An open-plan living room with a kitchen area can add a lot more value to your home, as long as you carefully plan the design. A poorly planned design that doesn’t maximise the living space could drag your home’s price down, so it’s vital to know your way around open-floor layouts.
To help you in that endeavour, we’ve prepared some expert tips and ideas for maximising your living area and supercharging the value of your home. They might even inspire new ideas and help you design a unique space that you’ll fall in love with.
But first, let’s see how much home value you can add with an open-plan kitchen living room.
How much value can I add to my property with an open-plan kitchen-living room?
It mostly depends on the size, but the layout, design, and overall functionality of the space also play a big part. The more spacious the space feels and the more functional all the combined zones are, the more value you can add to your property.
If you decide to go big and expand your house to create a larger open-floor area, your property’s price could get even higher. However, you might need to get planning permission and comply with certain building regulations (we’ll get into that shortly).
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How much value can different open-plan kitchens add?
Creating an open-plan kitchen is one of the best ways to maximise your living space and increase your property’s value. Let’s see how much value you could add with different open-concept kitchens and living rooms.
How much value does a small open-plan kitchen living room add?
A small open-plan kitchen living room could add about 3% more value to your home.
How much value does a large open-plan kitchen living room add?
A large open-plan kitchen living room could add about 5% more property value.
How much value does an apartment open-plan kitchen living room add?
Any properly planned apartment or loft conversion can help you add up to 15% more property value.
How much value does an open-plan kitchen-living room add?
On average, an open-plan kitchen-living room could add about 6% to your property’s value.
How to maximise the value of your open-plan living area
Creating an open-floor layout that brings together your kitchen, dining, and living room areas may seem a bit challenging at first. But with our expert tips and ideas, you’ll learn how to maximise the space quickly and elevate your home’s value.
While preparing these ideas, we had different design styles and interests in mind, so you might not want to implement all of them. Still, we’re confident you’ll find most of them useful, especially the first several tips for getting started with your design project.
Without further ado, let’s dive into some of the best ideas for creating an open-floor space for your kitchen and living room that will add the “wow” factor to your house.
- Practicality in mind
You might have some design ideas already, but have you thought about their practicality? Are they feasible for the space you’re working with?
For instance, if the space is too small for what you have in mind, would you be able to go from one zone to another quickly and safely, without any furniture getting in your way? Unimpeded circulation between the zones is vital for the space’s overall safety, functionality, and practicality.
The distance between the kitchen and living room is also an essential factor. Would the noisy kitchen appliances interfere with the sitting area’s atmosphere? Would the zones be too far away from one another, preventing seamless socialising?
These are some of the top elements to consider before locking in on a particular layout. Think about your lifestyle, how you’ll use the space, and how the modifications would affect it before picking out the floor tiles, kitchen units, and new furniture pieces.
- Use experts
To bring together your kitchen and living area into a single room, you’ll have to remove some internal walls. Unless you have experience with it, it’s best to leave it to professionals, especially if a particular wall is a load-bearing one.
A building professional can tell you which wall is load-bearing and provide you with expert advice on connecting the rooms to avoid any problems down the road.
Check out the Institution of Structural Engineers’ website to find a registered engineer in your area who can help you calculate the correct load and make drawings.
- Consider an architect
Hiring a reliable architect can help you streamline your entire project. An architect can provide vision and structural knowledge to the design process, helping you create a functional and safe space.
They can make technical drawings and create different open-floor layouts to help you visualise the space and make an informed decision. They can provide you with 3D visualisations to help you picture the overall space you’ll end up with.
Many architects even create virtual tours of their 3D visualisations, so you can take a virtual walk through your home to see how everything will look once finished.
- Get planning permission
If you want to make internal modifications to your home, such as knocking down some walls, you might not need planning permission. You’ll need to apply for it if you live in a listed building.
Your permitted development (PD) rights are similar if you live in a conservation area, an area of outstanding natural beauty, or a national park. Internal alterations fall under the score of permitted development, while external modifications require planning permission.
Regardless of where you live, there are various conditions for external extensions, too. For instance, if you’re planning a one-storey rear extension of an attached house, you must go over three metres, while four metres is the limit for detached houses.
