Planning how to make the best possible use of the space available in your house is something that, even for the more savvy designers amongst us, takes much clarification. Historically, rooms were built for a particular function, each use distinguishable from another. Now however, open plan living has gained many people's interest because of the modern, spacious and connected feel that it offers.
When it comes to styling your kitchen and dining area, there is a wealth of opportunity and ideas, and one that has been increasingly popular is the kitchen diner layout. But what are the implications of this type of living space on the style, design and tidiness of your home, and is it even practical?
When it comes to style, many would excuse that the kitchen diner has plenty to offer. Of course, it depends on what you want to get out of this space and what you can reasonably do to adapt this layout in your home. The beauty of a kitchen diner is that it it is extremely flexible. Some homes will have a separate dining area in one part of the kitchen, others may prefer to have a central table in the middle of the kitchen, and some may prefer the trendy look of a kitchen island with seating, so that it acts like a table or breakfast bar. Just as with any type of kitchen, styling it to your own taste is easy, and even though kitchen diners are a more modern approach, there's no reason why they can not be incorporated into an older, traditional house.
Practically, kitchen diners do have their pros and cons. One huge benefit is that they are great for families, because you can keep an eye on your children while you are cooking. Having a table and seating in your kitchen means that there is a space for homework or similar activities and it also gives a friendly, communal feel which is ideal for anyone who feels a little isolated when they are cooking alone in the kitchen.
For some, not having a separate dining area may be a huge drawback. It is true that having lots of pots and pans on view, waiting to be washed up, may ruin the mood of a formal dinner affair. However, the impact this has really depends on your circumstances, but it is something to consider before getting rid of your dining room completely. On the plus side, the communal aspect of a kitchen diner can make dinner parties more fun; it allows you to socialize with the guests without having to dash off to another room to keep an eye on the food. What's more, if you plan your lighting and spacing well, mess in the kitchen does not have to encroach on the mood. If you are able to dim the lights in the kitchen area, you may be able to create the perfect illusion of serenity, drawing very little attention from those sitting at a table in another area of the room.
Tidiness is obviously another issue to consider. It might be nice to have a separate dining area that is always kept tidy for guests. Although how much importance you place on this really does depend on what you will use your kitchen diner for most often. It will certainly be used a lot, and if your children are working in the room then there may be more to tidy away, but most people would probably sacrifice a small amount of increased mess for the fun and practicality of the room. In fact, a benefit of having a unit such as an island means that it also offers more storage space, so you can easily fit things into drawers to instantly make the room less cluttered.
Finally, there is the question of whether you will still need a separate dining room. Perhaps if this is a room you use frequently, you would miss it if the only place you could eat more was in the kitchen. However, some may prefer to remove a wall between the kitchen and dining room, for example, in order to create a large kitchen / dining area. And if extra space is something you could do with, then an unused dining room could always be altered for a different purpose, such as a playroom or office.
The options available are endless when planning your kitchen diner and it is this flexibility that has made this design so appealing to so many people. Ultimately, how well it would fit into your home is a personal decision, dependent on how you use your living spaces and what sorts of activity takes place in each room.