It’s true that the kitchen is heart of the home, however in contemporary living arrangements it is often part of a shared space that encompasses all aspects of family life from cooking and dining to entertaining, socialising and even working.
Whilst these open plan designs brings everyone together, they tend to blur the traditional formal lines that once separated all of these activities into different rooms. Rather than appropriating separate rooms for different activities, the challenge becomes juggling the space to accommodate all the things that the family may choose to do; weather watching TV, homework, cook meals, entertain, playing games… the list is expansive. Often with a new large, light open space created it provides the blank canvas for such a hub of activity, how do you manage a space with a constant flow of ever-changing movement, without it becoming chaos?
Dividing an open plan living space into cohesive zoned areas defines individual living areas and activities, without closing anything off entirely. The strategic placement of furniture will visually determine these zones and encourage the movement from one area to another, for example; relaxing in front of the television, without feeling distracted by people in the kitchen.
Whilst this maintains some order and gives activities direction, decorating the space can be a challenge – especially if your household is one where media devices and gadgets rule the roost. With this in mind, how do you incorporate the increasing need for modern technology into the home?
Storage cabinets double up in function, acting as room dividers and offering an ideal solution for hiding away gadgets when they’re not being used. Taking it a step further, smart cabinetry that incorporates both open shelving and concealed storage allows for a seamless integration of a television, and is particularly useful if you have a big TV ensuring that it doesn’t dominate the room. DVD players and stereos can be kept in the cupboards below, out of sight. Wiring can be kept discreet, by concealing behind the unit or securing behind panelling.
Some enjoy the idea of watching television while they prepare dinner and there are clever ways of making this possible without taking away from the overall design of the kitchen. Fitting your cabinetry with a drop-down system will keep the TV away from the preparation area, add space and improve cleanliness. It can also be stored out of the way when not in use. Alternatively, placing your media devices into a recess puts them level with the wall or cabinet surfaces, which offers a more discrete solution than just mounting them on the wall.
Clever storage under seating is also another solution for tucking away gadgets when they’re not needed. Bench seating lends itself to this very nicely, and is often placed under a window, creating a reading space. If you opt for sofa’s in your open plan living area, then an alternative is a coffee table/storage unit. This is ideal for hiding remote controls, computer games or DVDs, helping to instantly de-clutter the space.
Modern life involves a multitude of modern technology, but it doesn’t have to take over your home. With a few clever storage options you can hideaway your TV, stereo and other gadgets, and let the natural beauty of your garden room or orangery speak for itself.