Kitchen Trends Blog – December
POSTED ON 1st December 2017
Open plan kitchens – pros and cons
At this very social time of the year, the issue of how we use the space in our homes becomes all the more important. The kitchen is one of the most central spaces in the house at this time of the year – not literally but certainly in terms of the things we like to do at Christmas – cooking, baking, eating, entertaining etc. Therefore, in the last kitchen trends blog of the year we’re looking at open plan kitchens and examining the pros and the cons of opening your kitchen out.
Open plan kitchens – the pros
People do seem to love open plan kitchens. They have been very much in fashion for a number of years and show no sign of falling out of favour at the moment. In fact, in a recent survey on interior design website Houzz, 840 voted in favour of an open plan kitchen versus just 230 who prefer separate spaces. So, why do people love them?
- A sociable space
An open plan kitchen that includes some kind of table does tend to bring people together. People can sit at the table and chat to whoever is cooking. Many people report of using the spaces in their home very differently after opening up their kitchen
- A more flexible space
Having a bigger area to work with certainly does give you more options when it comes to designing your kitchen. Small kitchens can be quite restrictive and practical considerations such as servicing (water, gas etc) can place limitations on layout. You don’t get that so much with a larger space so you can be more creative
- A more practical space
Even if a dining room is directly adjacent to the kitchen it can be a faff to carry plates and food through to eat and then clear away – often requiring several trips. Many people with an entirely separate dining room find that they don’t actually use it much and the space can become redundant. A dining area within the kitchen tends to be well used because it’s so convenient and eating around a table together can be very important for family time
Open plan kitchens – the cons
While extremely popular, open plan kitchens are not for everyone. Here are some of the cons you need to consider:
- Noise levels
The hustle and bustle of a kitchen may not suit everyone while they’re eating or just relaxing if a living area is within the space. Cooking noises and beeps, washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher etc can all disturb the peace
- Cooking smells
Freshly cooked food smells lovely but a couple of hours later that might not be the case, especially smells that linger such as garlic, spices, boiled vegetables and roast meats. When the kitchen is a confined space you can shut the door and chill out elsewhere but that may not be so easy if that is your living space as well.
- Mess levels
While obviously most will strive to clear up all mess after cooking it stands to reason that kitchens have a lot going on and it’s not always possible to keep them pristine at all times. If your dining area is in the same space as the kitchen it means entertaining your guests in amongst the clutter associated with preparing the meal or even with laundry hanging around. OK for family and close friends perhaps but not so much for schmoozing with the boss or tea with the vicar!
- A too sociable space!
The kitchen/diner/living room may bring all the boys to the yard but what if you just want the place to yourself to dance around in while you cook (or just escape the kids fighting or sound of the TV)? An open plan kitchen means you’re rarely left to your own devices!
Sold on open plan? Here are our best tips
If you think open plan is for you and you have two suitable rooms that you can combine together then here are a few things to think about (and will resolve some of the cons listed above)
- Don’t just go knocking walls down!
Please seek the advice of a builder before you attempt to knock walls down. Load bearing walls will require some kind of reinforcement to prevent your ceiling coming down!
Good ventilation, either natural or via some kind of extractor or air conditioning, will minimise the issue of smells lingering
- Separate utility
The issue of noise from some appliances could be resolved by creating a separate utility room, if you have the space.
- Zone your spaces
You can combine a kitchen, dining room and living room in one space but some clear demarcation between each area can create more order and contain things while maintaining a communal feel. Use half height open shelving units or even screens to create zones or even different flooring materials.
Let us help
We have to be honest, we get asked to open spaces up far more than close them up so looks like the consensus is still for open plan living. We have lots of experience in combining kitchens with dining rooms, snugs and living rooms and we can give you creative inspiration as well as practical, structural advice!
Call us on 0800 321 3491 or request a design consultation.
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