3 Rules of Decorating an Open Kitchen

Are doorways and walls a thing of the past? An open floor plan can make your home feel like a cohesive, communal space -- if you know what to do with it.

Executive Editorial Director Decorating, Home, and Style

Go monochrome. Wall color should wrap. If the kitchen and living area are designed to function as one, there’s no need to create the illusion of a second room. One large, airy space is much more impressive than two clashing corners.

Sweat the small stuff. Does your coffee table match your cabinetry? When two rooms become one, details matter. If you’re renovating and want to tear down a wall, consider what’s involved in getting the two rooms in sync, as the cost of redecorating one or both rooms can greatly affect your budget.

Think function first. Open floor plans are very social. It’s wonderful to have a companion lounging on the sofa while you’re prepping dinner -- but it’s also unrealistic to assume that no food or drink will make it past the counter. Keeping the vibe casual (and the furniture stain-resistant) will help you make the most of your space’s unique functionality.

About the Author

Kevin Sharkey

Kevin Sharkey is Senior Vice President and Executive Editorial Director, Decorating, and Executive Creative Director, Merchandising for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO). A designer and all-around creative expert, he plays a vital role in shaping MSLO’s editorial content and product designs. Mr. Sharkey came to MSLO in 1995 from Parish-Hadley, a venerable New York City...


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