by Blake Herzog
The ubiquity of the open-concept floor plan and its centering of the kitchen has made it difficult to try to picture anything else.
Kitchens in older homes have long been built with more walls and placed farther from the main living area, though it’s often more open than other rooms, featuring an entryway with no door.
Pandemic conditions fueled a lot of ire at the largely wall-free home, but even before many people longed for barriers behind which they could prepare meals without family and visitors constantly intruding — and hide the dirty pots and pans.
Here are a few ideas on enclosing that kitchen.
Raise your island
If a kitchen island is the main visual barrier between your kitchen and living room and you’re most concerned about hiding messes and spills from view, raising its edge might be all you need to do.
Putting up even a small visual barrier like a wood or stone border can work. If you have room, add a taller counter with a couple of barstools on the living room side, adding another place to eat while blocking the view into the kitchen for anyone not sitting right there.
Put your doors on track
If you’re looking to add a door to a doorway you can slide a barn-style door into that slot instead. The styling and materials can make it look as classic or contemporary as you need.
They’re also much easier to install than pocket doors. If yours is one of the many kitchens with an attached counter instead of an island providing a partial boundary between the kitchen and living room, an accordion door or glass partition between the counter and ceiling creates a lot more privacy.
Work from the ceiling down
Pendant lighting, other types of light fixtures or hanging art pieces suspended over open counters are a great way to delineate the kitchen without getting too heavy-handed by putting in a wall or door.
Rearrange the furniture
This can be a primary or secondary strategy to emphasize the division between a kitchen or living room — simply make sure the sofa is nearest to the kitchen and is facing away from it.
Because the couch will likely draw most people in the kitchen it’ll position their eyes and thoughts away from where all the grunt work is being done.