Check with your local planning authority before starting your project to see if you’ll need planning permission for your building project. You can also get pre-application advice from a planning officer (probably for a fee), who can help you learn more about all the planning policies and requirements.
If you end up needing planning permission, you can apply for it with your local planning authority or use the Planning Portal to submit an online application. You’ll need Householder Planning Permission for a residential extension, while Listed Building Consent is a requirement for listed buildings.
- Building regulations
Whether you need to apply for planning permission or not, you’ll need to comply with the necessary building regulations.
You’ll need to submit your building plans to your local authority or building control body for the purpose of a building regulations inspection. If you plan on doing some minor work, you’ll need to submit a building notice application. Considerable redesigns require a full plans application.
You can find more information on the Planning Portal.
- Consider a kitchen designer!
Kitchen designers are both creative and analytical and can help you design your dream kitchen and living room.
A kitchen designer will provide you with a host of kitchen and living room decoration ideas, including which furniture pieces and appliances to pick, what colours to use, where the colours should go, and more.
They can advise you on lighting, suggest new style ideas that might go perfectly with your home, and factor in all your specific needs. For instance, if you have children or pets, your kitchen designer can help you make the best choices for their needs and safety.
Hiring a kitchen designer might be your best bet if you want to make the most of your space while ensuring it looks magnificent.
- Go with the “flow!”
An open floor plan allows the rooms to flow, but you want that flow to be cohesive. It should be clean and uncluttered so that the interior can look calming and consistent.
Regardless of your different areas or zones, you should create a free-flowing layout that allows for utmost practicality. Whether that means placing the kitchen at the back or side-by-side with another zone, make sure it’s practical for your needs.
The key is for each zone to function independently and yet be harmonious with one another. To achieve a seamless flow, make sure you don’t squeeze too much into every zone.
- Lighting considerations – natural lighting
Natural light is an essential factor for planning for the “flow”, and it’s crucial for making the space feel bright, open, and spacious. Unless you want to make the kitchen the dominant zone, make sure the sitting area gets the most natural light.
To bring in more natural light, consider installing a skylight or a roof lantern. You can install some electric blinds to create a cosy feel at night or keep your room temperature comfortable during the warmer months.
If you have a garden, you can pull off an indoor-outdoor kitchen with garden-facing window panels. If the kitchen is facing the south, install proper window treatments to keep out unwanted heat during the summer.
- Go around the walls
Once you have your perfect layout, it’s time to define the zones and plan your furniture arrangement. The best rule of thumb is to visualise where the walls would be. That way, you can make the most of each zone, ensuring they fit all your lifestyle needs.
- Consider dimensions
Don’t have a square or rectangular space? Don’t worry because you can still connect the zones perfectly and create an ideal flow.
For instance, if you have a U-shaped floor plan, you can place the dining zone between the kitchen and living zones. Regardless of your home’s dimensions, you can make it work easily.
Again, an architect and your kitchen designer can provide you with a wealth of interesting ideas that might take your breath away.
- Think about storage
With an open-floor layout, you don’t have as many walls to install kitchen cabinets and other storage solutions. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t add more storage space, even in the snuggest of rooms.
For instance, you can separate the zones with a compact wall divider filled with storage space or use sideboards and sofas with storage underneath. A kitchen island with storage space is another fantastic option. Consult with your kitchen designer for some expert ideas.
- Use furniture to zone!
Using furniture to zone the kitchen, dining, and living areas is one of the best practices for rectangular spaces.
To separate the kitchen and dining zones, you can use a kitchen island, while a sofa can separate the dining zone from the sitting space and create a more intimate feel. The back of the sofa can serve as a zone divider.
- Lighting considerations – indoor lighting
When it comes to artificial lighting, you have a wide range of options. What you’ll choose will depend on your lifestyle and lighting preferences, but here are some of the essential tips.
Install downlights in the kitchen, together with pendant lighting above the kitchen island. Pendant lights are also an excellent choice for the dining zone (above your dinner table).
