The kitchen has spent centuries as a separate workspace usually tucked away at the back of the house. Kitchens in the past were all business – if it’s not for cooking, then you won’t find it there; if you’re not cooking, then stay out.
In the past few decades, however, the kitchen has mostly been opened up and turned into an active space where the whole family can converge. Thanks to the popularity of open plan kitchens, people now do everything from entertain guests to helping their kids with homework in the kitchen.
That’s not to say, though, that the closed kitchens of yesteryear have gone the way of the dinosaur. In fact, a growing number of homeowners prefer keeping the kitchen as a separate space from the living and dining areas.
Both open and closed kitchen layouts have their own advantages and drawbacks. Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide which would be a better fit for you and your home.
Open Kitchen Layout
Perfect for multitasking – Since open floor plans basically combine the kitchen, living, and dining rooms into one big space, parents can safely watch their young kids while preparing a meal in the kitchen, your example. They can even cook dinner while working on a report for work or helping out with homework.
More natural light – Open layouts are more conducive to natural light. Big windows in the living room combined with smaller ones in the kitchen can suffice to light the entire space during the day, reducing electrical costs and elevating the overall mood.
Makes a small space feel larger –Your kitchen, living, and dining areas may be small individually, but opening them up to each other creates the illusion of a much bigger space.
More room for entertaining guests and family – An open kitchen layout lets you stay connected with the rest of the family even when you’re cooking and they’re watching TV in the living room. If you have guests over, you can still chat with them while you’re finishing up in the kitchen.
You can’t hide any messes you make – Contrary to what we see on cooking shows, cooking is rarely a clean process. With an open kitchen layout, the disorganized chaos that sometimes takes hold of the kitchen will be there for everybody to see whether you want them to or not. Smells and smoke will also permeate throughout the whole space.
Open layouts can be expensive remodeling projects – Think you can just tear down that wall that separates your kitchen and living room? Not so fast! You’ll need to know if it’s load bearing first. You also have to take the plumbing and electrical systems into consideration. If you want an open kitchen layout, expect your remodeling budget to take a big hit.
Closed Kitchen Layout
Save on remodeling costs – If you already have a closed kitchen layout, choosing to stay with it means you can spend more on improving the other parts of the kitchen such as appliances, counter tops, or kitchen cabinets.
Enjoy some quiet time – Sometimes we just really need to get some time alone by ourselves. Unless you’re absolutely the only one in the house at the time, an open layout can’t compete with the peace and quiet that a closed kitchen provides.
Keep the magic behind closed doors – Not just the magic, but the inevitable messes that happens when you’re cooking, too. Don’t let the bad kitchen noises and smells ruin the mood of everyone in the house.
Can be a hassle when entertaining – Multitasking has become a large part of the human consciousness, but when you have a closed kitchen you’re going to have to keep cooking and entertaining guests separate activities. It’s also not as convenient when you have to carry all the dishes and food to the dining room down the hall.
Can require more space – It might not be such a big deal if you have a big enough house, but when you’re living in a tiny apartment then that wall that separates the kitchen from the dining room can eat up a lot of usable space.