Open vs Closed Kitchens: Which One is Right for Your Home?

Learn what to expect from open and closed kitchens before you embark on your remodeling or home buying journey.
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Kitchen Designs: Picking Between Open or Closed Kitchens

Are you planning to remodel your kitchen and feeling confused about which layout will suit your home? Are you unsure about which one will impact your everyday life?


Read on to learn what to expect from open and closed kitchens before you embark on your remodeling or home-buying journey.


First, let’s take a look at what open and closed kitchens are, and why each type might suit various types of home setups.


What is an open kitchen?

An open kitchen is typically connected to the adjacent rooms, like the living room and the dining room, and tends to feel open on two sides.


Open kitchens became popular in the early 1990s and remain so today. They’re popular with parents of young children, as they allow them to cook while watching their children. They’re also popular with homeowners who have smaller kitchens and who want their space to feel bigger. Lastly, for those who love to entertain, open kitchens allow for guests to move and mingle through the kitchen and neighboring spaces..


What is a closed kitchen?

A closed kitchen is closed off from the rest of the house and is a room of its own in every sense. It ties in with a more traditional way of designing homes, as it keeps the kitchen as a food preparation area, rather than a space for entertaining guests.


Pros and Cons of Open and Closed Kitchens

Here are the pros of having an open kitchen:

  1. They’re typically brighter and more well-ventilated compared to closed kitchens.
  2. They provide an opportunity to enjoy your kitchen more, because you won’t be closed away from the rest of the house or family when you’re there.
  3. An open kitchen allows more bonding with your family and guests if they are in adjacent rooms.
  4. Open kitchens give an informal feel to a home, as there’s less of an official procession from one room to another.
  5. They bring about a sense of space to a home, making it look and feel larger. This is part of the reason for why they’re so popular in smaller homes.
  6. They make a home feel more modern.

Here are some cons of an open kitchen:

  1. Any mess or unsightly clutter is visible from adjacent spaces, with no option to close a door and hide it from visitors. This won’t be a concern if you’re consistently tidy, but life gets busy, and you can’t always guarantee that your guests will walk in on a pristine home.
  2. No doors means you also have no way to block out any kitchen noise. It’s nice to imagine calm, tranquil cooking sessions, but let’s be realistic: the sound of a dishwasher or food processor is less than relaxing.
  3. An open kitchen can blur the lines between private and public space. This isn’t a problem if you live alone or with a partner, but it’s worth considering this point if you frequently entertain guests.

Here are some pros of having a closed kitchen:

  1. It provides privacy, so if you see the kitchen as a sanctuary where you can cook undisturbed, a closed kitchen is perfect for you.
  2. With a closed kitchen, you can contain kitchen smells – delicious food smells are nearly always welcome, but if you burn something or if someone’s cooking something you’re not crazy about, you may not be able to get away from the smell.
  3. Your furniture is likely to last longer. When you close the kitchen door and open the windows, you can air out the room and be rid of any smoke or oily smells. When there’s little more than a table between your hob and your sofa, the chance is that your furniture will deteriorate more quickly. Not only will your sofas, chairs and carpets take longer to clean, but they’ll also retain the smell of your most intensely-smelling meals.
  4. It discourages unhealthy eating habits. Surprisingly, our eating habits are more influenced by our surroundings than by our appetites, and a comfortable, modern kitchen only exacerbates this. Kitchens with plush seating and TVs tend to cause more excessive snacking than a more functional kitchen would– the same goes if you can see your pantry from your sofa!
  5. More wall space means more storage, cabinets, shelves, and countertops. An open kitchen can make a smaller space feel airier; a closed kitchen allows for more actual storage space without having to trick the eye into seeing a bigger room.

Here are the cons of a closed kitchen:

  1. It doesn’t allow for direct access to and from the dining table, which can be awkward if you’re preparing food, bringing it to the table, clearing plates, and returning them to the kitchen. (And meal hatches should really stay in the 70s!)
  2. A closed kitchen makes it hard to interact with those in another room while cooking. Not being able to physically see your company might not sound like a big deal, but if you’re trying to join in during a social gathering, you’ll want to feel “in” on the conversation.
  3. Compared to an open kitchen, it doesn’t offer much access to natural light and air circulation, which is important in a room when you’ll be cooking every day.

Why shouldn’t I go for an open kitchen?

An open kitchen is not the best option for those who enjoy cooking in privacy, with the doors closed and a clear separation between them and the rest of the household. It’s also worth considering your kitchen’s ceiling height, wall space, windows and general layout before opting for an open kitchen.


Plus, any structural modifications can lower your home’s resale value, so it’s important to figure out if you plan to live in this home for a long time or if you’ll need to appeal to future home buyers.


Are closed kitchens making a comeback?

According to the New York Times, the closed kitchen is making a comeback. This article says that several Manhattan apartments feature closed kitchens as a reference to prewar apartment design. Closed kitchens also cater to the growing demand of prospective buyers who want to separate their food prep and entertaining spaces.


There’s also a movement of notably wealthy people who have their homes built with a “chef’s kitchen” and a “social kitchen,” keeping these two practices separate.


And while that’s not an option for most of us, who doesn’t love the idea of two kitchens?


In short, it appears that people like the idea of returning to a world where the kitchen was reserved for cooking. In a home with a closed kitchen, the dining room and living room are clearly defined and separate, allowing for a more formal experience.


How do you close an open kitchen?

If you want to close off your open kitchen, you could install a frosted glass partition to separate the kitchen from the rest of the home. It will allow natural light to flood the kitchen while keeping the sounds and smells within the kitchen. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to remodel your entire kitchen to have walls erected, to close the space off.


Which choice is right for my home?

For the majority of human history as we know it, the closed kitchen was standard. If you were to walk into an American home built before the 1950s, you’d likely find the kitchen tucked away, rarely visited by guests. Until then, the kitchen was purely functional rather than a place where the family would hang out.


Since then, interior design has integrated rooms so that there’s less of a distinction between rooms. Equipment is stored better, and kitchens are easier to work in, but does that mean we should continue to invite our family and guests into the place we chop, peel and fry?


The answer is, it’s up to you. If you’re building a new house and if you like the idea of stowing yourself away to cook in privacy, an open kitchen probably isn’t for you. However, if you prefer to involve your family and guests in the cooking experience and are happy to blur the line between kitchen, dining room, and living room, then an open kitchen might work for you.


Open or Closed Kitchens: What to Choose

If you’re about to start building or remodeling your kitchen and you’re still unsure whether you should opt for an open or closed kitchen, we’re here to help.


At Skipp, we’re passionate about providing our customers with all the right tools to create their dream kitchens. We use a simple AI-aided system that requires minimal effort from you, and you’ll gain access to top-tier designers, architects and contractors, all why getting a layout exponentially faster than from other renovation companies.


Does this sound like the right plan for you? Click here to get your free kitchen renovation estimate today.

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