When designing or redesigning a kitchen, there are many things to consider. One of the biggest concerns is to ensure that the kitchen will function well for your needs – will you have an open or closed kitchen or something in between?
The kitchen is mostly seen as the heart of the home, and rightly so. But, historically, it has been presented in different styles to suit the times.
Decades ago the kitchen was almost always closed off, and served one purpose – to prepare food, with all the mess and hard work that incurs, and often with household help.
Often today, the open concept kitchen serves as a multi-purpose, multi-task area of the home. We cook as we entertain, maybe use it to do some computer work, help our children with their homework here as well. An important and often reported use of open concept kitchens is that it allows for monitoring of small children who may be playing in an adjoining room.
Designers, of course, have different views about which type of kitchen is best, but only you can decide, along with an experienced professional, how to plan a kitchen. Help is on the way. Here are some reasons why people choose an open-concept kitchen, a closed-off kitchen, or a happy compromise incorporating elements of both.
The Advantages of an Open-Concept Kitchen
- These types of kitchens tend to be advantageous for entertaining large groups. You’re always within visual and hearing distance when you have an open-concept kitchen.
- Creates multi-functional areas. As homes become smaller, it becomes more important to use a space as efficiently as possible.
- Open-concept spaces look larger and more spacious than more closed-off spaces.
- An open kitchen encourages families to be with each other for a sense of closeness and more easily function together while doing similar or different tasks.
- Natural light is more abundant and creates a bright, positive atmosphere.
- Traffic flow tends to be better – there are no walls to limit the space, so you can move more quickly and work more efficiently.
- Open-concept homes are still popular and often get a higher rate of return when selling.
- It can create a more relaxed atmosphere.
A Few Disadvantages of an Open-Concept Kitchen
- Lack of privacy for the cook and potentially lots of distractions
- Cooking can be somewhat noisy, and sound will carry much more from an open concept kitchen.
- The need to keep tidy at all times due to the open concept may be a bit of a burden.
- Cooking smells may waft through the entire floor.
The Advantages of a Closed Kitchen
- If you like to cook and bake alone, this type of kitchen offers more privacy and fewer distractions
- The rattling of dishes and pots and pans is kept to a minimum so it is less distracting for family members in other parts of the living space who may, for instance, be watching TV, listening to music, or doing homework.
- Cooking and baking odors are contained in the kitchen.
- If the kitchen is messy, it isn’t visible to the rest of the home.
- With more wall space, there is much more opportunity for storage space.
- A separate kitchen can be easier to heat and cool. Walls and closed doors keep heat and air conditioning contained.
- For those who like the formality of a separate dining area, a closed kitchen can be a good thing, making meals a more intimate gathering at a dining table.
Some Disadvantages of a Closed Kitchen
- There is less natural light, and ventilation tends to be poor.
- Unless rather large, closed kitchens often don’t provide a place to eat.
- Since the kitchen is closed off, there are no sight lines into the home. This can be problematic if you have small children that need supervision.
- For families whose lives are quite busy and hectic, a closed kitchen may get in the way of family time together.
- May tend to make a small home look even smaller.
Get the Best of Both Worlds
If neither style, open or closed-concept kitchen, is not what you are looking for then you need the best of both worlds. Wouldn’t it be great to keep the mess out of sight but still have the sight lines and enjoy the ability to be part of the action in your home?
Here are some suggestions if you are redesigning your kitchen to incorporate both concepts:
- In a closed kitchen, how about putting in a pass-through window? No need to tear out walls in this case and yet this helps to connect rooms and still have a sight line into the home.
- Taking out a non-bearing wall and replacing it with a peninsula is a great way to open up a closed kitchen. Just make sure you contact a professional to do the work.
- In the same vein, adding a peninsula to an already open-concept kitchen can help separate your kitchen from the rest of your home. Adding hanging upper cabinets allows for more privacy. Make sure to have open shelving or glass fronts to let light in.
- In a small one-wall kitchen, folding or pocket doors can completely separate the kitchen area from the living space. Open up when needed.
- A half-wall room divider can be a nice decorative way to establish a boundary yet keep sight lines available. These are usually up to 50 inches high and built between the kitchen and living area. Several designs are available. You can use a glass partition on top of the wall, or simply add decorative shelving.
For kitchen and bathroom remodeling, call Sunshine Sunrooms. Our team can walk you through exactly what you are looking for and create it! Give us a call at 972-243-5390 or contact us online.