layout enjoys the benefits of the outside.

Dining Space

Do you have space for an island and a separate full dining table? Would reducing the island size allow for more free flow space in your dining area/zone. On the flipside of that if there are only two of you living day to day in the property then think more about the island seating and use an extendable dining table for all those dinner parties. When planning where to fit the kitchen island think of the dining table space with the same importance. When entertaining you want to be cooking on the island but still part of the conversation at the dining table.


Don’t forget the extraction fan when you are planning your budget so you are able to invest in the best extractor fan/cooker hood to help with those cooking smells. Look at the sound level and how powerful also as you don’t want the cooking smells to drift and linger. Usually the extract will need to duct to external air, so ducting will be required to reach an external wall.

The position of a kitchen is important to think about, the further your kitchen is from an external wall, the longer the extraction needs to run. Consider using fitting cupboards to disguise and box in extraction pipes and help with that extra storage.
This also applies to gas and plumbing, the further into a building the kitchen/utility room is the longer the service pipes need to be.

Different levels

Consider a raised level for the kitchen down into the dinning area. This is a great way to identify zones and can even solve a flooring issue if you want a different flooring in the kitchen to the dining area.

Utility room

Don’t forget the washing! If you have the space and budget look at creating a utility room. This will allow you to hide those white goods and washing airier. There are a lot of clever things you can do this with a small space such as stacking the washing machine and dryer. Discuss with your designer your options with the size as you won’t regret it once you have it.

Now, where’s our invite to those Dinner Parties!

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