16 Open Kitchen Layouts Ideal for Entertaining and Casual Meals

Kitchen with wooden floors and dark blue cabinets
Photo: James Nathan Schroder

Rethink closed-off cooking spaces in favor of something more inviting. Kitchens that are open to other areas of the home encourage casual family meals, conversations with the cook, and effortless entertaining. These open kitchen layouts demonstrate how to seamlessly connect cooking, dining, and living spaces.

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One-Wall Open Kitchen

orange kitchen with grey island
James R. Salomon

A single wall of appliances and floor-to-ceiling cabinetry work well in open floor plan kitchens. Here, a long island houses additional storage and a sink, keeping the work triangle compact. Island seating allows friends and family to stay close without getting in the way. Without walls to separate the two spaces, natural light from the living area spills into the kitchen, making it feel even more open and light.

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Large Open Kitchen Layout

remodeled modern gray, white, and wood kitchen
Nathan Kirkman

This modern kitchen design features a spacious open layout designed specifically around the family's needs. Including both an island and a peninsula provides extra counter space and centralizes storage areas. Opposite the cooking zone, a cozy dining nook with a built-in banquette offers space for quick meals. Without upper cabinetry disrupting sightlines, the kitchen maintains a fresh, open feel.

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Seamless Open Kitchen Design

minimalist white kitchen dining butcher block
David Tsay

Repeat colors and materials to visually connect spaces in an open layout. In this open kitchen and dining area, large swaths of white create continuity and a clean look. The wood dining table also ties in with the butcher-block island countertop, but different styles of pendant lighting over the table and island help distinguish the spaces.

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Open Kitchen and Dining Space

open kitchen dining area
Lincoln Barbour

A connected kitchen and dining area makes for easy serving. In this open floor plan kitchen, the cooking zone flows easily into a dining nook with a built-in banquette and seating around a small table. For entertaining, the island can serve as a buffet for appetizers and multiple people can cozy up on the banquette.

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Modern Open Kitchen

modern kitchen with gold accents
Kim Cornelison

Cabinetry extends nearly to the ceiling in this sleek, modern kitchen design. The extra storage gained from the tall cabinets and the central island allows for an open floor plan that flows naturally into the dining area. The open-concept kitchen works well for entertaining, as guests can easily gather around the island or the table without feeling as if they've left the kitchen.

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Open Kitchen Design Techniques

Kitchen with wooden floors and dark blue cabinets
James Nathan Schroder

When kitchens are open to other areas of the house, it's important to integrate the styles so the rooms don't clash. This open kitchen features sleek seating, splashes of blue, and natural wood elements that flow from the cooking zone to the dining area. This design technique is often used in small kitchens to make the space look larger than it appears.

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L-Shaped Open Kitchen

loft kitchen with red accents
Laurie Black

You don't need a long stretch of space for an open floor plan kitchen. This compact kitchen tucks into a corner and connects with a dining area and family room. Runners define the traffic flow around the L-shaped kitchen, and a mobile island helps further separate the space.

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Open Kitchen Traffic Flow

kitchen brick floor rustic dining table
John Bessler

The back entrance to this home is accessed through the kitchen, so an open traffic flow was an essential design consideration. To allow for passersby, the owners opted for a kitchen table instead of a bulky island. Benches on either side can be pushed under the table if needed to create a wider walkway. Double doors leading out to the patio can be propped open so friends and family can gather outside but still chat with the cook.

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Small Open Kitchen Layout

white island and kitchen table with navy walls and brass metal chairs
Kim Cornelison

In a small open kitchen, a peninsula that extends outward from one wall is often a more efficient use of space than an island in the center. This peninsula provides uninterrupted counter space and creates a divider for a casual seating area. A round table and chair provide a great alternative to putting stools around an island when space is limited.

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Remodeled Open Kitchen

green modern kitchen with soft wood tones
Gordon Beall 

If you have a small, closed-off kitchen and are looking to renovate, consider taking down some walls. Removing a wall in this kitchen created space for an L-shaped layout and a large island. The remodeled kitchen now opens to the adjacent living areas for a more welcoming feel.

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Casual Kitchen Dining Area

kitchen gray cabinets with dining table
Kim Cornelison

Many traditional homes feature a separate dining room, but this closed-off space is often left underused and forgotten. A kitchen that is open to the dining area offers a more welcoming, casual space. In this home, the kitchen opens into both the dining area and living room for an expansive family space.

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Furniture-Style Features

light blue modern kitchen
Dustin Halleck

Open concept floor plans work nicely in large kitchens. With seating, storage, and a white quartz countertop, this large island seems more like a luxurious furniture piece than a workstation. Open shelving around the range hood and light blue cabinetry enhance the kitchen's airy look. Stainless-steel appliances and streamlined fixtures infuse the space with contemporary style.

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Modern Kitchen and Dining Room

arcese modern farmhouse kitchen and dining area
Kritsada Panichgul

In this modern kitchen and dining room combo, wide walkways and plentiful windows introduce an open feel and lots of natural light. Doorways on either side of the range wall open to a staircase and a living area to ease movement throughout the home. Neutral tones fill the space to establish a calming atmosphere.

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Open Kitchen Entry

brick archway to kitchen and dining
Jean M. Allsopp

Expanding an entryway is a great option for opening up a room. A grand archway gives this kitchen more room to work while making it more social and accessible to the rest of the house. The arch also puts a traditional context around a mostly industrial-style kitchen, helping it merge with the rest of the home's decor.

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Open Kitchen Color Scheme

white kitchen with round table
James Yochum

Color helps ensure open-concept homes have a natural flow. The kitchen's dominant color is white, but bright blues and greens appear on accessories and the dishware visible through glass-front cabinet doors. The dining area repeats the white in the table but features dark blue chairs that contrast the lighter finishes. A light green wall color bridges the two areas to give the space a cohesive look.

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Creative Kitchen Redo

white kitchen with pale green backsplash and orange lights
Philip Harvey

When planning a remodel, make the most of the space you have. This former family room was transformed into an open kitchen with a comfortable seating area. The owners also turned the adjacent bathroom into a handy pantry.

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