Kitchen layout with island - Photo by Brad Bowsher

by Dan Fritschen

The current trend for modern homeowners is to have large, open-plan kitchen and dining areas that create an airy and inviting social space for family and friends to congregate. Many older homes are built to a more traditional model of separate kitchen and dining rooms, but modern homeowners, particularly those with large families, want the best of both worlds.

The combined kitchen and dining space allows for an easier flow of traffic throughout the home, and for a busy and hectic family with people coming in and out all the time, this is essential! Parents can prepare food while keeping an eye on the kids without them getting in the way while they’re cooking, while friends and other family members can sit and chat to anyone who’s cooking instead of them being locked away in a separate room!

If you have a kitchen and separate dining room next door to each other, a common kitchen remodel project is to demolish the wall that divides them and combine them into one open-plan space. You can then keep your dining table on one side and the kitchen of the other with the helpful addition of a kitchen island.


Kitchen layouts with islands serve many purposes; the island itself is handy extra prep space and can even include an extra sink and drainer. The island also easily divides and defines the space in the open-plan room – which is great, for example, so kids know where there’s a border they shouldn’t cross if someone is cooking.

If you don’t have the space in your kitchen/dining area for a full table and chairs then the island can double as your informal dining table. To make sure the kitchen island works best for its many uses, fit the island with a durable surface that can withstand all the food prep that goes on, the same as your other countertops. But give the island an inviting dining table feel; an attractive centerpiece  with some comfortable and stylish stools will give your kitchen an intimate feel, whether it’s for a quick family breakfast or a simple meal between friends.

Ideally, your open plan kitchen layout will also include a separate dining room for more formal occasions and larger gatherings. Consider building a dining room addition so you can make your home as flexible a space as possible for any occasion!

You can find plenty more great kitchen and dining room ideas in our Design Gallery, which you can then save and share in our IdeaFile. To get an estimate of the cost to remodel a kitchen, try our free, easy to use online kitchen remodel cost calculator.