The trend for the last few years is to ditch the series of small rooms in favour of more open plan living. With families spending most of their time in the kitchen living space it is really important to get it right, here are a few simple rules.

1. Keep your materials simple, you are essentially combining three spaces - the kitchen, living and dining, it should work coherently and nothing should scream out “look at me” beware of very ornate or fussy kitchens as you will have to look at whilst watching TV!. Natural materials all the way.

2. Push living and relaxing spaces to the end of the room so you don’t have to cross through them on the way to somewhere else, there is nothing more uncomfortable than somebody walking in front of you when you are trying to relax.

3. Ensure you have some sort of a utility and some good storage. You cannot have clutter in an open plan space and the items that you used to throw into the unused dining room (which you Have just knocked through to!) will now be on display. A utility will ensure that you won’t have a permanent clothes horse in your living room.

4. Use stoves or shelving in the middle of the room like a mini partition to break up large spaces this can mean you have a large room which becomes a cosy intimate space when the fire is lit, think snugs in a pub!

5. Play with lighting, have good task lighting in the kitchen area softer lighting in the living space with loads of lamps to create a cosy space and the dining space needs to have its own pendant which can be pulled down close to the table creating an intimate space when needed.

6. Create a kitchen with an Island or peninsula to break up and define the busy work space from the living and dining space, it also has the advantage of allowing the person or people working in the kitchen to interact with others in the rest of the room.

Room to Improve, RTÉ One, Sunday, 9.30pm