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A Design Guide

Working With Open Concepts

Open concept design requires special attention to ensure consistency and compatibility between shared areas. Learn about these important considerations to ensure the look you are attempting to create.


Physical Area Proportions

Most open concepts involve 2 or 3 shared areas such as a kitchen & living area or a kitchen, living & dining area. Careful consideration must be given to the amount and proportion of floor space you dedicate to each to ensure that each functional area within the shared space appears properly proportioned. In general for 2 shared areas, kitchen/living, the kitchen area should probably not exceed 35% of the total floor space; for 3 shared areas this would most likely drop to 25%.


Visual Area Proportions

Although the physical floor space is important you must also consider the visual weight of each area. This weight is influenced by the areas contents such as cabinetry, furnishings and decorative items. Even the materials and finishes will impact upon this, for example a wood dining table versus a glass top table can appear larger and heavier even though it has the same physical dimensions. Keep-in-mind that with fewer walls you will most likely have some furnishings positioned freely out in the floor space, the back of a couch may not be the ideal focal point for your new area.


Style Compatibility

In an open concept all furnishings, cabinetry, lighting and even your appliances will need to be style compatible/complimentary in order to unify the shared area. Be aware that mixing differing styles could have a mish-mash effect making things appear awkward as each style tries to compete with the other. If styling is to vary consider incorporating some transitional pieces to help lessen the change.


No Where To Hide

Remember that in an open concept everything is out in the open and exposed to you and your guest. Those dirty dishes, pots and pans could be in full view while relaxing with your guests in the living/family area. Careful consideration as to seating positions to minimize a direct view or repositioning say the sink or cook area to minimize their exposure should be taken into account.



Graham T. Korbey

The Kitchen Abode



The same wall colour is used throughout
The same wall colour is used throughout
The same wall colour is used throughout
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