Have you ever wanted one of those perfect kitchens where you can cook dinner for the family and help the kids out with their homework?
Or the kind of kitchen where you can whip up a three-course meal and enjoy a wine while chatting to your guests?
For those of us who love to entertain, the open plan kitchen might be just the ticket.
We invited over IKEA Kitchen Range expert, Tim Prevade, to get his best tips as to how you might transform your kitchen into a practical and inviting living space.
Carly: We’ve heard a lot about this trend for ‘open plan living’ lately. What are the key elements of an open plan kitchen?
Tim: It’s all about the flow into and out of the kitchen and how people interact there. The kitchen isn’t just a place to prepare food anymore – it’s the heart of the home.
Island and breakfast bars are two key items that will tie your kitchen in with the rest of the house.
Island and breakfast bars are two key items that will tie your kitchen in with the rest of the house, making a central hub for the family to congregate.
Carly: What do you recommend to families who might want to try their hand at open plan living but don’t know where to start?
Tim: Knock out those walls! The aim is to make the kitchen the focal point by integrating it seamlessly with all the other living areas of your home.
Kitchen islands make a fantastic addition to open plan areas as they really encourage you to move around the space.
But smaller elements like trolleys and open wall storage can also really open up the area and compliment the functionality of the space.
Read more: Island kitchen benches inspiration
Carly: Are there any simple and affordable tips you can share with people who want to update the look of their kitchen?
Tim: A coat of paint in a trendy colour can really update the look of your current kitchen and breathe new life into dated design.
Replacing an tired, old splashback with a modern glass version can also give your kitchen an instant lift.
Consider replacing doorknobs and handles. Hanging some bright tea towels over your oven door can also make a bold statement.
Read more: How to plan for an open plan living space
Carly: Can you offer any insights for apartment dwellers and families when it comes to seating around open plan kitchens?
Tim: In larger homes, the dining table remains a big feature of open plan spaces.
However, there is certainly a trend towards smaller dining areas, particularly in urban settings where homes are smaller, and space is scarce.
Bench seating can be a clever space saver, especially for families with older children who don’t always eat with the family at meal times, as it provides a more casual option for dining.
Another trend we’re seeing a lot more of is sheltered outdoor entertaining areas that flow on from the kitchen. Lots of families are opting out of the traditional indoor dining area in favour of a more casual outdoor seating arrangement.
Read more: How to cook up a perfect outdoor kitchen
Carly: Can you offer us some storage tips for keeping open plan kitchens tidy and organised?
Tim: The more smart solutions you can incorporate inside your cupboards, drawers and cabinets, the better.
The more smart solutions you can incorporate inside your cupboards, drawers and cabinets, the better.
For instance, cutlery dividers and storage containers work hand-in-hand to give you not just the best looking, but also the most functional kitchen.
Carly: I’ve heard the ‘working triangle’ is an important element in open plan kitchen design – how would it enhance the way I work around the kitchen?
Tim: The working triangle is about making sure your fridge, sink and cooktop are arranged in a manner that is both functional and ergonomic. The idea is that the design will embrace the flow of the kitchen, and improve its usability.
For example, you don’t want your sink and cooktop right next to each other because then you may not have enough bench space to prepare food effectively and wash up.
The idea is that the design will embrace the flow of the kitchen, and improve its usability.
On the other hand, if your stove and sink are more than three metres apart, it’ll probably be too far for you to safely carry a pot of boiling water over to drain your pasta.
There are no specific guidelines as to how much space is needed between each activity zone but you should make sure the set up compliments your lifestyle and how you wish to use your kitchen.