Kitchen remodeling often incorporates adjacent living areas into the design, particularly in open plan kitchen designs. Integrated first floor living is a layout that seamlessly blends style and functionality throughout the interconnecting rooms. In the past, it made sense to have self-contained spaces with specific functions. These days, modern technology and design techniques allow for open plan living to be comfortable and to meet all your functionality and style needs.

open plan kitchen design

Your kitchen design should be a welcoming place where you can entertain and relax. With integrated living, you can cook in your kitchen area and watch over children playing in your family or living room. Parties flow more freely and include everybody when different functional zones are integrated. There are a few ways to create non-permanent separation in your open plan space. Lighting, flooring, color scheme, and furniture can all work wonders when used as room dividers or focal points.

Take time to plan the right sound control, heating or cooling, and style to ensure that your design is a success. When faced with a large space, break it down into functional areas, each with its own focal point, and then connect everything aesthetically with colors and textures. Here are some tips on how to successfully integrate kitchen and living room styles.

Plan Your Layout

It is essential to think about your floor plan at the kitchen design stage. How do you decide on which layout is best for you? At McDaniel’s we have experienced kitchen designers who can take you through the design process every step of the way.

To start, examine your kitchen and living space, and take note of anything that you want to retain in the new design. Maybe you would like to keep your current windows or alcove storage? After you have established this, it is time to add new elements you would like in your kitchen design. Decide what new design features would enhance your lifestyle. Also consider how you are going to segment your integrated living and kitchen areas.

wood kitchen cabinets

You can place an island or peninsula, freestanding furniture, open shelving, or plants between areas to zone and guide movement. Think about where you would like to prepare food, eat, and relax, as well as where you want to position your dining table. Typically, a dining table is best positioned by a window.

Sliding doors or framed glass doors both segregate rooms and introduce light and noise control when needed. Lighting, color, and flooring all create different ways to subtly differentiate spaces. If you retain a cohesive flow in your integrated design, you can break up your layout as much as you like.

How Best to Use Color?

Color is a great way to define individual spaces within an integrated design. You can put your own stamp on each area while also creating a sense of unity between the kitchen and living room by sticking to one color palette. Color is something that gives structure to an open concept design and promotes flow throughout the space as it attracts the eye.

kitchen with blue island

You can change colors to define different areas but keep the tone the same for a cohesive design. Do you want to go for vibrant colors, calm tones, or dark shades, for a cocooning feel? Another option is to choose bold tones in one color palette, such as rich plum walls in your living area and lavender dining room accessories, then connect them with a neutral shade.

You could paint architectural features such as archways to emphasize different zones or use rugs or art to tie rooms together. Why not conceal your alcove-hung tv behind custom cabinetry when not in use? If you’re not sure about using strong color on your walls, then keep to a neutral palette and use colorful accessories to represent different zones. Something as simple as yellow soft furnishings in the kitchen and orange ones in the living room shows unified, but distinctive open plan first floor living areas.

What Style Is Most Effective?

As with color, it is important to plan a decor that keeps to one style or blends two styles in a cohesive way. To avoid a chaotic look across your open plan first floor design, consider using symmetry to balance it at either end. Even matching mirrors in two rooms give the impression that different areas are all part of one design.

If you are keeping original features, decide what style they represent and build your look around that. An exposed brick wall would be the perfect start to an industrial style kitchen design. If you want this to tie in with a rustic style living area, for example, then use similar textures and tones such as terracotta and matte black fixtures softened with leather seating. Mid-century modern design uses strong, clean lines which are perfect for defining areas. You can cleverly position this style of furniture throughout your first floor for an elegant yet functionally integrated design.

kitchen and living room

Pattern is another way to unite different areas through a common style. A graphic tile can be emulated in an art print or rug. Tie your kitchen blinds in with throw pillows on your sofa. Functional items should also have form. Do not underestimate the power of the decor you choose to represent your personal style and define your kitchen and living areas.

Texture Should Always Be Incorporated

After you’ve chosen your layout and decided on a style and color palette, it is important to consider the textures you want in your design. Texture can make or break a kitchen design and make an otherwise neutral space more multi-dimensional.

Sometimes the calm feeling you create in a living area can feel disconnected from the busy kitchen area, no matter how much they are linked by color. Balance out the energy by using texture to enliven and link together each space.

open plan kitchen with stone wall

Wicker baskets can be used to hold crafting items in the living room and vegetables in island storage. The natural stone used in a fireplace surround can also work well as a kitchen countertop. Try to pick up a fabric used in one room as drapes, pillows, runners, or lampshades in another room. There are so many ways to introduce texture throughout your integrated kitchen design, leaving you with a grounded feel.


Plan Your Flooring Style

When you are choosing flooring for any area in your home there are important functional requirements, but you must also consider the look and feel of your flooring choices. One type of flooring might perform well in the living room, but not as well in the kitchen. If you are worried about moisture, consider choosing Luxury Vinyl Plank as an alternative to hardwood flooring. The latest advances in LVP mean it can closely imitate hardwood in a moisture proof surface.

kitchen cabinet with tray divider

If you choose different flooring materials for each room, they need to work together in an open plan design. If they clash in any way, then this will negatively affect both your design aesthetic and the easy flow of traffic. You could stick to a similar color with a natural stone kitchen floor that blends into a carpet of the same shade in your living area. If you choose contrasting floor materials rugs are also a good way to link them with colors and textures throughout your integrated first floor design.

Make The Most of Your Lighting

Lighting is a subtle but effective way of making two spaces into one. Like any lighting scheme, it is important to have a layered approach to make sure you balance light sources. Place task lighting over places you will be working and then decide where you would like ambient or accent lighting. Here are a few tips for creating multi-layered lighting.


  • Make sure that you have dimmer switches or smart lighting controls so you can easily change the mood and focus of your lighting.
  • You can amp up lighting in a busy kitchen, then lower it for a dinner party and draw people into the living area with carefully positioned lamps.
  • Spotlights showcase anything you would like to display and are as effective in glass-fronted kitchen cabinets as bookcases in your living room.
  • Why not continue your lighting plan out into your back yard, naturally extending your entertainment space through the patio doors to your outdoor seating area?
  • Natural lighting is the best way to make a space brighter so include skylights and large windows to make a huge impact in your open plan remodel.
large kitchen island with beverage area

Use Furniture to Integrate Kitchen and Living Areas

If you have a consistent style of furniture throughout your first-floor design, you can use it to unify the spaces and create a good flow of movement throughout. Similarly, furniture is very useful in demarcating functional areas in an open plan design.

A corner sofa can be a simple solution to breaking up a large area and defining the living space. To unify an open plan design, emulate your kitchen cabinets in storage units for your living room. Why not put a beverage bar in your living room to give you more kitchen countertop space and move a party out of the busy kitchen area? Keep wooden furniture and cabinetry as similar as possible, through style, shade, or finish. Custom made storage ensures that, aside from eliminating clutter, your cabinets, shelving, and storage units work together to unify the entire design.

large kitchen island

An integrated kitchen and living room are easily achieved with effective planning. Contact us today at McDaniels to ask about creating a unified first floor home design. You can finally cook, entertain, and relax in one stylish and spacious room.