The kitchen, especially if it is small, is one of the most difficult rooms to properly organize the space. After all, here you need to allocate a place for cooking, the so-called work area, as well as space for family meals, a dining area. In order to be cozy and comfortable in the kitchen, it is better to distinguish between these two zones, and this can be done in a huge number of ways. Some of them are suitable for regular kitchens, while others are used for zoning kitchen-living rooms. Let’s consider the most popular and interesting options.
# 1. Zoning with lighting
Lighting is one of the most effective ways to zone a kitchen space. The work area needs sufficient bright lighting to comfortably handle food preparation. Here, the lamps built into the cabinets showed themselves best of all, which shine directly on the work surface. It is also good to equip the area above the sink with illumination, and use a backlit hood above the stove.
Above the dining area, you need to create soft and cozy lighting, conducive to pleasant family gatherings. It is best to place the dining table near the window to make the best use of natural light. In terms of artificial lighting, a ceiling lamp with an adjustable suspension height is perfect, and it should not hang in the center of the kitchen, but directly above the table. Several such small lamps can be envisaged. If this option is not to your liking, then you can use wall lamps, and if the kitchen area allows, even floor lamps. Also, the dining area can be highlighted with spotlights built into the ceiling, and a multi-level ceiling is generally a great idea, because it will visually divide the space into zones.
With all this, do not forget about the need for general lighting for the kitchen, which will combine the zones and be used when bright work lighting is unnecessary.
# 2. Zoning with wall decoration
If we are talking about a small kitchen, then the easiest way to divide it into zones is to use different finishing materials for both the walls and the floor. So, in the working area, the walls are best finished with ceramic tiles, and around the dining table use a warmer and more comfortable material: washable wallpaper, decorative plaster or paint of a certain shade. The transition between different materials should be noticeable, but it should not be too contrasting, because the room should be perceived as holistic and harmonious, but at the same time with several highlighted zones.
No. 3. Zoning with floor finishing
As for the flooring, it can also be used to highlight zones. In general, for zoning, it is better to combine several methods at once, and then it will turn out to create a full-fledged work and dining space. In the kitchen, you can use two different floor coverings: in the area of the sink, work surface, stove and refrigerator – tiles or porcelain stoneware, for example, and in the rest of the kitchen, which is intended for relaxation, use laminate or linoleum to make the space cozy. Some designers advise dividing the space into zones using the same material for flooring, but in a different shade, which also looks interesting.
No. 4. Using color in zoning
Different areas can be finished not only with different materials, but also have a different color scheme. In this regard, it is important not to overdo it and find a middle ground: the working and dining areas should be separated from each other, but not contrasting. It is better to work within the same color, using its shades: in this way it will be possible to visually highlight the zones, but at the same time maintain harmony.
It is worth making an amendment. If we are talking about a kitchen-living room, then in this case it is appropriate to use even contrasting shades, but you still need to act carefully. If you are not sure of your own decision, then it is better to use shades of the same color or resort to the help of a designer. The same goes for furniture: the general style should be observed, but the furniture should not be the same in the work and dining area.
# 5. Podium
If the kitchen is large enough or you are equipping the kitchen-living room, then you can use not only visual zoning, but also quite physical. This can be, for example, a podium, on which the dining area will be located. This is a great design trick that allows you to also get additional storage space, but at the same time it is worth considering how convenient it will be in your particular case: perhaps there are elderly people and young children in the family who will find such a podium difficult. The work area is sometimes also allocated with a podium, but this is often explained by the need to hide communications. Additional illumination of the podium will bring the final touch to the zoning of the room, and at the same time will create an unusual interior.
No. 6. Partitions, arches, screens
Between the kitchen and living area, you can create a small drywall partition, which will be in the form of an arch or semi-arch. You can use a partition made of wood and glass: due to its transparency, it will not reduce the room, but will clearly divide it into zones. Even screens and fabric can be used as partitions, because these are lightweight and mobile materials that do an excellent job of dividing rooms when needed, and can be easily removed if desired.
You can use sliding partitions, which are perfect for spacious kitchens or kitchens that are combined with a living room. During cooking, partitions can be closed so that odors do not spread, and then open, visually uniting all zones.
Another option is a barrier or semi-partition with a low height. Behind it you can hide some kind of kitchen furniture, and the eating area in this case will be perfectly separated.
No. 7. Bar counter
Today, the bar counter is one of the most popular ways to divide space, and it can be used both in ordinary kitchens and in kitchens-living rooms. Naturally, this is not an option for the smallest kitchens, but for many more or less spacious rooms it will work very well.
The bar counter is a multifunctional item. She not only copes with the division of space, but also transforms the interior, makes it modern and stylish. Moreover, it is also an additional place for a snack and even a full meal. In some cases, the bar counter can even become a full-fledged place for lunch and dinner, if, of course, we are talking about a small family.
No. 8. Unusual ways to zone space
The need to select several zones of different functionality in a small room at once pushes people to bold decisions. So, two zones can be divided by an aquarium or a system of shelves on which to arrange flowers, kitchen utensils, souvenirs and other items. The dining area can be highlighted with photographs or paintings, interesting photo wallpapers, etc. In search of the best solution for yourself, you need to turn on your imagination, and then you can end up with a beautiful and unique interior.
No. 9. Should I combine a kitchen with a living room?
This solution is very popular today. By combining the kitchen with the living room, you get a lot of advantages:
an increase in usable space, because there are no more walls that took away space and light;
an opportunity for the hostess to look after the children who are in the living room, watch TV, and indeed be with the whole family, without interrupting the cooking process. A separate TV in the kitchen is also not needed;
- when there are guests in the house, setting the table is very simple, because all the dishes and dishes can be transferred much faster and less energy is spent on it;
- the opportunity to create a unique and stylish interior.
But the desire to make the space bigger and brighter requires some sacrifices. Smells will spread to the living room area, in the kitchen you will have to keep order twice as hard as an open space requires. Some also complain about the lack of cozy privacy when relaxing or eating, but in the latter, zoning helps.
And yet, combining a kitchen and a living room is best only if you have a large apartment and each family member has a separate room. If the area of the kitchen and living room is small, then such a solution will also be very useful. What zoning methods, besides those described above, are suitable in this case?
No. 10. Furniture zoning
It is very easy to divide the work, dining and recreation areas with furniture. The most affordable option is a dining table, which is placed on the border of the zones: performing its direct function, it becomes an obvious space divider. To enhance the effect, you can put chairs of the same style around it, but in a different color, and their shade should correspond to the selected color scheme for the kitchen and living room area.
If the area allows, you can use the kitchen island for zoning. This is where the sink is located, maybe a stove, many drawers and storage areas, as well as a work area. It is important that there is still free space around the island to the walls or nearby pieces of furniture.
To separate the rest area and the work area, you can use the sofa with its back facing the work area. At the same time, not a centimeter of usable area is lost, but visually the space is divided no worse than if there were walls between the zones. Naturally, it is better not to choose branded upholstery for a sofa.
For large kitchens and combined kitchens-living rooms, a wardrobe can be used for zoning. This is a great storage place, the back wall of which can be decorated with photo wallpaper, or some pictures can be hung to transform the dining area.
The function of any zoning is to highlight comfortable zones in one room, in which a person will feel comfortable. Zoning is necessary not only for large kitchens and kitchens combined with living rooms, but also for any, even the smallest space, otherwise different zones will mix, turning the kitchen into chaos. In order to highlight the areas in the kitchen, you can use several different methods, but it is better to combine them, and then even the tiniest kitchen will turn into a comfortable place for cooking and family gatherings.