The number of food related programmes on TV and other platforms nowadays reflects the increasing importance that food and cooking has in our culture. The popularity of these shows translates into greater investment in the kitchen. As well as greater time spent in the kitchen. Nowadays the open plan kitchen concept means the living room and more formal dinings area are combined into a single shared space. But what are the advantages and disadvantages over a separate kitchen.
Credit: @RYZUP Kitchen + Bath
Open concept kitchen pros and cons
Whether it be dealing with the clutter of preparing food, dealing with lingering kitchen smells or lack of space the decision to join the kitchen and the living space in the home should be considered carefully.
Advantage One: More space for living and entertaining
The great advantage of the open concept kitchen is having more space to live and entertain. By combing two or three separate rooms into one a more generous layout can be achieved.
Advantage two: Showing off your kitchen
The modern open plan kitchen can be a designer statement, with the kitchen treated like a crafted piece of joinery. Like a piece of furniture that also performs like a high-tech machine for cooking and preparing food.
Advantage three: Greater supervision
Avoiding the isolation of a separate room for the kitchen is especially important for younger families. Cooking and preparing food become activities to be shared, the kitchen is a more social space providing greater supervision of children.
Disadvantage one: Odours and kitchen smells
Lingering smells from last night’s dinner are not pleasant. Open plan kitchen designs must include planning for ventilation. Even if the kitchen is a separate room this is an important consideration. This is usually done by an extractor that is placed above or near the kitchen hob, where most odours are generated. The range of appliances on the market is wide and varied, from background to industrial strength. If the hob is integrated within an island the correct conduit must be built-in form the design stage. Having an external wall is an important consideration.
Disadvantage two: Everything is on display
For open plan kitchen designs not everybody is comfortable with putting the messiness of the kitchen on display in the main living area of the home. Cooking and preparing food are by nature messy activities involving clutter. However by choosing either a fitted or a modular kitchen these concerns can be addressed with the design of the kitchen itself.
Disadvantage two: Can require building works
Depending on the nature of the property the structural works required to open the kitchen into the other rooms of the house can be expensive and complicated to undertake. Some older properties are simply not suitable. And much depends on the actual layout of the building. However there are simpler alternatives which are explored in the next section.
Ideas for opening your kitchen even if it is in a separate room
There are other ways of opening up the kitchen with having to remove walls and carry out major building works.
Inside outside kitchens
Connecting with the outdoors through large windows also presents a way of achieving the open kitchen concept. Especially if there are patio doors with an outdoor dining area or garden made accessible directly. The kitchen benefits from additional natural day light as well as the feeling of extra space.
More flexible kitchen space
Another option for anyone who wants to hedge their bets and keep the kitchen as a separate room but achieve the effect of the open plan kitchen is to use glass doors or sliding doors. Folding double doors with glass panels can be opened or closed but maintain a constant visual connection between living and kitchen areas. Sliding doors are another way of connecting these spaces
Fitted kitchens often have cabinets with sophisticated hinge mechanisms and doors in order to hide all the wet areas and cooking elements of food preparation. They can also camouflage the electro-domestic appliances using an integrated panel system to match the worktop material. This all helps to keep the kitchen looking tidy. Wood is a popular choice thanks to its warmth and organic feel.
Another option when considering an open plan or separate kitchen is the modular type kitchen. A modular kitchen treats the elements as separate pieces, some of which can be moved around. Unlike a fitted kitchen the elements can be free from the walls. A kitchen island is often an integral part of the modular kitchen. An important consideration is the drainage if a sink or dishwasher is included within the island.