Your lounge zone should be brighter, so add many fixtures that provide ambient and task (table and floor lamps) lighting. Make sure you install dimming lights so that you can make the room feel cosy at night.
Accent lighting that highlights any artwork or architectural features is another excellent way to make the space more striking and inviting.
Make sure you plan for your indoor lighting before starting any work to ensure you get the electrical wiring and sockets right.
- Use corner sofas
A corner sofa can be an excellent choice for zoning off the sitting area. It can make it feel like a separate room if you turn its back toward the dining zone.
With a corner or L-shaped sofa, you can help create a snug area for reading, watching TV, or entertaining guests.
- The L-shaped approach
If your open-floor scheme is L-shaped, the best way to make it practical is to place the kitchen at one end and the sitting area at the other. What about the dining zone?
A small dining table might fit perfectly in the middle, but you can also consider placing it in the kitchen if the space allows. Blending the two zones in such a multifunctional setup is perfect for bringing everyone together.
- Add an eating space
An eating space that separates the kitchen from the lounge is another fantastic zoning method, especially in small homes. It can work perfectly in L-shaped open-floor schemes, too.
Whether you have a dining zone or not, consider installing a bar table where you can have a quick bite. Just like your kitchen island, it can have storage shelves on the side for tableware, books, or stylish accessories.
- Use glass
If you want to divide the zones without disconnecting them, you can use sliding glass panels or doors. A half-wall divider with half-glazed glass panels is also a nice choice.
Whatever you choose as a partition in the room, make sure it has glass. That way, you’ll make sure all the zones still get a flood of natural light.
- Use space-saving furniture
If your available space is still a bit snug after knocking down some walls, the best thing you can do is buy space-saving furniture. There’s a whole world of options out there, so take the time to find some ideal pieces that will fit perfectly.
For instance, there are lovely foldable and extendable dining tables that can save you plenty of space. Whether you need it for breakfast for two or a dinner for six, an extendable table will give you just enough space. Its foldable design allows you to transform it into a cabinet when you don’t need it, thus freeing up the walkthroughs.
Other space-saving furniture ideas include foldable wall beds (perfect if you live in a studio apartment), foldable wall-mounted desks, nesting coffee tables, floating desks (ideal for a home office), dining sets with storage ottomans, etc.
- Sunken floors
Sunken floors are some of the top features of modern open-concept living spaces. They can make the space look exquisite and create a cosy feel that makes you want to curl up with a good book and never leave your little piece of heaven.
You can implement this feature in many ways, but one of the best might be placing the sitting zone where the floor has been lowered.
That way, the kitchen and dining zones can sit at your normal floor level, while the sunken sitting zone can make for relaxing days and cosy nights. Who could ever resist it?
- Bi-folding doors
Remember that indoor-outdoor kitchen idea we discussed above? You could make it work even better with bi-folding doors.
Bi-folding doors are an excellent choice for any room, as you can bathe it with natural light and make it feel more spacious.
To flood your open-floor space with natural light, consider floor-to-ceiling bi-folding glass doors that take up an entire wall and can slide open all the way through.
The doors will blend your interior with the garden or outside sitting area when opened up, creating a stylish and utterly mesmerising feel. What’s more, they’ll bring in more fresh air, thus improving your quality of life.
- Zoning with flooring
Using different types of flooring is a popular way to separate zones in open-floor schemes. It creates what’s known as a broken-plan layout. Half-walls, half-glazed doors, screens, panels, and bookcases are some of the partitions you can use to create a broken-plan living.
When it comes to flooring, the key is to pick the types that complement one another. For instance, you can use porcelain tiles in the kitchen while picking something softer for the sitting zone, such as wooden flooring that matches the colour and style. The rest of the floor can also be wooden but slightly different in colour.
Split-level flooring works best when you use softer options in cosy areas like the lounge while opting for hard-wearing and durable flooring for the kitchen to ensure it withstands spillages.
Wood and stone are both practical and stylish, and you have a host of options for each. Just be sure to roll out some soft rugs for more comfort.
- Circular tables
If you check out numerous designs for L-shaped kitchens, you’ll find that circular tables are some of the most popular features, especially in narrow spaces.
