Because an open plan kitchen involves other rooms or zones, there is a lot more to consider when attempting to design a functional and practical one. The design and interior décor must blend in with adjacent rooms while also adding aesthetic value to the kitchen. On top of this, you have to think about kitchen noises and smells that will create an unpleasant environment for those who are sitting in the dining area and/or living room. 

With that in mind, some of the best open plan kitchens are designed for optimal socialising between zones while cooking activities take place on the furthermost end of the space. Partially open plan kitchens (also known as ‘broken-plan’ kitchens) are also trending in newer homes which feature screens, half walls, or sliding doors that aid in providing privacy in the kitchen for when guests come over. 

So, if you’re not sure about where to start or what to consider with your open plan kitchen renovation, here are some ideas that will help you design a practical and functional space.

Plan the Layout First

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A practical kitchen layout ensures that there is enough space to move around while separating zones efficiently. It is not ideal to design an open kitchen in such a way where one must walk through the kitchen to get to another room or zone; not only is this inconvenient but it also poses a safety concern for people walking in and out while one is cooking. 

A practical open kitchen layout typically has a breakfast bar that acts as a transitional area between two zones; i.e. your dining/living area and kitchen. If there is enough space for an island, including one equipped with storage below will allow you to minimise over-the-counter wall cabinetry which often gives the appearance of clutter in an open kitchen.

Get the Floor Plan Measured Down to the T

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Once you have a practical kitchen layout in mind, you’ll need to make sure that it’s possible to achieve your dream kitchen by hiring a professional kitchen renovation expert to draw up some floor plans. This scale drawing will help you finalise layout details according to available space, and maximise functionality in your open plan kitchen.

The placement of everything from wall units, appliances, and countertops will be decided upon at this stage so you will have a pretty clear idea of what your open plan kitchen will look like after renovating the space. Of course, there are other details that need to be considered until you can actually begin remodeling your kitchen.

Include a Neat and Aesthetic Worktop

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Since a worktop is typically the messiest space in the kitchen, it’s important to design an open kitchen worktop in a way that provides maximum efficiency yet aesthetic value. This is because the area will be visible from other zones and therefore, must look neat and organised (as far as possible) even when in use.

From hiding kitchen outlets and installing decorative overhead lighting, to picking visually pleasing materials for the worktop itself; it’s all about neatness and aesthetics! Fortunately, there are various types of worktops on the market to choose from, many of which are economical alternatives to expensive countertop materials. Before you make your choice, however, factor in the colours, textures, and materials of other surfaces in your kitchen and adjacent zones to avoid clashing with them.

Design a Small Open Kitchen Around an Island

New Contemporary White Kitchen Interior with round second light window

As opposed to what most homeowners believe, there is a lot more one can do when it comes to designing a small kitchen. In fact, open plan kitchens are ideal for smaller spaces because they provide more functionality and create an airy environment in what typically would be a rather cramped up space.

Remodeling a traditional, closed kitchen would require breaking one or more walls down to convert it into an open space; at this time, you can decide if you would prefer a partially open plan kitchen for more privacy and/or to reduce noise travelling to other zones. One of the perks of designing a small open kitchen around an island, however, is that the countertop can double as a breakfast bar and yet, not take up additional space. The possibilities are truly endless; you just need to find a reliable kitchen renovation company for the job!

Pay Attention to Smaller Details

Things like having enough legroom under your breakfast bar, the position or type of island hood you choose, and so on, all affect the overall functionality and aesthetic of your kitchen. For example, an extractor or hood above the island will obstruct some views of the kitchen which may not look visually appealing; therefore, a ceiling extractor is more favourable. 

Similarly, you can have a slightly raised breakfast bar which will conceal counter space below it, maintaining a neat looking area even when the surface is messy with items left lying around. Lighting is another relatively small detail that has a major impact on the entire look of the kitchen, as well as other zones. While your interior design should welcome in as much natural light as possible, artificial lighting should be chosen in accordance with the kitchen style and existing décor.


If the foreseeable future holds a kitchen renovation project for your house or apartment, there’s nothing like the spaciousness and social aspect of having an open plan kitchen. With the tips above, you can have a professional remodeling company like Kitchen & Stone design and create the perfect open kitchen for your Australian home!