The kitchen often becomes the centre of activity in a home, so connecting it to the family room is an ideal set-up for your family. However, designing and decorating a combined kitchen/family room can often be a challenge because there are two distinct spaces, but there should still be some sense of unity between the areas. If you are planning a kitchen/family room, try to find a way for the rooms to flow into one another while still dealing with the concerns of each individual space.
Create Some Distance
While a kitchen/family room set up requires that some portion of the kitchen is open to the sitting room area, some homeowners are bothered when dirty dishes in the kitchen sink can be seen from the family room. Create some distance between the kitchen and family room without actually blocking off either room. One way to ensure that family and friends in the sitting area are not treated to a views of messy kitchen as you prepare or clean up after a meal is to raise the height of the counter so it blocks the sink and work surfaces used for meal preparation from sight. Typically, a height of 42 inches is sufficient to serve as a screen. Adding a casual dining area between the kitchen and family room can also serve as buffer between the spaces, so all of the sights and sounds of the kitchen do not intrude on the activity in the family room.
Choose Warm Colors
Kitchen/family room combinations inevitably become the central gathering location in a home, so you want to make the space as welcoming to family, friends and guests as possible. Decorating the space with a warm, natural colour palette helps establish an inviting feeling for the rooms so family and friends feel comfortable in the space. Some warm colours that work well in a kitchen family room include yellow, terracotta, orange and tan. In larger spaces, richer shades like wine and chocolate brown may work as well.
When paint shopping for your kitchen/family room, do not assume that you must use the same shade in both areas. You can choose two complementary colours so the areas each have a distinct feel.
Consider Visual Unity
When designing your space, attempt to create a sense of visual unity between the two areas. If you install a large built-in cabinet unit in your kitchen, add a matching unit at the other end of the space in the family room portion. To further unite the two spaces, paint the cabinets the same colour so the areas feel as if they are tied together. Another way to create visual unity is to use the same type of flooring throughout the space so there is no break as you move between the areas.
Because you will likely use your kitchen/family room for most of your casual entertaining, it is a good idea to have as much space available as possible. Elongating the countertops in the kitchen can provide additional room for bar stools, so you can use the counter as an informal dining area. It also allows you to hold more appliances, so if you decide that you require two dishwashers because of the volume of cooking that you do, there is room to accommodate them. The extra countertops provide additional space for cooking preparation work as well.