News, Updates and Inspiration

Open Concept or Separated Kitchen?

Our clients opt for open concept kitchens approximately 80% of the time. That statistic is not a huge surprise.

Open concept kitchens have been a growing household staple in the last 20 years or so. When you’re renovating your kitchen, the choice to make the space open concept seems to be a no-brainer these days.

If you’re hesitant to open your kitchen up to the rest of your home, you aren’t alone. Plenty of our clients still want to maintain some privacy. A separated kitchen, living room, and dining space can still work. In fact, when my wife and I renovated five years ago we opted for a separated kitchen as well.

Saving Space

Often our clients believe open concept kitchens will give them more kitchen space, while private kitchens are synonymous with cramped kitchens. There are ways to designing and renovating a separate kitchen that can improve functionality, comfort, and enjoyment – even when it comes to a kitchen that’s limited in size. Let’s take a look at my own kitchen to see how we maximized our space:

On the functionality side, we wanted to add as much counter space as possible. To accomplish this, pick your appliances carefully! Counter depth and built-in fridges save space as well, along with the choice not to oversize your cooktop or oven.

Colour Choices

We chose light coloured cabinets for our own kitchen. One unified colour will create a sense of increased space in a room. This also goes for countertops and your backsplash. White marble is an option, but it’s not the most practical choice. Caesarstone offers a variety of really nice light coloured design options – I personally like their 4600 Organic White or 1411 Pure White.


Natural lighting is important to maximize space in a kitchen. Wherever possible, consider including large sliding doors, a window above your kitchen sink, or a clerestory window above the upper cabinetry. These options are sure to provide much needed natural light to your kitchen.

Speaking of lighting, good lighting in your kitchen is significant in making the space appear larger. In our kitchen, we opted for a layered lighting design that includes overhead lighting, under cabinet lighting, and some decorative fixtures. These choices were integral for bringing the right feel and function to the room we envisioned.

Kitchen Flooring

One particularly nice thing about having a separate kitchen is that you have the option of choosing a separate flooring from your living and dining spaces. Hardwood has grown increasingly popular for kitchens over the past few years, and provides a range of options for colours, woods, and widths. Some clients prefer porcelain flooring because of its durability and resistance to wear. Another option is cork flooring, as it tends to blend well with the other flooring on the main floor. My personal preference is hardwood, which is the choice I made for my own kitchen as it blends nicely with the other flooring on the main floor.


Kitchen seating is another consideration to make in terms of space. Do you want a kitchen table, an island, or a peninsula for seating? An island is always a good starting point if you have the space, even if it is a small island with seating for two. In our kitchen, Cathy and I chose a larger island and opted out of having a kitchen table. Our island can seat up to eight people and we think it helps tie the room together.


Shelving choices can also help maximize space or improve the feel of your room. In my home, my wife and I chose open shelving. While this means a loss of storage, we felt that it better suited our space. We made up for the loss of storage with three floor to ceiling pantries that provide all of our storage for bulk food, dry goods, utensils, spare pots and pans, small appliances, and much more. These full-sized pantries reduced our need for upper cabinets.

While open concept spaces are increasingly popular, a private kitchen shouldn’t be ruled out just because of a trend. In many homes, this choice can still work to suit your family’s needs. Want to explore your options? Give us a shout.

Free Handy Renovation Checklist:  Our super helpful renovation checklist of things you don't want to forget when  planning your renovation.  Click here to download.