Overwhelmed with your limited space? Discover how to transform your small area into a functional yet stylish haven with these open plan kitchen living room ideas. A spacious feel is just around the corner.

Key Summary

  • Strategic lighting creates visual boundaries and enhances room aesthetics.
  • L-shaped sofas can provide separation and comfort in an open space.
  • Using contrasting colours differentiates zones and visually expands space.
  • A focus on functionality and simplicity can make spaces feel open and uncluttered.
  • Multi-functional furniture optimises small spacs with a small kitchen living room combo, increasing functionality without compromising roominess.

What's an Open Plan Kitchen Living Room?

An open plan kitchen living room is a contemporary design approach where the kitchen and living area share a common space without any dividing walls or barriers.

This concept has gained popularity in recent years thanks to the seamless flow it offers that enhances social interactions. In compact homes, it serves as a strategic solution to maximise space, enabling homeowners to utilise every square foot efficiently.

Best Small Open Plan Kitchen Living Room Ideas

1. Use Lights to Define Areas

Lighting is more than just illuminating a space; it’s about creating an atmosphere. Implementing diverse and clever lighting ideas can create a visual boundary, giving a clear definition to both the kitchen and the living area. To achieve this, pendant lights can be suspended over the kitchen counter or island, while subtle floor lamps or wall sconces can be used in the living section. The mixture of these lighting choices not only defines the space but also elevates the room's aesthetic appeal.

Pepper Pro Tip: Dimmable lights offer the versatility of changing the ambiance according to mood or occasion.

Enhances room aesthetics
Promotes energy efficiency

Might require expert installation
Can become expensive

Featured: Autumnal Bliss

2. Create Sections Using Sofas

Sofas, especially those with defining shapes like the L-shape, can be ideal for small spaces. Using a sofa as a soft divider gives an unobtrusive sense of separation between the kitchen and living room. It also adds to the comfort and functionality of the space, providing seating while distinguishing areas.

Pro Tip: Incorporate throw pillows that match the kitchen's colour palette to unify the space.

Dual functionality
Enhances cosiness

Can limit arrangement flexibility

Featured: Lilly Loose Cover Linen 3 Seater Sofa
Lilly Loose Cover Linen 3 Seater Sofa VIEW NOW

3. Colour Block Zoning

The art of colour blocking is about using bold, contrasting colours to differentiate zones. Painting the kitchen in a distinct, yet harmonious colour scheme can create clear zones without the need to put up walls or barriers. Such a strategy makes the space appear larger and more organised.

Pro Tip: Soft pastels for the living area and bold hues for the kitchen often create an inviting contrast.

Visually expands space
Allows creative expression

Might feel disjointed if colours clash

Featured: Sensation

4. Embrace Minimalism

A minimalist approach isn’t just about having fewer items; it’s about making those items count. Opting for a design that prioritises functionality and simplicity allows small spaces to be transformed, feeling open and uncluttered. Prioritising essentials and removing excess can provide a serene, spacious ambiance.

Pro Tip: Invest in hidden storage solutions to keep essentials accessible yet out of sight.

Reduces clutter
Promotes tranquillity

Limited decorative freedom

Featured: Interior design concept for small appartmet Twiggy

5. Use Space Saving Furniture

Furniture plays a pivotal role in optimising small spaces. Multi-functional furniture, such as ottomans with storage or wall-mounted drop leaf tables, can provide the functionality of larger furniture without occupying the same amount of space. Choosing items that can be folded, tucked away, or used for multiple purposes ensures you are making the most of all space in the room.

Featured: Gia Transforming Coffee to Dining Table

Pro Tip: Wall-mounted furniture, like desks or dining tables, can be folded away when not in use to free up floor space.

Enhances room functionality
Promotes neatness

Might be pricier than traditional furniture

Featured: Gia Transforming Coffee to Dining Table
Gia Transforming Coffee to Dining Table 104cm VIEW NOW

Short on space? It’s time to try a transforming table

6. Use Rugs to Define Spaces

Rugs, with their varied textures, patterns, and colours, can serve as visual cues for different zones within an open space. Placing a plush rug in the living area and perhaps a more resilient, easy-to-clean rug in the dining or kitchen zone allows you to create a visual and tactile distinction between areas without the need for walls or partitions.

Featured: Interior design concept Tranquil Moment. Designed by Topology Interiors
Living Room Furniture Set Tranquil Moment SHOP THE LOOK

Pro Tip: Stick to a cohesive colour palette across rugs for a unified look.

Adds warmth
Introduces texture

Requires maintenance
Potential trip hazard

7. Opt for Vertical Storage

With limited floor space, it’s time to think vertically. Wall-mounted shelves, magnetic knife strips, or hanging pot racks can free up valuable counter space in the kitchen. In the living area, vertical storage can be used for books, decor, or multimedia.

