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When homes were built 50 years ago, they were made up of a col­lec­tion of sep­a­rate rooms, with kitchens sep­a­rated from liv­ing and din­ing spa­ces.

To­day, how­ever, an open-plan layout like the one pic­tured here by Home by Belle is a com­mon ren­o­va­tion re­quest, par­tic­u­larly for those of us look­ing to link our kitchen, liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas.

Sarah Comer­ford of Home by Belle says an open-plan layout is ideal for en­ter­tain­ing, but she cau­tions against go­ing all the way.

“Some­times peo­ple say, ‘I want this to be open’ and I’ve had to bring them back a step,” she says.

“Open plan is fab­u­lous. If you’re en­ter­tain­ing, ev­ery­one’s in­cluded, which is great, but there is a point where open plan can feel like it is a bar­ren space, where there’s no struc­ture and no walls.”

In the kitchen, Sarah says a con­tem­po­rary layout is vastly dif­fer­ent to those of yes­ter­year, with more de­mand for func­tion­al­ity and is­land benches to gather at.

“These days ev­ery­one wants to hang around, the is­land bench def­i­nitely did change the way peo­ple looked at and viewed the kitchen,” she says. “Many of us are look­ing to change the layout, to try to make it big­ger and more open plan be­cause we live dif­fer­ently.”

The pantry has also un­der­gone sub­stan­tial change, with walk-in pantries be­com­ing stan­dard, along with but­ler’s pantries com­plete with sinks and room for ap­pli­ances.

“Ev­ery­thing has to do more than what it looks like and ev­ery­one wants draw­ers in­stead of cup­boards and they’re so much more func­tional,” Sarah says.

“It has to be func­tional, it has to be easy to use, it has to be able to store as much as it can.”

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