The keys to an
open kitchen

Black open kitchen fitted in parallel

Today, the vast majority of clients we work with on their kitchen projects want to create an open space. More convivial and more conducive to family life, the open kitchen is becoming more and more attractive, as it fits in with our contemporary lifestyle.

However, before embarking on this type of project, it is necessary to establish precise specifications by asking yourself several questions: “What are my habits?” “What would I like to do in this space other than cook: work, have the children do their homework or entertain friends?” “How big do I want this space to be?” “How do I want to arrange my kitchen?” and many other questions that we will help you answer during the first phases of your kitchen project.

In the meantime, here are a few ideas to help you think things through:

Delimit the kitchen area

We tend to opt for an open kitchen that looks into the living room or dining room, especially in small spaces. Opening up the kitchen allows you to gain light and space, and gives an impression of volume to the room.

Nevertheless, be careful to delimit the spaces. To do this, several solutions are available: integrate a high bar or a kitchen island into the layout, opt for a different floor covering from the living room, identify the kitchen area by painting the walls and ceiling and creating a frame, play with materials by putting wallpaper or tiles only on the kitchen side, etc.

Kitchen project with central island open to the dining room

How to choose your kitchen furniture

As we said at the beginning of this article, the first step is to identify your desires, your needs and your constraints. In addition to the fact that your units must be functional, they must also be aesthetically pleasing and fit in with the room as a whole. Similarly, the layout of the kitchen furniture units and modules is an important factor to consider.

Let's look at these issues in detail:
Take the time to analyse what you find practical in your current kitchen and, conversely, what you would like to improve. List what you need to put in your kitchen, but also what you want to add (a new food processor or more dishes?). Ask yourself what you plan to do with the space, whether it will be used only for cooking or for something else.

This time of introspection will help you to choose between different interior design solutions, but will also guide you in the choice of materials.

Different Santos kitchen furniture fronts

Next, it is obviously important to consider your taste and determine the spirit you would like to give your open kitchen. Would you rather give your open kitchen a rustic feel? We would recommend natural wood finishes such as Rustic Oak or American Walnut. Do you want a modern and chic space? Then Silk Black, Mink Grey or Silk Sapporo White will probably suit you better.

Finally, you should analyse your constraints by studying the configuration of your room. The size of the room, water and electricity supplies, and the location of doors and windows will influence your choice of kitchen furniture units.

Keep in mind the different types of kitchen distribution possible

The linear open kitchen

The linear kitchen layout is particularly recommended for narrow, long areas. In order not to overload the space, only one wall section is fitted. This is a simple and practical solution that allows for a balanced, minimalist and very aesthetic result when the right units are chosen.

This kitchen distribution allows the space to be fully utilised from floor to ceiling, especially by opting for smart solutions, such as our plinth box system, which provides an additional storage area to be added in place of the plinths.

Linear kitchen layout
Kitchen furniture unit with drawers and plinth box

The parallel open kitchen

An ideal solution for large rectangular spaces, the parallel open kitchen allows for more storage space while optimising movement. To guarantee fluidity and freedom of movement, you need to leave at least 1m20 between the two lines of units.

Parallel open kitchen

The L-shaped open kitchen

This is the most common kitchen layout, as it is possible for both small and large open kitchens. With this layout, movement between the different work areas is limited, while leaving free space in the centre of the kitchen area.

In short, the L-shaped open kitchen is both practical and adaptable to any space.

L-shaped open kitchen

The U-shaped open kitchen

From an ergonomic point of view, the U-shaped kitchen is the best way to make the most of the space. With this type of layout, the triangle of activity formed by the cooking, washing and storage areas is optimised to perfection, making it easier to move around and keep everything within easy reach.

However, this kitchen layout is not recommended for spaces that are too small, as it can result in a cramped area.

U-shaped open kitchen

Open kitchen with central island

The open kitchen with a central island is still very popular. However, although it is a practical, user-friendly and functional solution, the kitchen island is not suitable for all spaces. Indeed, it requires space and will not fit easily into a small open kitchen. It can either be dedicated solely to preparation or, as is more often the case, include a water and cooking area. A bar area can be incorporated for quick lunches or for working.

Before opting for this type of kitchen layout, it is important to study your space carefully to ensure that your movements can always be fluid. The ideal distance between the kitchen island and the rest of the units should be at least 1 metre.

Open kitchen with central island

Open kitchen with a bar

Similar to the central island, but smaller, the bar allows the kitchen area to be separated from the living room or dining room. It requires less space than a kitchen island and is therefore easier to install in small open kitchens. The bar allows you to take advantage of the space available and add a work area, storage and dining space.

Open kitchen with bar project

Think about the activity triangle before embarking on a kitchen project

The activity triangle corresponds to the cooking (hob, oven), washing (sink, dishwasher) and storage (fridge and cupboards) areas. For your kitchen distribution to be as ergonomic as possible, the path between these three areas must be quick and easy.

The activity triangle will therefore help determine the kitchen layout and position of the units in relation to each other. The cooking area and the washing area should ideally be 80 cm apart, while the dishwasher should be placed right next to the sink, for example.

Create a functional kitchen…

When creating an open kitchen that is connected to the dining room or living room, several mistakes should be avoided.

A man and a little girl in a black kitchen

The first? Neglecting the kitchen’s lighting. Indeed, the main source of light in the room is generally not enough to have a good view when cooking. It’s therefore necessary to think about installing an integrated light source, for example thanks to the LED lighting system that can be placed under the tall units and therefore illuminate the entire length of the kitchen worktop.

A man and a little girl in a black open kitchen with a parallel layout

Next, you must not neglect the kitchen’s storage space. It’s best to choose units that are easy to open and with an interior layout that makes everything easily accessible. For example, all sliding systems are very practical for finding the contents of the units easily. In addition, we offer a wide range of drawer systems for all our kitchen furniture models to keep you organised.

... but also aesthetic

An open kitchen means a visible kitchen. Your two living areas are associated and the style of one impacts the other. Care should be taken to ensure that the kitchen finishes fit in with the room. The choice of colours and the choice of materials are equally important, as they will give your space some character. Other elements not to be neglected are the handles, which contribute to the style of the kitchen, and the plinths (with the possibility of opting for our plinth box system, which allows you to optimise the storage space down to the floor).

Providing sufficient kitchen storage space is also essential. In fact, to avoid the mess on the worktop that invades the living/dining room area, everything must have its place. Hence the importance of anticipating what the units should contain in advance.

Open kitchen drawer
Cooking area of a kitchen worktop with ovens in the background

Making smart choices in terms of kitchen appliances

The two main problems of an open kitchen design that looks into the living room or dining room are noise and odours. To counter this, you need to be particularly careful about your choice of kitchen appliances.

In an open kitchen, the extractor fan is an almost indispensable investment to combat odours. Manufacturers have understood this and have transformed it into an aesthetically pleasing design object. Several solutions are possible depending on the kitchen’s distribution: built-in, suspended, combined with the hob, retractable, integrated into the wall, etc. It is available in several formats to meet your needs.

Woman in an open kitchen with central island

Who wants to be disturbed by the oven heating up or the dishwasher while watching a film on the sofa? This is the risk if you are not particularly careful when choosing this type of appliance in an open kitchen that looks into the living room. It is therefore essential to choose quiet appliances, which we ensure by offering you top-of-the-range brands such as Gaggeneau and Miele.