Open kitchens will now be the standard in HDB flats, with mixed responses. But here’s what you might not know: overseas, the open kitchen concept is an interior design battleground. It’s been praised as the new standard of living, but also called the downfall of society. We may as well look on the upsides though, as it’s become the new norm:
1. Open kitchens can reduce electricity bills
The fewer partitions there are in your house, the more natural light comes in. One of the main barriers to sunlight is the kitchen wall, since it’s positioned between the back windows in the kitchen, and the front windows in the living room.
With more natural light flowing in, you’ll be less reliant on ceiling lights and lamps to brighten the place. And let’s be frank, some closed kitchens are dark enough that you need counter lights when prepping food; even if it’s in the afternoon.
2. It’s true that smells escape, but they also dissipate faster
One complaint about open kitchens is that the smell gets out. The scent of fish and prawns, grease, and sambal will all flow out to the common corridor and living room. In a closed kitchen, the smells are trapped.
But here’s the thing: trapped smells also linger for much longer. In an open space, simple use of fans can cause the aroma to dissipate more quickly. Unlike a closed kitchen, you won’t have a room that reeks of onions for two hours after you’re done.
Anyway, if your cooking smells delicious, having the scents escape isn’t a bad thing.
3. You can adjust the kitchen size to suit your needs
You can still close off the kitchen if you want to; the difference is that now, you just install the partition, instead of having to also hack down the previous one.
Some families simply don’t use the kitchen as much. They may be smaller families (perhaps the children have just moved out), or they just eat out more often. These families can easily “resize” the kitchen to take up less space, and have a bigger dining room, study, living room, etc.
4. There’s direct line of sight to the kitchen
If you have children who like to run around and touch things, you’ll know how important this is.
An open kitchen means there’s an easy view of the kitchen., even from the living room. This lets you keep an eye on children who might raid the fridge, play with the gas stove, touch the knives, etc.
5. You can hear and see what’s going on in the living room, while preparing meals
As with point 4, this is useful if you have children. Closed kitchens prevent you from seeing (and sometimes hearing) what’s going on in the living room / dining room. With an open kitchen, you can keep half an eye on the children, even while preparing meals.
6. Talk and mingle while you cook
You can hold a conversation with your spouse in the living room, or bark homework orders at the children, even as you work in the kitchen. There’s a greater sense of communality and inclusion.
During events like Christmas dinner, or Chinese New Year dinner, you have the advantage of talking to guests even from your kitchen.
7. You can create a showcase kitchen-cum-dining room
An open plan kitchen can act as a “showcase kitchen”. Think lots of glass storage spaces, to show off your pottery, silverware, fine china, etc.
This usually means the kitchen can also double as decent dining room; and you can then use the actual dining room space for something else.
8. It’s easier to equip your kitchen
If there are no partitions, there’s less worry about whether your cabinetry, stove, and various other appliances will fit. IKEA will thank you, for not making them take 6,000 different measurements to check whether your stuff will fit.
9. It’s cooler to work in an enclosed kitchen
Singapore is already hot and humid. When you fry things in an enclosed kitchen, the whole area can feel like a sauna, and no one wants their bee hoon to be seasoned with sweat.
Open kitchens allow for better ventilation. That makes a big difference, especially when you need to cook for several hours (e.g. preparing a reunion dinner). Just aim the fans from the living room into the kitchen.
While on the kitchen, why not check out how to make better use of your home’s service yard and 5 time-saving tips to make your search for an interior designer more productive.
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