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Kitchen Diner Design Ideas

Kitchen diners fit in perfectly with modern, hybrid lifestyles, creating a space for everything from food preparation and keeping an eye on the kids to entertaining and office work. Here’s how to create the perfect space with open plan kitchen diner ideas from our London-based design and build company.

How to Create a Stylish Kitchen Diner

Kitchen diners are a part of both large and small homes due to their flexible functionality and – when done right – their eye-catching style.

When designing a kitchen diner, it’s important to create a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Whether for a large or small space, kitchen diners are all about the flow of traffic in the kitchen space and through to the rest of the house. You don’t want people getting in each other’s way while the multifunction space is being used. Because of this, what you build and what you put in the space has to match how you want to use it. And this can be a lot more challenging than it appears.

How do You Make the Best of a Small Kitchen Diner?

Let’s start with the uniquely city-life challenge of a small kitchen diner. While the multi-purpose function of the space means you’re getting the most use out of every square metre, there are challenges to the layout in terms of traffic flow. Here’s what to do:

The floorplan – Map out your floorplan and start playing around with it. This is best done in 3D, as the height and wall space matter just as much as the floorspace. With a good floorplan, you can use every inch of space for its best purpose.

The essentials – What are your must-haves and nice-to-haves? A list of priorities focussed on what you want to use the space for will help focus your design and trim away unnecessary features.

The Best Design Ideas for Small Kitchen Diners

Some great ideas to consider while you plan your new space include:

Ceiling height storage creates volume – Pushing your cabinets and shelving all the way to ceiling height isn’t just a fantastic way to maximise storage, it also tricks the eye. When our gaze is pulled upwards, rooms feel more spacious. It’s the same effect as when you have floor-to-ceiling curtains. You can see the impact of this in this East Dulwich kitchen diner.

Kitchen extension in London with ceiling height storage.

Create a centrepiece – Small kitchen diners should have a statement piece that grabs attention and sets the style of the space. Whether it’s a light fitting, wallpaper, or bold material, you can let your creativity loose. We love how this has been achieved in this Tooting home, where the luxury marble kitchen island creates an elegant focal point.

Kitchen extension in London with marble kitchen island centre piece.

Add a kitchen island – Building on the above point, a kitchen island is not just for big homes. When they are professionally custom designed, they are ideal for creating zones for traffic flow and space use without taking up too much room. Some great options include dining kitchen islands like this home in Tooting Bec, which can house a sink, stove, or wine fridge, or even simply add that much-needed extra storage space.

Kitchen extension in London with kitchen island.

Go big on luxury – Small spaces need less material, putting luxury items within reach. Look for somewhere you want to splash out – designer taps, hand painted wallpaper, solid hardwood, marble, hot and sparkling water taps, or even slimline appliances.

Kitchen Diner Extension Ideas

Of course, you can always splash out with a kitchen extension. A full kitchen renovation adds lots of valuable and functional space to your property – and it usually uses up space you aren’t really using anyway. 

A side return extension like the one in this East Dulwich home used a space that’s traditionally ignored or used for storing bins and added much-needed width to a narrow terrace home.

Side return extension in London.

A rear kitchen extension pushes your home out into the garden, creating indoor-outdoor living spaces as well as valuable space to add to the kitchen or living areas, like in this Richmond home.

A rear kitchen extension in London.

The largest and most expensive – but most rewarding – option is to combine a side and rear extension. These wraparound extensions give you the best of both the options mentioned above and can completely transform your home. That’s exactly what happened in this Crouch End home, creating a 9m full depth and 5m full width space to house a spacious kitchen diner and play area.

Kitchen Diner Layout Ideas 

When planning your layout, function is far more important than style. We suggest that you consider:

Natural light – Don’t block any points of natural lighting unless you are compensating for it elsewhere. For example, you may need a solid length of wall, but you’ll then add large skylights and glass sliding doors, like in this Tooting Bec home.

Kitchen extension in London with large skylights.

Crowding – Minimalism can incorporate almost any other style, and with an open plan kitchen dining space, less really is more. Rather than putting in as many cupboards as possible, add a kitchen island and leave the walls as an eye-catching, spaciously open area, like in this Clapham home.

Minimalest design in a kitchen extension in London.

Layer your lighting – Kitchens need ambient (general) lighting, task lighting, and aesthetic lighting. These layers work together and let you mix and match to fit what you’re doing – task lighting for food prep and cooking, ambient lighting for dull days, and aesthetic lighting for dining and entertaining. You can see the layers at work in this Muswell Hill home.

Kitchen extension in London with layered lighting.

Traffic flow – This is how people will move through the space. You don’t want to be constantly dodging around furniture and people sitting, so make sure you have a wide, clear path between each zone and through to entryways. Don’t block doorways, access to outside, or access to your main kitchen appliances (stove, oven, sink, and fridge).

See more kitchen design ideas here.

Create the Exceptional with London Design and Build Specialists

Plus Rooms is a full-service provider for all types of home extensions in the greater London area, including loft, kitchen, and kitchen diner extensions. We’ll work with you through the entire process, from costing your renovation to designing your extension to managing planning permission, building the project, and ensuring it is completed to your satisfaction. Please visit our website to see more of our home extensions, to be inspired by our kitchen diner design ideas and client reviews, and contact us to start your journey towards the exceptional home you deserve.

