One of the biggest trends in kitchens is to forgo the formal dining room and separate kitchen to create one shared space for both.


Whether you’re knocking down a wall to achieve a large open-plan room or you want to squeeze a spot to eat into a compact kitchen, the first thing to consider is the layout.

Here's everything you need to know before you start, plus our pick of the best kitchen-diner inspiration!

How to design a kitchen-diner

Plan your layout to maximise your space

Making the most of your space involves planning the cabinetry to create zones for cooking, storage, socialising and seating. An L-shaped run of units is ideal for adding a table or banquette into the corner; a U-shaped design can have a breakfast bar or worktop overhang on one side with a couple of stools underneath; galley kitchens could include a small table at the furthest end of the room, while large spaces can include an island and even a separate dining table with chairs and benches.

Choose a design that you know you’ll enjoy living with long-term, or one that is quick and easy to update if you know you like to change things up regularly. This could be as simple as adding open shelving onto unused wall space or adding freestanding kitchen furniture like a larder or dresser to create extra storage.

Decide where to spend and where to save

Another important consideration is your budget. Knowing where to splurge and where to save is key to achieving the perfect finish, as well as a kitchen that will last.

‘Kitchen door fronts vary in price a lot depending on style and finish,’ says Becky Martin, Interior Design Leader at IKEA UK & Ireland. ‘If your budget is limited but there’s a door style you love, consider base cabinets with beautiful doors mixed with wall shelves to stay on budget. Alternatively, choose a lower-cost door style and treat yourself to some beautiful handles or a designer tap.’

‘Whilst interior fittings make a huge difference to the functionality, this is an area where it’s easy to over-spend. Plan carefully for what you will put in each cupboard or drawer to make sure you get exactly what you need. It’s great to research online, but nothing beats testing the kitchen displays yourself to get a feel for the quality.


‘The parts of the kitchen that are most visible and touched regularly contribute to the quality perception, so quality worktops, taps and soft-close doors and drawers are something to look out for.’

Kitchen-diner ideas


Hayley Gilbert is an award-winning interiors journalist with 25 years' experience writing about everything from blissful bathrooms to the coolest kitchens. Publications she has written for include Good Homes, Country Homes and Interiors, House Beautiful and The English Home.