Remodel to Open Your Kitchen

Smart structural and style changes to your existing kitchen can make it feel more open and inviting.

Tear Down That Wall

Removing walls between the kitchen and adjacent rooms is a great way to create an open feel within the existing space. In this case, taking down walls allowed the homeowners to add a bigger island, a cozy banquette eating area, and a convenient home office.

Keep It Comfortable

Adding a keeping room off the kitchen is another way to make the space feel open. A keeping room is a comfortable space where family members and guests can hang out before and after meals, staying out of the way while still interacting with the cooks. In this home, the keeping room includes a cozy fireplace.

Think Vertically

Windows open a kitchen to light and views, but they take up wall space needed for appliances and cabinetry. In this kitchen, vaulting the ceiling added vertical volume and allowed the architect to add high windows that don't interfere with functional needs. Two of the units neatly flank the top of the range hood.

Go with Glass

Removing walls allowed this kitchen -- formerly a bedroom -- to open to a new dining and entertaining area. The sense of spaciousness is enhanced by the use of glass, including tall windows, glass-front upper cabinets, and glass display shelves.

Lighten the Ceiling

This kitchen already had a vaulted ceiling, but the darkness of the wood beams and boards weighed it down, negating the open feeling. Painting the ceiling white did wonders to lighten the look and raise the sense of spaciousness. A skylight accentuates the airiness.

Brighten Surfaces

Surface updates can work with structural changes to make a kitchen feel more open. Though removing a wall opened this kitchen to the dining room, the light-color cabinetry, walls, backsplash tile, and flooring do much to enhance spacious feel.

Clear Out a Corner

Making changes to the working part of the kitchen isn't the only way to open up the space. In this case, a new eating area transformed the room. The once-dead corner now boasts a wraparound banquette with a bank of casement windows that expand the kitchen's horizons.

Paint Old Cabinets

Even small changes to existing elements can make a big difference in how open your kitchen looks and feels. For example, painting old cabinets white and trading out their solid-wood doors for glass versions with muntins helped open up the sink area in this kitchen.

Work with Windows

Want to add more windows to your kitchen but don't want to lose all that valuable storage space on the walls? Here's a creative solution. Transomlike windows along the backsplash open up the room without displacing any cabinets. The windows are frosted to cut glare and diffuse light for anyone working in the cooking and cleanup zone.

Ponder a Pass-Through

Tearing down an entire wall isn't the only way to open your kitchen to an adjacent space. A pass-through is a fun design element that can work in contemporary kitchens like this one, providing both a visual and physical connection between the adjoining rooms while maximizing the function of the divider. Here, the shelves above the sink are open, too, which adds to the space-expanding effect.

Provide a Point of View

Nothing opens up a kitchen quite like a view of the outside world. And the scenery doesn't have to be awe-inspiring, just pleasing to the eye. Here, a lush clump of bamboo visible through unadorned windows connects the kitchen to its natural setting, visually expanding the space.

Take It Outside

Though a great view opens up a kitchen, physical access to the outdoors extends the space even further. Here, a wall between the kitchen and living room was removed, letting both share a deck with views of the water. Sliding glass doors ease access to the deck, while an exposed-beam ceiling unifies the two rooms.

Consider Curves

Incorporating curves where straight lines are expected can make a kitchen feel more open, trading the rigidity of right angles for the smooth flow of rounded transitions. A dramatic arched doorway and matching arched windows transformed this kitchen from a confining space into one that feels bright and spacious.

Find the Family Room

Opening the kitchen to the family room creates an easy-to-navigate gathering space for everyday living and special occasions. This kitchen was once isolated from other rooms and lacked eating space. The addition of an island and a wide opening to the family room made it better suited to both entertaining and casual family meals.

Try an Island Transition

When you open your kitchen to an adjacent room, an island makes a good transition between the two spaces. Here, for example, it can be prep space when needed in the kitchen, but it can also be a dining or buffet-serving space that augments the eating area. The tray ceiling in the eating area adds to the open feel.

Accentuate Airiness

Calling attention to a distinctive ceiling draws the eye upward, boosting the feeling of openness. The dark, exposed beams in this kitchen contrast with the white background to emphasize the angle of the sloping ceiling and complement the color scheme of the cabinetry below.

Make It an Open-and-Shut Case

Openness in the kitchen need not come at the expense of storage capacity. Consolidating cabinets on an inside wall of this kitchen left plenty of room on an exterior wall for big windows and a garden-view window seat. These are features that foster openness.

Beckon Breezes

Though sometimes overlooked, a benefit of opening up your kitchen is that it eases the circulation of air. This kitchen is open to a great-room and a screen porch, both of which open to the outdoors via French doors. The setup allows fresh breezes to filter into the kitchen and makes it easy for any cooking smoke and odors to dissipate.

Stretch Sight Lines

The kitchen is often at the back of the home, but if you can establish a visual connection to the front entry, you reduce the sense of isolation and increase the feeling of openness. In this case, a butler's pantry does the job, aligning with arched doorways to allow the kitchen to be seen from the front door.

Create a Command Post

Opening the kitchen lets the cook keep up with what's going on in other rooms, whether it's a parent watching kids or a party host interacting with guests. In this space, the island serves as a command center, offering the cook a view into the adjacent family room and eating area.

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