A connected kitchen and dining area make life easier when it comes to entertaining guests and family. For parties and larger events, the tables and chairs can be removed to make room for people to mingle, enjoy their drinks and eat buffet that can be served on the island.

If you’ve opted for an open plan kitchen/diner, here Dakota Murphey interior design specialist working with The Brighton Kitchen Company are 9 fabulous ideas to make the space work for you, your family and your friends.

A one-wall open kitchen

Why not go with a design of floor-to-ceiling cabinetry together with a single wall of appliances. This is great for an open-floor plan. Include a long island that has a sink built in and is also large enough for additional storage. Three or four comfy stools make the perfect island seating where friends can be close but not get in the way while you’re cooking up a storm. And while you’re about it, why not add a large U-shaped arch that connects the kitchen with your dining area? Removing a wall lets extra light flood into the kitchen and make the space seem even bigger.

Two-island kitchen

If your kitchen is large, get creative and make yours a two-island kitchen – two sinks, twin refrigerators and two islands. Ideally, you should choose white cabinets and paint the walls in light colours so the room doesn’t feel cluttered and overwhelmed. Glass inserts in the upper cabinets add a classy touch and make the room feel lighter. A vaulted ceiling will add volume and style and the addition of a skylight will help to make the room more bright and cheerful. Twin islands have a luxurious feel and are great for prep space, storage, and for enjoying the odd casual meal.

Modern-style kitchen

For a chic, modern look, have your cabinets fitted right up to the ceiling. Darker coloured walls, like a deep blue, work well and a sleek central ‘floating’ island provides a perfect

open-floor plan that flows naturally into the dining space. (Oh, and those tall cabinets are just perfect for storage.)

Furniture features

Open shelving around a doorway complements a painted wooden island and stainless-steel appliances like a range or cooker hood. In addition, low-profile chrome stools will give your kitchen a stylish, contemporary look and feel.

Light makes the difference

If your kitchen has some natural light, fitting translucent glass room dividers will add even more sparkle. LED down-lighting controlled by a dimmer switch lets you set the mood on those dark winter days and nights. Glass-front cabinets and a painted island work well too, as do walls in pale, neutral tones.

Kitchens with contrast

Make your kitchen’s dominant colour white, but have dark wood accents on the chairs and choose dark-coloured rugs. The island countertop could also be a dark shade of granite or quartz. Let the dining area table repeat the dark wood tones, but also add some lighter wood shades. And for a wonderful contrast, paint the walls in two different shades of light blue.

Casual dining kitchen

A kitchen that is open to the dining area is a much more inviting space. If your kitchen area is cramped, consider a minimalist, uncluttered look. Make the best of what you’ve got, and forget the island – let your prep space be on one of the counter tops. To make the room seem brighter and larger than it is, decorate with a small white table and two low, painted benches that can be pushed under the table out of sight. And why not go with just one wall of cabinetry and appliances? If you have the budget, you could always take down a wall and open up the room.

High-traffic area kitchen

If your kitchen is right in the middle of the main flow of traffic, then divide the space with two peninsula islands and have a walkway in the middle to let people pass by. This layout allows you to have a dedicated work zone on each side of the kitchen and the peninsula islands are handy when you have to feed friends and family.

Open kitchen with ornate detailing

Why not consider going over the top with your kitchen design and include some ornate French detailing and decoration throughout. The kitchen island could be painted in high-gloss white and you could install an ornate French wood-burner and an over-elaborate banquette. Voila!