Expert Advice on Kitchen Zoning

Consider a new kitchen? Looking for a more modern, open-plan layout? Then you need to think about zoning your cooking, dining and living spaces. Andy Barette, Senior Designer at bespoke kitchen design company McCarron & Co, shares his expert advice on kitchen zoning

For a kitchen designer, the key thing to consider when planning a kitchen is how to approach the kitchen zones. Every client is different, so it’s important to consider the size of the family, ages of the children, how much the family entertains, whether they love to cook, how they cook and whether there are any pets.

A common requirement for a modern kitchen is a multi-functional space where the family can cook, dine, live and work. This is certainly not a new concept, but I think people are putting more thought into their open-plan spaces and how to get the very best out of zoning a kitchen-diner.

At McCarron & Co, we recently designed and installed a kitchen and other rooms for a large town house in London, pictured in the gallery below. The zones requested were a kitchen, living and dining area for a family of five, with an emphasis on creating a safe cooking zone whereby the kitchen itself was not a through route to get to the other zones.

The client decided the sink was more important to them on the island as they spent the majority of time on food preparation. The second zone was the breakfast bar, located on the back of the island, with the demarcation of this zone created by pendant lights.

The third zone was an informal sitting area, located directly in front of the island, so that anybody in the kitchen could easily converse with those sitting down. To tie the zones together, a feature veneered board in the same finish as the kitchen was fitted on the far wall opposite the island, running floor to ceiling with the television mounted in its niche.

When considering zoning the spaces in your kitchen, be honest with yourself about what is important to you, your family and your way of life

The fourth zone is the dining area, located around from the core kitchen area, and the final zone is the outdoor space, accessed via the large doors. At night the space assumes a different identity, with creative lighting changing the moods to suit.

When considering zoning the spaces in your kitchen, you need to be honest with yourself about what is important to you, your family and your way of life. A good designer will be able to drill down on the wish list for the space and from that point start the designing process.

It’s also important to think how the space could be adapted in the future as your family grows.  A playroom for toddlers could become a snug for teenagers to hang out with their friends and watch TV years down the line, for example.

The finish of materials is also significant in an open-plan space as you will be living with your choices on a daily basis. So it often pays to tone down a worktop choice or paint colour to avoid tiring of something that has the wow factor to start, but becomes overpowering in the long term.

For more expert advice on planning a new kitchen, visit a McCaron & Co showroom at 84 Fulham Road SW3 6HR (020 7584 5736) or 102 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill W2 5RU (020 7243 2315), or see


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