modern Living room by Pickawood GmbH

5 clever ways to divide the kitchen from the living room

Naia Carlos Naia Carlos
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Nowadays, open living spaces or open kitchens are no longer a rarity. An open layout brings vitality to the residence and offers a true “heart” to the family home. When space is limited, having a single large common area is actually preferable than several cramped rooms.

Even with an open layout, it’s important that the different sections of the house all have their place. A designer should always try to achieve a slight optical separation between the kitchen and the living room, especially because these two rooms have such radically different functions. It shouldn’t be in a single clump lest the home appear crowded and disorganized.

There are many possibilities to separate the different sections of an open layout from each other. Here are five of our favorite ways to divide the kitchen and living room – and some tips to make it work for you.

1. Kitchen island

Refrigerator, stove, sink and a small working area – these sections are separated from the rest of the apartment by a sleek kitchen island. For some people, a kitchen may simply be a cooking area, a place for keeping and preparing the food. More often than not though, it has increasingly become the center of family life, serving as a meeting place for family and friends. It’s not uncommon to cook while carrying a conversation with friends – and in an open kitchen, one can easily talk to the people hanging out in the living room.

Because it’s still important to set the kitchen apart, an island serves as an easy distinction between the work space behind it and a common area beyond it. Plus, a kitchen island is multi-functional as it also offers an additional working area and it can also be a breakfast bar for quick meals and casual snacks. Many even provide extra storage with drawers and cabinets built-in. 

2. Deep wall

Deep walls use space to convey the separation between the kitchen and living room. While it’s more commonly seen outdoors, it works well indoors as well and provides rustic charm to the open layout. It doesn’t physically divide the kitchen and living room, but the arches almost act as doors and is effective in translating the division between the two sections. At the same time, the deep wall keeps the space open and flowing into each other smoothly.

Seeking a more opulent look? Columns can work just as well indoors.

3. Table

A very simple trick to separate the kitchen and living room is a table. If you have an ordinary kitchen set up along the wall, it’s easy to separate the two rooms visually. Much like a kitchen island, a large dining table can serve as a functional room partition and this dining area can connect the two different rooms. Here, all family members can gather for a meal or talk.

In contrast to a kitchen island, using a dining table for the division is very cost-effective. A rectangular table is a good choice, since it can divide the room lengthwise. A large one allows flexibility as it can be used not just during meals, but in other ways like a study area when the kids are doing their homework after school.

4. Bookshelf

Another simple way to separate the kitchen and living room is to set up a bookcase as a wall. High and wide bookcases act nearly as well as an actual wall when they are filled with books – without the impression of complete seclusion. Residents will still feel connected with the rest of the room, and there is still an easy flow of air and light throughout the entire home.

A bookcase also provides an opportunity to add more personality to the room whether you fill it with rows of books, travel mementos, framed photographs or a mixture of it all. This way of separating the open kitchen and living room is also quite cost-effective and DIY-friendly.

5. Room dividers

Sometimes, one wants complete privacy while cooking. For this, a room divider can be installed. With relatively few handgrips, a large room can be divided into two smaller ones by simply pulling a “wall” close. Here, you can cook in peace, separated from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house. The most important advantage of this complete separation is the various smells from the kitchen is contained inside the small space.

There are room dividers that have solid colors, but you can also choose sliding glass doors as an alternative.

Advantages of an open living and dining area

In modern design, openness and generosity are embraced. Open living spaces are brighter and more inviting, they convey a feeling of freedom and space. Plus, the connection among the functionally divided living areas encourages a similar connection among all the residents, even as they pursue different activities like cooking or watching television.

Create a great open living experience, separating rooms from each other with small and thoughtful details. This way the family life can be more interactive and living together becomes a common experience, not an isolated one.

To get even more inspired on similar layouts, see these 12 open-plan design inspirations for your home.

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