9 Open Kitchen Ideas That Are Both Stylish and Functional


These open kitchen ideas prove an important fact: even a small design change can work a lot of magic on a house. In fast-paced lives, cooking and eating together as a household has become a rarity for many. It’s also true that most people wouldn’t say no to the illusion of more square footage—and open kitchens can solve both of these things. When open lounges and free-standing islands migrate into living areas, they can become some the most inviting areas in a home, making it easier for people to interact and come together. And without additional walls and doors, the whole connected space feels bigger. Need some inspiration to pull it off correctly? Below, find nine stunning open kitchen ideas.

In this renovated apartment in Berlin’s Schöneberg district, the open kitchen is part of a large built-in unit that extends from the first floor to the mezzanine level. When creating the space, the language of the existing elements—such as the columns and the staircase made of galvanized steel—was embraced by the team led by architect Jan Ulmer. Using colored cabinets and panels for the refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher gives the kitchen a uniform, clean look (the oven is on the back side of the island). These tricks create an open kitchen that is both discreet and eye-catching all at once.

Because they’re easy to maintain, tiles have always been a popular material for kitchens. And if you select wisely, they can fit harmoniously into living spaces too. Architects Tal Schori and Rus Mehta, founders of GRT Architects, chose small-format tiles with a handmade shimmering finishes for this New York apartment remodel. By covering the kitchen island in the same tiles, they created a stunning burgundy monolith that competes for attention with the playful flooring and brass details. Oak cabinets provide a calm backdrop and complete the handcrafted look.

Rosana Fuster Torregrosa likes to keep things neat in her apartment in Valencia, Spain. But with three children, that’s not always easy. So, the architect came up with something special for the design of her open kitchen. Instead of the usual backsplash on walls, she opted for six black roller blinds that hide the coffee machine, tea kettle, cooking utensils, spices, and even two faucets. All cooking essentials are easy to access, but she can quickly hide them too. While the open kitchen is the heart of the apartment, there is still a sense of separation from the dining and living areas thanks to the contrasting flooring and the sliding glass doors along one side of the space.

When Ester Bruzkus Architects embarked on this project, they were starting with an almost blank canvas. With nothing more than two concrete walls and two walls of glass, the architects had plenty of room to play. To keep the atmosphere “raw, cool, and open,” they didn’t partition the open space into many rooms, but instead put in a bright green box that houses not only the kitchen, but other functional areas as well. The “Green Box” (as the architects called the unit) also has room for books and even a small sauna tucked in the back.

Though open kitchens are plenty, integrating a kitchen unit and island into a home’s living area in a truly natural way isn’t always easy. In this project in Madrid, Räl 167 has elegantly achieved that goal without compromising on practicality. While the actual cooking area features subtle gray tiles with a natural stone look, the walnut panels, which conceal plenty of storage space and kitchen appliances, create a link to the living area.

In this kitchen in a home in the Uccle district of Brussels, natural materials take center stage. The residents, a family that collects contemporary ceramics, wanted natural and preferably eco-friendly materials in earthy colors for the redesign of their home. To fulfill this wish, interior designer Nathalie Deboel chose Japanese yakisugi wood for the home’s entryway, sand-colored onyx marble for the kitchen island and countertop, and light oak for the floor-to-ceiling cabinets that hold small kitchen gadgets and other items.

With a palette of warm sand, wood, and beige tones, the designers at Decus Interiors brought a fresh sea breeze into a fashion blogger’s apartment in Sydney. When choosing materials, they placed particular emphasis on contrast, especially by combining matte and glossy surfaces. This tactic is particularly evident in the kitchen, where cabinets made of pale plywood sit above and below a mirrored backsplash. The island of fine Carrara marble (with two stools of relatively dark untreated oak) in the center of the room serves as a room divider, marking the transition to the somewhat more formal living area. The sanded narrow floorboards provide a connecting element between both spaces.

Joke Eden, architect, designer, and one of the two managing directors of Donnerblitz Design, transformed a Münster, Germany, townhouse from 1900 into his dream home. However, the highlight of the project is the kitchen on the first floor. Joke wanted a light and airy look, which is why most of the elements—the cabinets, walls, and floor—are in white, complemented by accents in yellow and orange. Sufficient storage space was created with floor-to-ceiling cabinets and an island, which Joke outfitted with an eye-catching custom terrazzo top and the three-dimensional oak paneling. The latter makes the island look less “kitcheny” and more like a bar when seen from the living room side.

Interior designers Selma Akkari and Rawan Muqaddas deliberately went for exciting contrasts when renovating this apartment in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood. It’s not surprising, then, that when it came to choosing a kitchen, they opted for a model by Denmark’s David Thulstrup, who is best known for his skillful combination of refined and ultra-modern elements. Here, industrial-looking aluminum elements, eye-catching Calacatta marble, and dark wood mingle elegantly. Additionally, the absence of wall cabinets makes the kitchen unit and island look more like pieces of furniture and thus better integrated into the living area. The overall design emphasizes the apartment’s airy, contemporary atmosphere while staying true to the building’s historic character.

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