Over time, as kitchen design and technology improved, hiding the kitchen from the rest of the house became less of a concern. The kitchen was no longer a space where you sought to hide your unmentionables, but a whole new kind of space. Now, with the trend toward more open floor plans, the kitchen has the potential to become the social centerpieces of your home, a space for entertaining, dining, and mingling with houseguests. But even with this new trend, the kitchen still remains the primary spot for performing our housekeeping duties.
Homeowners now have more options than ever, especially when it comes to the kitchen. So that begs the question of which is better—a cozy, closed-off throwback kitchen, or a sprawling, open-concept kitchen wonderland?
Speaking in very broad terms, there’s really two different types of kitchen designs: the open floor plan kitchen and the closed-off kitchen. Of course, a kitchen’s design can fall anywhere along the spectrum between these two, but for the purposes of this article, we will explore the pros and cons of these specific kitchen designs.
An open-concept kitchen is one where the dividing wall or boundary between the kitchen and dining or living room has been removed. This type of floor plan gives the impression of extra space, allows for freedom and flow of movement between the rooms, and is more conducive to natural lighting. A common technique to achieving a good flow in the design between the two rooms is to use similar materials in the features, such as the cabinetry, walls, and flooring. This can help achieve the look of a unified design, which is both pleasing to the eyes and logical in maintaining the open floor plan concept throughout.
Proper ventilation of all cooking appliances is a requirement in any open-concept kitchen. You don’t want all that steam and smoke to seep into your other spaces, which is a risk you must be prepared for when you don’t have walls to separate your kitchen from your living room. A lot of homes with open floor plans will also have extensive ventilation systems installed above their stoves, for example, in order to prevent such occurrences.
Cozy Closed-Off Kitchens
While open floor plans may be all the rage in modern home design, don’t sleep on the cozy kitchen! According to many in the interior design community, the “closed-off” kitchen is making a comeback.
In an open floor plan, the privacy of the kitchen is sacrificed for the social inclusiveness of the overall space. Some might prefer this, but others cherish the privacy. Maybe they don’t like their guests seeing the work that goes into preparing their food, or maybe they want reprieve from all the sights and sounds of the living room while they cook dinner in peace. The unmentionables of the kitchen—the food scraps and messes—can stay safely hidden while the party rolls, undisturbed behind the living room walls.
There are also opportunities for chic designs in a closed-off kitchen, whether you want to take it galley-style or keep it cozy. Galley kitchens are trending upwards these days. These cute cooking spaces are characterized by parallel walls and counters and the narrow walkway that separates them. Galley kitchens are an efficient way to design a kitchen in limited space (meaning they’re perfect for small homes and apartments), but they undoubtedly have a charming aspect to them despite the lack of space. For those in the closed-kitchen camp who don’t have a ton of space to work with, the galley-style kitchen could be the best bet.
The cozy, closed-off kitchen might be underrepresented on popular interior design TV shows, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any room for creativity in your designs! In fact, there might be more opportunities to make a design statement in a closed-off kitchen! More wall space means more room for kitchen design features, after all. Plus, since you don’t have to make the design unified with the living or dining room design, that means you have a little bit more leeway in the kitchen. Get creative with some kitchen-specific designs and don’t worry about detracting from the decor in the other rooms!
Opening up your Kitchen—Demolition Time!
So you’ve measured the pros and cons of each, taken a long look at your space, and decided you want to knock a few of your walls down and make your kitchen open-concept. That’s great! We’ve been through this before with some of our clients, so let’s walk through this process together so you know what to expect.
First, as you know, a wall is going to have to come down. Say your goodbyes and get ready for a whole new look!
While you’re at it, this may be a good time to upgrade your kitchen appliances. You’ll want them to be in tip-top shape, because you’ll no longer be able to hide them away from your guests. Also remember that ventilation is of paramount importance, so make sure that your appliances aren’t leaking smoke or gas as you prepare for your open-kitchen experience.
In order to achieve a unified design, our client here opted for new flooring and a new dining table to go along with their new countertops in the kitchen. After completing the demolition and remodeling process, the result was all they had hoped for.
This is a picture of our client’s new open-concept kitchen after the remodeling process. Notice how the unity in designs between the dining table and countertops gives the look of a seamless transition between spaces. With the extra windows in the kitchen area, there’s also more opportunities for introducing natural light, and also an increase in standing-room and traffic flow, making the area much more conducive to entertaining houseguests. While the client may have given up some of the coziness their previous kitchen set-up afforded them, their preferences in having an open-concept kitchen were met to their standards. All-in-all, it was a successful installation.
There are many factors to consider when designing your dream kitchen, but remember that there’s no wrong way to tackle this project! Kitchens have come a long way since the old days, when they were the last room in the house anyone wanted their guests to see. Now, they can be the chicest rooms in the house! With all the different paths you can take to a beautiful kitchen, it’s important to keep an open mind, whether you want your kitchen to be open-concept or not.
If you’re struggling in your design project then give us a call. Let our years of experience help guide you to make wise choices. Learn from our mistakes, gain from our knowledge and create your dream space!