Transform your open-concept living space into a cozy haven! Learn expert tips on how to close off the kitchen from the living room in just minutes.

An open floor plan with a living room and kitchen combo is a better deal than you think. It is one of the most popular design trends over the last years, and it pushes a house’s market value up just as easily as a fancy indoor pool.

But how much privacy does it provide? You are right, not much. Open large living space certainly has its perks and upsides, but it also has many obvious disadvantages.

How to close off the kitchen from the living room? Luckily, there are many options you can consider. You don’t always need a sturdy partition wall to isolate you while you are cooking, or to keep smells and sounds far from your guests.

How to close off the kitchen from the living room?

In this post, we’ve gathered some of the best solutions and ideas to address this common and annoying problem. Keep reading to find a trick that works best for you.

As you will see, all it takes to divide spaces in large living rooms is a little bit of creativity.

An open kitchen and living room combo – the pros and cons

Image source: RELM development&design

First things first – let’s gather all the facts before we embark on the ‘dividing open space’ ship. An open-plan living room with a kitchen has both advantages and disadvantages, and you need to know both before you make a decision.

In the end, the decision will depend on the marks and specifications of the room, the materials that were used, the furniture, the lifestyle, and so on.

Introduction to an open kitchen

Image source: Swanson Homes

What interior designers mean with an open-concept kitchen is a cooking area that is not separated from the rest of the house. It may be that the kitchen is combined with the dining room, the living room, or even the garden, resulting in one large area.

Why is this concept so popular? This is what designers say:

  • An open kitchen will keep the family together during meal preparation. The person in charge of the meal will also be entertained by watching TV and can keep an eye on the children while they are playing.
  • Natural light spreads unobstructed. There are no walls or a sliding door to block it, and cooking meals immediately gets easier and simpler.
  • Home cooks can entertain their guests even when the meal is not finished.
  • The kitchen is airier and better ventilated.
  • There is a visual illusion of more space, volume, and depth.

Introduction to a closed kitchen

Image source: CARNEMARK design + build

When we say ‘closed’, we don’t necessarily mean completely isolated and claustrophobic. What we mean is that there is a dedicated doorway to the kitchen and that preparing meals doesn’t occur in plain sight. These are the most popular reasons to opt for a closed kitchen:

  • You can hide the mess behind a closed door.
  • Your family is safer: An open kitchen is not the best place for your children and your pets.
  • You can easily hide kitchen cabinets, and you have more storage space.
  • Guest will not be intrigued to visit you in the kitchen while you are cooking.
  • The food odors and smells won’t spread all around the house.
  • You will offer guests a more formal dining experience.

All this being said, you may still decide to bring the kitchen and the living room together, as you have limited space. On the positive side, some visual tricks and ideas can help you separate the kitchen from the living room. Best of all, you won’t have to build a partition wall or install any doors.

Separate and mark the zones with furniture

Image source: Laney LA, Inc.

This is your number one trick if you are looking to stay on budget. For example, if you turn chairs backward, you immediately signal that there are two separate areas in the room. Best of all, there is no open layout that can’t be divided and redefined in this way.

Image source: Mitch Wise Design,Inc.

You can also enhance a partition by positioning a sofa table on the backside of the sofa and decorating it with a cute lamp. You can achieve pretty much the same with any larger furniture piece, such as a sideboard, a bookcase, or even an open shelving unit. Make it a win-win, and secure some extra storage space.

The same trick can be used to divide a formal dining room from the living space. If you have a nice console table you always wanted to display, turn it into a focal barrier.

Use folding screens

Image source: Donald Lococo Architects

You can get a portable, budget-friendly screen for some extra privacy in the kitchen. Folding screens are cheap and easy to maintain, and you can get any color or style that matches your current designs.

Image source:Allen Construction

Folding screens are usually made of metal, assorted wood, metals, or even woven grasses, and they will easily fit your layout. They act as vertical barriers between the two rooms that can be removed upon need. This means you can use them in any room you want, or even remove them completely when you make peace with the open floor concept.

How do they look? The screens are sold in three or four-piece packages that can be folded easily when stored. You can even have them custom-made, and choose a piece of famous artwork or a panoramic photograph to add some flair to your room.

Use the ceiling

Image source: KDW Home/Kitchen Designworks

Here is an idea you probably didn’t consider – using the ceiling. Inset ceilings with wallpaper or carefully positioned bulb lights can divide a room just as well as a barn door would. Better yet, this is an uncommon and very stylish addition to the home that provides extra character.

Both the kitchen and the living area will benefit from a beautiful ceiling. If you want an even bolder and more effective solution, enhance the ceiling with molding or with paint.