If your place is snug, a circular dining table might be the best way to go. Since it has curved edges, it doesn’t take as much space as any of its square or rectangular counterparts.
If you worry about not being able to accommodate many guests, you could install a built-in bench or banquette for additional seating. It can sit against the wall or in a corner, and it can allow for additional storage.
- Use of shelving
Shelving in open-concept living spaces can serve three purposes: separating different zones, providing extra storage, and filling a void.
You can use a shelving unit as a divider to separate the sitting zone from the kitchen and dining zones. You can add shelving to the sides of kitchen cabinets, the kitchen island, the bar table, and many other pieces of furniture.
Open shelving is an excellent option for kitchens, particularly smaller ones where lack of storage for all the kitchenware is an issue.
Needless to say, you can line the walls with shelves to place all your stylish ornaments, plants, photos, or books. You can even install built-in bookshelves to save more space.
Speaking of books, you can use a bookshelf or a bookcase as a room divider. If you choose one that doesn’t go all the way up to the ceiling, you can place a flower vase or lamp on top.
- Creating room for the whole family
If you plan on designing a haven for your family, you need to think about everyone’s needs. Your open-floor scheme should fit everyone’s lifestyle, not to mention have enough room for the whole family.
When your entire family is at home, will your sitting area accommodate everyone? Will you be able to watch TV, play a game, or catch up without someone sitting on the floor or pulling up a dining chair?
Will you be able to have dinner without squeezing at the dining table? Will there be enough room for guests?
If it’s feasible for your place, you might want to consider getting two sofas for the lounge. Position them in an “L” shape, and you’ll have more room for seamless socialising.
Another sofa will take up more floor space, but there’s always room for extra storage on and inside the walls, which will help you keep everything organised.
- Hidden kitchen
Hidden kitchens have become quite popular in open-floor schemes, as they make it seem like there’s no kitchen at all. If you’re all in for minimalist kitchens, this sleek idea is certainly something that you’ll find inspiring.
Why would you want to create a hidden kitchen at all?
One reason has to do with saving more space. You can have it built into the wall so that it doesn’t take too much floor space.
Another reason is hiding all the clutter, especially the dirty pans and pots that need washing up. When you have guests, you can simply shut off the kitchen and forget about the pile of dirty dishes; until they leave, at least.
How can you conceal your kitchen without disconnecting it from the other zones? You can use sliding, hinged, or bi-folding doors that match your interior.
But where would you store all your bits and bobs? You can install pull-down and pull-out shelves or a full-height cabinet, which you can also conceal behind the doors.
There are nearly endless ways to maximise your space and increase your property’s value, but these are some of the most effective ideas you can use. Each of them will help you create a beautiful open-floor scheme that will give your property the “wow” factor.
But before you head to the nearest furniture store to shop for all your desired pieces, find out if your building project will require planning permission. That’s the most crucial step you’ll need to take to avoid a potential enforcement notice, an incompliance of which could lead to court action and penalties like fines.
Remember to call in the experts to help you out before starting any building work. Property Price Advice is here to help you evaluate your budget, determine your property’s value, and find out more about new property developments near you.
How do I plan an open-plan kitchen-living room?
Choose the right design and layout, develop a floor plan, and zone the kitchen, dining, and living areas. Then, pick an interior design style, select the right colour/s, pick all the must-have elements, and plan the lighting, ensuring you maximise natural light.
Is an open-plan kitchen a good idea?
It’s a brilliant idea! Due to their spacious and versatile design, these kitchens are some of the best features of modern homes. Since they open into another room by combining the kitchen, dining, and living area, they maximise the living space. If you plan the layout and design wisely, your home’s value could go through the roof.
What size should an open-plan kitchen-living room be?
It all depends on how much space you’re working with, but one of the best sizes might be a minimum of 35 square metres. That feels spacious and allows for the high functionality of each area.
Do you need planning permission to make an open-plan kitchen?
You don’t need planning permission if you want to make internal changes to your house, including removing internal walls. You’ll need it only for house extensions. But if you live in a listed building and plan on making a major change to it, you’ll need to apply for planning permission and comply with building regulations.