Kitchen Transitional Elements and Room Dividers

See how to use creative transitional elements and room dividers to open spaces, enhance design, or create order in your kitchen remodeling project.

Brighten Up with a Glass-Door Breakfront

To separate the kitchen and dining area from the living room entry, these homeowners installed a furniture-like breakfront. Glass doors on either side allow natural light to penetrate deeper into the rest of the house, while an open backsplash and interior accent lighting make the space feel light and airy.

Use Cabinetry in a Room Divider

A pass-through can be used to unify, as well as separate, rooms. Here, cabinets on the breakfast room side of the pass-through combine paneled door fronts, continued from the kitchen, at the top with open cubbies below for a dining room feel. Glass doors on either side of the cabinets let the light from the kitchen shine through the transition, visually expanding both spaces.

Define Spaces with Half-Walls

Half-walls help mark the boundaries of two spaces without disturbing the social flow of your home. These homeowners used half-walls to open the kitchen to the living area and create a conversational atmosphere between the two rooms. Casual displays on the countertops add color and personality to the transition.

Create Breathing Room

If expanding your small kitchen isn't an option, consider adding a pass-through instead. The pass-through in this small, formal kitchen offers a welcomed sightline to the dining room and gives the confined space the visual breathing room it needs. Two faux-window mirrors flanking the sink make the space seem larger than it really is.

Use Windows as Room Dividers

Clear or textured glass adds character and definition to an entry or pass-through. In this 1915 home, a transom window between the bungalow kitchen and sunny breakfast area subtly divides the two spaces.

Define a Kitchen's Boundaries with a Breakfast Bar

Small kitchens aren't the only ones that present design challenges. In large, open areas, try introducing symmetry to impart calm and order. This kitchen includes two large parallel islands, one with two tall columns of cabinetry to divide the wide, rectangular space into manageable areas. Views across the breakfast bar to the refreshment annex are bracketed by glass-front cabinets.

Remove Walls to Enhance Space

With room dividers, less is often more. By removing a wall between the kitchen and breakfast area, these homeowners opened up both spaces. Light from windows in the kitchen now filters into the breakfast nook, and the cubby-style wall partition braces the kitchen counter behind it.

Use Room Partitions as Design Elements

Art doesn't always hang on a wall -- sometimes it is the wall. To better define their generous kitchen area, these homeowners introduced a stunning porthole partition. This nod to ocean luxury offers a unique view from the living room and gives the kitchen the feel of a ship's galley -- all without confining the natural light from the room's breathtaking window wall.

Make a Grand Entrance

The owners of this Craftsman-style kitchen wanted to make the transition from the kitchen more dramatic, so they enlarged the opening between the breakfast area and living room, making both spaces feel roomier. White trim against sage green walls dramatically frames an entrance that shows off the carry-over of classic cabinetry in both rooms. A decorative shelf above the opening displays vintage dishware.

Divide by Unifying

Transitions often present the best opportunities to highlight unifying design elements. Here, an arch above the pass-through utilizes both the kitchen's geometric curves and the family room's decorative molding, tying the rooms together.

Use Collectibles to Personalize Transitions

Antique elements make your transitions more unique and personal. Behind this pass-through, salvaged doors from France add authenticity to the kitchen's provincial decor. The hinged design allows the doors to remain a showcase even when folded open to reveal the dining room.

Divide Your Room with Style

Dividers need not be used simply to separate rooms. These homeowners installed glass and steel shelving to define the kitchen from the hall and bring an artistic splash of color into both areas. A red-accented canopy over the kitchen island further punches up a neutral room palette.

Add Counter Space with a Pass-Through

When adequate counter space is an issue, a pass-through offers a handy solution. This arched opening to the living room features a marble countertop that functions as an additional island during meal preps and a convenient serving station when entertaining guests. The see-through cabinets above add character and create an eye-catching display for creamware or china.

Improve Flow with Rounded Transitions

If hard angles are inhibiting flow, incorporate rounded edges to smooth out heavy traffic areas. Here, a curved cabinet piece eases the transition from the dining area to the kitchen. As a bonus, the raised counter hides countertop clutter from the adjacent living room.

Create a "Storefront" Pass-Through

Dividers can be used to define the transition of rooms -- and of time. Flanked by a set of windows on each side, this custom storefront provides a place to peek into the kitchen as you belly up to the counter, reminiscent of the pastry shops of old. Like all the woodwork in this house, the pass-through cabinetry is "aged" by multiple layers of golden glaze to enhance its period look.

Design for a Moveable Feast

Moveable room dividers make it easy to adapt to any situation. Here, three rotating panels of obscured glass align to form a wall or swing open to allow for interaction and views between the living room and kitchen. The wall between the kitchen and dining room is fitted with a sliding frosted-glass panel that screens the kitchen during dinner parties.

Turn and Island into a Peninsula

Open kitchens encourage interaction with guests but also make it easy for small children to get caught in traffic. These parents solved that problem by replacing an oversize island with a two-level peninsula that divides the cooking zone and eating area. A stainless-steel farmhouse sink anchors the peninsula, while the upper level is bar height to shield the kitchen from the dining room.

Bracket a Pass-Through with Fixtures

By making their pass-through a key kitchen workstation, these homeowners improved the flow of both food and conversation. Apron-front ceramic sinks flank an exposed stainless-steel dishwasher under a soapstone countertop. The arched opening leading to the living room facilitates service and provides an impromptu buffet for entertaining.

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