Image source: Harwick Homes

If you have a few extra bucks on the budget or carpentry skills, consider different heights for the ceiling. The boundary will be more impactful than ever, and you won’t occupy any floor space. In the end, you’ll get a room that’ll amaze and inspire everyone that sees it.

Let the color do the job

Image source:Levitch Associates, Inc

Color is also a very powerful differentiation tool. Try painting the kitchen area in one color, and the formal living space in another, and the difference will be self-explanatory. Get consistent rugs and pillows, and make sure the textures work with each other. You can rest assured no one will mistake the kitchen for the living room.

Choose the color scheme with care. It is important to choose colors that contrast each other, but make sure that the space doesn’t look busy and cramped.

Deep walls separating an open space

Image source: Loop Design

Deep walls, or as they are also known half-walls, can also do the trick. Most homeowners use them outside, to enhance the stone optics in their garden or to mark the grilling area from the parking space. Deep walls provide a clean yet complete separation in an open plan. You will get two spaces without necessarily investing in an actual wall.

Image source: Allen Construction

With a low wall, you can do chores while remaining on top of everything going on in the room. You benefit from fresh air and natural light, as well as a more pleasant atmosphere. The partial series also provides easy access to the open plan kitchen, and you can use them to display drinks and accessories.

The style will once again depend on the open floor plans set. They can be rustic, modern, industrial, antique, etc.

Glass walls

Image source: Total Solutions Group

Let’s tackle the issue of natural light again – a limited amount of light in the kitchen can be a serious problem, so why not let sunshine through? Glass partitions may be the perfect solution.

A full-glass wall with doors or glass cabinets can do the trick. The open floor feeling will be preserved, but the people in each area will still have some privacy. You can listen to some music while you cook, and the person in the other room can take a call. No issue at all!

Image source: TVL Creative Ltd.

Designers also recommend rotating glass louvers and glass shelves for some extra display space. The glass doesn’t need to be transparent – play with lighting and shadows on the panels, and you will be amazed by the results.

The old good island counter

Image source: Jeff Schlarb Design Studio

Sometimes, solutions allowing partial access or limited access will make no sense. If you have a large family and lots of friends that move around freely, forget about doors. A kitchen island is the right solution for you.

Image source:AKG Design Studio LLC

Despite being, in essence, a large and tall table, an island makes it clear who is the chef and who is the audience. The boundary point can be further enhanced with a couple of counter stools or a minifridge for guests to serve themselves.

If a built-in island sounds too permanent and committing, you can get one on casters and unlock them only upon need. You can then push the island to the side when you need more space.


Image source: The Alhadeff Group

Many open floor plan rooms have traditional, brick-and-mortar columns. Such columns are perfect for open spaces, as they divide the kitchen from the living room, and still allow light and air to move freely.

If you have a smaller room, use thinner columns made of wood as alternatives. The effect will still be the same.

Image source: Montana Reclaimed Lumber Co.

Mark separate zones with area rugs Greet the most cost-efficient solution on this list: area rugs. Next to being soft and comfortable, area rugs also enhance the decor and neutralize noise in a large room. They will divide the room into two distinct areas, and add some texture to make it more fun.

When it comes to rugs, the most important thing is size. The rug should be as long as the largest piece of furniture, if not less. As for the style, use the rug to add a refreshing pop of color to the room, and choose a pattern that works with your personality. You will love the results.

Divide the room like a pro

Image source: De Mattei Construction

If a folding screen or a half wall just won’t do, consider a more advanced solution. Some homeowners change the level of their room and create a sunken area with a specific use. For instance, there is a main floor area for seating and entertaining guests, and it looks more spacious than it is.

Then, there is a slightly lowered and intimate kitchen for preparing meals. This solution, however, is more expensive and difficult to execute. At the same time, it is challenging for people with mobility issues. Consider installing handrails or other supporting items.

Use your decorations and accessories

Image source: Bushman Dreyfus Architects

There is a saying that the best designers are the masters of accessorizing. To divide a room, creative and artsy homeowners can get the job done with nothing but accessories.

For instance, hang an oversized sculpture on the wall right between the living room and the kitchen. You can even divide them with a beautiful hang curtain. You can achieve the same effect with a set of potted plants, or a large ficus tree for extra organic beauty.

When deciding how to close off the kitchen from the living room, many homeowners decide to install an aquarium or a fish tank. This solution is both practical and entertaining, and can easily fit any decor scenario. Just imagine how lovely it would look inside a rustic, repurposed window frame or among ceramic tiles.

If you enjoyed reading this article about how to close off the kitchen from the living room, you should check out this article on how to arrange a narrow living room.

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