Open Plan or Separate Kitchen - How to Choose?
Spacious, airy and well-lit interiors have been all the rage for many years now, making the open plan living concept industry’s favourite. Regardless of its popularity, like most things in interior design, open plan living is a fashion, and as such, it is bound to change at some point. But has the time for putting back the walls already arrived or are we witnessing a birth of a new kitchen trend? Read on as we take a closer look at the topic and share some useful advice to help you choose what’s best for you and your home.
A Bit of History
For centuries, the kitchen used to be a workplace, small and functional room tucked away from the rest of the household. To prevent the cooking smells from spreading across the house and concealing all the clutter, kitchens had to be placed at the back, leaving person responsible for cooking alienated for the most of the day.
A trend of combining kitchen, dining room and living room together in a single space emerged back in the 50s during the post-war housing boom. Family lifestyle was becoming more casual, and open plan living was able to accommodate the changes by bringing everyone together in a single, multifunctional space. Homeowners embraced this fresh concept, and the kitchen becomes the heart of a modern home.
Today, building an open plan living space is almost obligatory. Majority of homeowners already converted their older homes, or they are looking to renovate as soon as possible. Real estate agents even confirm that houses with open plan layout reach higher prices on the market when compared to the traditional concept.
So what is the catch? Shouldn’t we all call the best renovation company immediately and start tearing down the walls? Probably yes, but we wouldn’t be who we are if trends were all we are concern about. Stay with us a bit longer as we go through the pros and cons of the open plan kitchens and help you choose the best layout for you and your family personally.
Open Plan - Pros and Cons
Pros - Fewer walls mean more space, more light and probably a better view. If your house is on a smaller side, by removing the walls, you will get the feel of extra space and more natural flow.
No walls also mean more time with the family and guests. Getting on with household chores and cooking, while at the same time keeping an eye on the kids who are playing in the living room, is the benefit no parent can put a price tag on. When having guests over for dinner, the person preparing the meal can still engage in the conversation rather than spend the evening being shut away.
Open plan concept blurs indoor-outdoor barrier and is know to encourage outdoor living during the warm months.
Cons - Fewer walls mean less storage, and when it comes to the kitchen, it could be a major turn off.
When you remove the walls, you lose a sense of privacy and open up for all the clutter and noise coming from the rest of the living space. But not just that, unless you are willing to do the dishes immediately, you will be putting the piles of kitchen clutter on display for all the eyes to see.
Maintaining the ideal temperature of the room can also become an issue in an open plan layout. Those who are working in the kitchen and the ones relaxing in the living room are likely to look for the opposite things. While the living room might benefit from turning up the heat or turning off the air conditioning, chances are the kitchen will be overheated for most of the time.
There is also a question of energy bills. Heating and cooling such a huge room can be rather expensive.
Of course, open plan is not a good choice for everyone. What some people call inconvenient, other consider gracious and refined. Being able to cook in private and having a peace of mind is essential for some homeowners, who are choosing to take another look at the separate kitchens. They might be smaller and isolated, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Don’t let the trends design your home! If you enjoy your solitude and feel the cons of the open space concept have some essence to them, separate kitchen is probably a better choice for you.
Somewhere in Between
Still, can’t decide on a layout? You love the openness, but also your privacy. Luckily, there is a middle ground between the two concepts that can provide you with both. It’s called the broken plan.
By using half walls, split levels, internal windows, and large or sliding doors, it is possible to achieve a more subtle zoning, without compromising on light and space. You will still have a social area, but with breakout retreats, you can always turn to if you need a distraction from your loved ones and everything they do during the day.
House needs to be able to adapt to its owner’s lifestyle changes. Flexibility has become such a buzz lately, and it even set its roots in our living spaces. Being able to open or close a certain area of a room is the key to a happy home for many homeowners who enjoy both entertaining and their moments of solitude. If you are one of them, consider giving a chance to the broken plan layout.
There is no secret formula that can tell you what choice you should make. What you can do is take a piece of paper and brainstorm everything you love about your house and what you feel your current concept is lacking. Then, give us a call. Heilman renovations’ team of professionals will help you translate your wishes and needs to a plan that would work best for your house particularly. Whether it might be tearing down the walls to create an open plan layout, or bringing them back to make more secluded rooms, or even coming up with a plan to zone the space in the most pleasing way, our team will guide you through the process from start to finish.