Concerns About An Open-Concept Kitchen and How to Make It WorkCorrine
When space is a premium in shrinking houses, the notion of an open-concept kitchen becomes a worthy solution to create a sense of spaciousness. In fact, such is the popularity of an open floor plan that Housing and Development Board (HDB) has been building Built-to-Order (BTO) units that come with open kitchen layouts as of last year, but if desired, homeowners can create partition walls to create an enclosed space.
But just because it is a trend, it does not mean that you have to follow. In a tight home, an open-concept kitchen can mean a visually bigger and multi-functional living space. But it can also affect privacy of loved ones in an adjacent space. Essentially, you’ll need to consider the lifestyle of you and your family. Here, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of an open-concept kitchen to give you fresh perspectives for your next renovation endeavour.
Do you like to entertain?
With an open-concept kitchen, you effectively have an open floor plan linking your kitchen to the living and dining areas to create a bigger and airier social space. This connectivity promotes a flow that makes it great for entertaining. In such social gatherings, the kitchen is then one place where guests gravitate towards – your kitchen then becomes a focal point and social nucleus. Having an open-concept kitchen allows you to fully engage in dialogue with everyone while you busy away in the kitchen. Having said that, some of us prefer to prep and cook away from others’ gaze. So what’s your preference?
What you can do
If your space permits – assuming it is not too small – explore carving out separate dry and wet kitchens, with the latter behind closed doors. This way, the dry kitchen is for light food prepping while you interact with guests, while the heavy-duty cooking takes place behind the scene – away from prying eyes.
How much privacy do you need?
An open-concept kitchen might work out to be more functional for you if you have young kids you want to keep a watchful eye on. Even while preparing meals, you can have full sight of your little one playing in the living room. Likewise, you’ll also know if he or she starts exploring in your kitchen for who knows what. Then again, some might feel that an open-concept kitchen will expose their kids to hot and dangerous appliances. For them, they much rather close off the space fully. Again, this depends on personal preference. It is all about tailoring a living space that is most functional and livable.
What You Can Do
If you’re undecided, go halfway by building a low wall to segregate your kitchen from the rest of the living space. Install glass panels on the low wall so that you can still have a bird eye’s view of the living and dining areas. Also consider installing blinds on the glass to visually close off the kitchen. Alternatively, install foldable doors above your low wall to achieve the same outcome. A little creativity goes a long way in customising your living space.
How much of a cook are you?
Are you the home-cook enthusiast who is always whipping up something every other day? Or are you always cooking with pungent spices? Without walls to separate your kitchen, cooking smells will permeate your entire living space. There is also no barrier to noise, which means that the din in the kitchen can be distracting to family members. But if you’re a light cook, then this would not pose much of a problem at all.
What You Can Do
You can’t possibly eliminate all smells and grease. But having a quality ventilation hood can certain help ease the situation. Be sure to also test your hood to ensure that it is not too noisy. If your hob is on your kitchen island, you consider investing in a retractable downdraft hood that tucks away neatly when not in use. Again, a semi-open concept can be used – using pocket doors that slide away in a seamless, modish fashion.
Do you clutter?
A spotless, clutter-free kitchen is visually pleasing – a cluttered one isn’t. You obviously can’t expect your real, live-in kitchen to be as impeccable as a showroom, but if organisation is not exactly your forte, and you tend to leave a trail of visual clutter wherever you go, an open-concept kitchen might be more visually disturbing than pleasing for you and your visitors. Understandably, an open-concept kitchen is also more high-maintenance. You’re probably feel a greater need to give every inch a good clean so that dirty dishes don’t lie in your line of sight even when you’re lounging in the living area.
What You Can Do
When designing an open-concept kitchen, ensure that there is plenty of room for storage to keep your countertop clutter-free. To achieve an elegant stone-look finish without having to dry and clean your countertop at all times, opt for a man-made quartz with marble veins. Compared to marble, quartz is more durable. It is also non-porous and stain-resistant. You can also consider building a raised counter or island to block some of the view of your kitchen countertop.
Whether you’re going for a full open-concept living, or an in-between solution, it pays to consider not just the aesthetics, to ensure visual flow throughout, but also the functionality of the space, to ensure you have an efficient layout. Essentially, your home design should be planned around your family’s needs and wants.
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