Featured: A Little Design Heaven
A Little Design Heaven SHOP THE LOOK

Pro Tip: Ensure shelves and storage solutions complement the room's decor for a seamless look.

Maximises space utility
Promotes organisation

Can make walls appear cluttered if overdone

Eclipse Ceramic Top 6 Drawer Tallboy, Khaki VIEW NOW

8. Transparent Furniture

Items like glass tables or lucite chairs can offer the functionality of furniture without visually crowding the space. Their transparent nature allows the eye to travel, making the space feel more open.

Pro Tip: Pair transparent furniture with solid, textured rugs or decor for a balanced look.

Enhances visual space
Modern appeal

Can show smudges or fingerprints
May not suit all decor styles

From Above Round Glass Side Table 52cm, Smokey Grey Glass / Black Noir VIEW NOW

9. Flexible Layouts

Incorporate furniture pieces that can be easily moved or reconfigured. This offers flexibility in adjusting the space for different needs, whether it's hosting a dinner party or a movie night.

Featured: Barbican Convertible Coffee - Dining Table

Pro Tip: Invest in lightweight furniture with wheels, modular or extendable sections.

Featured: Barbican Convertible Coffee - Dining Table
Barbican Convertible Coffee - Dining Table 120/220 cm, Marble Effect VIEW NOW

Level up your living room with these space-saving dining tables

10. Incorporate Greenery

Plants can breathe life into a space, and when used smartly, they can also serve as dividers or focal points. Use tall plants to hint at separation between spaces, or smaller plants to accent areas.

Pro Tip: Opt for low-maintenance plants that thrive in indoor conditions.

Enhances air quality
Adds a touch of nature

Requires maintenance
Potential for overwrought

Featured: Interior design concept Tranquil Moment. Designed by Topology Interiors
Tranquil Moment SHOP THE LOOK

11. Mirror Magic

Mirrors, especially large ones, can make a room appear almost double its size. Reflecting light and the room’s contents helps to create the illusion of depth and space.

Pro Tip: Place mirrors opposite light sources to maximise brightness and depth illusion.

Visually enlarges space
Enhances natural light

Might reveal clutter
Needs regular cleaning

Featured: Pastel Explosion
Pastel Explosion SHOP THE LOOK

12. Streamlined Kitchen Appliances

Compact, built-in kitchen appliances can save space in modern, small open kitchen living rooms without compromising on functionality. Whether it’s a built-in microwave, a slim refrigerator, or an under-counter washing machine, there are numerous modern appliances designed specifically for small spaces.

Pro Tip: Prioritise appliances based on daily utility and choose multi-functional ones when possible.

Efficient use of space
Maintains a sleek look

Typically, pricier than standard models

Featured: A Little Design Heaven
A Little Design Heaven SHOP THE LOOK

What to Avoid with Very Small Open Plan Kitchen Living Rooms

Designing a small kitchen living room combo requires a balance of aesthetics and functionality. Here are five common mistakes to sidestep when working with limited space.

Succumbing to Clutter

Every inch is valuable in an open-concept, small kitchen, so if you have the chance to remodel then prioritise storage solutions. Ensure countertops stay free from unnecessary items to maintain a spacious feel.

Over-relying on Oversized Furniture

Large furniture can dominate tiny spaces. Instead, opt for compact designs that fit snugly and harmoniously within the room's proportions.

Introducing Mismatched Themes

A cohesive design in open plan spaces ensures a seamless flow between zones. Maintain design and colour consistency to avoid a fragmented appearance.

Ignoring Lighting Dynamics

Lighting can make or break a room's ambiance. Embrace layered lighting solutions and avoid harsh, unflattering lights to ensure the room feels inviting.

Blocking Natural Light

Natural light can enhance the feeling of space in smaller rooms. Steer clear of obstructing windows and choose window treatments that allow a gentle influx of daylight.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you visually divide a kitchen and living room?

Use colour blocking, furniture arrangement, or distinct lighting fixtures to create a subtle division without the need for physical barriers.

How do you style a small kitchen living area?

Embrace minimalism, use multifunctional furniture, and incorporate cohesive colour schemes for a harmonious small kitchen living room combo.

What is the best colour for an open-plan kitchen?

Neutral colours, such as greys, whites, and beiges, work best as they offer flexibility and create an illusion of space in a small living room with a kitchen.


Transforming a compact space into an elegant and functional haven is achievable with the right strategies. Embracing lighting solutions, innovative furniture, and cohesive designs are just some of the many very small open plan kitchen living room ideas to enhance your home. The journey from a cramped area to a spacious-feel living zone is now within reach.