Kitchen Lighting Design Ideas

Lighting is often considered last in a kitchen design process, with extensions, appliances, countertops, and cabinets taking the most attention. But the right lighting is just as important as any other aspect of your design, impacting functionality and aesthetics. Here’s a guide to the best kitchen lighting ideas from our London design and build company to help inspire you.

What is the Best Lighting to Have in a Kitchen?

The best lighting for a kitchen is a combination of:

Ambient lighting – This is general lighting for the space and the foundation of your kitchen lighting. Good options include recessed kitchen ceiling lights, wall sconces, or ceiling lamps. In this East Dulwich kitchen design, ambient lighting is provided by wall mounted sconces as well as discrete recessed lighting.

Ambient lighting in a kitchen extension in East Dulwich, London.

Task lighting – This is the lighting you need to work in the space. It’s direct and focused in areas where you prep and cook food, giving you good visibility over your tasks. In this Herne Hill kitchen design, you can easily see how the task lighting at the sink and prep area brings the necessary light into the workspace.

Task lighting in a kitchen extension in Herne Hill, London.

Accent lighting – This gives the space its unique feel and style, setting the mood. It can be used to draw the eye to the most appealing furnishings in the space, which is especially useful when you have a kitchen dining area, and it brings cohesion or zoning to the overall interior design, which is important when you have an open plan or multi-use space. For example, in this Muswell Hill kitchen design, you can see how the pendant lights and glass light create a separate but complementary feel between the kitchen and dining space.

Accent lighting in a kitchen extension in Muswell Hill, London.

How to Best Light up a Kitchen

With those 3 types of lighting needed in your kitchen design, here are some kitchen light design ideas for making it as effective and attractive as possible:

Go bold and big – Accent lighting should show off the creative side of this highly functional space, so don’t be afraid to add visual interest and style with a larger pendant light, several pendant lights, or a chandelier. Lights that are too small can make the space feel bottom heavy and out of proportion.

Brighten task areas – Task lighting is the most functional, so you want bright lighting to light up the prep, cooking, and washing up areas. Directional lighting tends to be an issue because it causes you to cast a shadow over the countertop, so we recommend hidden under-cabinet lighting strips.

Use dimmers for atmosphere – Big light fittings, multiple recessed kitchen ceiling lights, and multiple bulbs in ambient and accent lighting can easily overpower a kitchen, especially if it’s a small space. Adding dimmers along with warm, low watt bulbs is one of the best kitchen lighting ideas – and a must-have to create a warm, social area.

How to Choose Kitchen Lights

Everyone’s taste is different, so when it comes to choosing the right kitchen light designs, the style is all yours. With that in mind, there are a few things to consider:

Material – Kitchens attract a lot more dirt, grease, and dust, so it’s worthwhile getting light fittings that are easy to clean, avoiding materials like raw wood/fibre, cotton, and other absorbent textiles. We love the clean, chic look that the kitchen pendant lights in this Barnet kitchen design create.

Easy to clean light fittings in a kitchen extension in Barnet, London.

Focus areas – Think about what you want your lighting to highlight in your space. Some good ideas include your kitchen island, your dining table, or even artwork and beautiful shelving. In this Muswell Hill kitchen design, you can see how the bold, dramatic lighting elevates the cooking island into a luxurious space for entertaining.

Dramatic lighting in a kitchen extension in Muswell Hill, London.

Height – When installing your kitchen lights, set them so that they are either above typical head height or over a dining table or island if they’re a bit lower. This will keep them up and out of the way in a busy space.

Things to Consider When Lighting Your Kitchen

Light is functional, aesthetic, and not always easy to design. So, here are some tips for getting the ultimate result in lighting your space:

Consider your aesthetic – Thankfully, the days of fluorescent lighting and boring bulbs are long past. Now you can choose lightbulbs that further enhance your space, from LEDs designed like 19th century intumescent lighting and Edison bulbs like those in this Saint John’s kitchen design to chic, minimalist designs like in this Chiswick renovation and funky, playful lighting like this Clapham kitchen renovation.

Kitchen extension with Edison bulbs in Saint John's, London.

Wattage – Choose low wattage LEDs as these offer the best energy savings

Kelvin – The higher the lightbulb’s number in Kelvin (K), the bluer and crisper the light, while lower numbers give a warmer, yellow glow. Around 4,500 – 5,500 K is good for task lighting, while 2,700 – 3,500 K is better for ambient and accent lighting.

What Type of Lighting is Best for a Small Kitchen?

Kitchen Extension in London with crafted chandelier.

Small kitchens can’t always accommodate large lighting systems, but that shouldn’t hold you back. Some great small kitchen light design ideas include having an eye-catching chandelier, several mini-pendant lights, or even naked industrial bulbs create focal points that make the space bigger, brighter, and unique – especially when paired with recessed ceiling kitchen lights.

Mini pendants in this East Dulwich home draw the eye up to compliment the vaulted ceiling, while the single, crafted chandelier in this Southfields home adds character and flair without getting in the way. In this Ealing kitchen, the simply-hung industrial bulbs add style in a minimalist way that doesn’t overcrowd the space.

See more kitchen design ideas here.

From Extensions to Lighting, our London Design and Build Company Does it All

Plus Rooms is a leading design and construction firm in London that specialises in custom kitchen designs. Our talented team will lead you through the process from start to finish, helping you get the best floorplan, features, lighting, and quality for your budget. Whether you want a kitchen for entertaining, for family living, or your own enjoyment and investment purposes, we’re here to make that dream come true. In over 12 years we’ve helped over 1,400 homeowners transform their houses – contact us today and let’s see what we can do for you.