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Open plan kitchens have been popular for many years and as our tastes for interiors and daily needs have developed, they too have evolved to become more sophisticated and design focused.
A study from 2014 revealed that half of UK homeowners would spend up to £20,000 on a dreamy new kitchen and central to that dream for over half, was an open plan design, with 63 percent of respondents featuring an island unit as part of the layout.
From the social aspects to convenience when entertaining, or simply making the most of limited space, here CashLady looks at why we love open plan kitchens.
Open plan kitchens, what’s the appeal?
An open plan kitchen provides far more than just a space for food preparation – it is a place to eat, relax, recline, catch up with a little work, focus on homework or watch TV.
This large social space is often seen a luxury and the heart of a home, yet in some cases, it’s a necessity instead of a choice.
With rising property prices putting a premium on space, particularly in city locations, combining several functions into one room instead housing a separate kitchen, living room and dining room is increasingly common.
The benefits of an open plan kitchen
Sociable cooking and entertaining
The beauty of an open plan kitchen is that the cook never has to miss out on the conversation when preparing meals.
In an open plan space, you can cook, clean and tidy up, all while keeping a close eye on your family or entertaining dinner party guests.
Easy access for serving and clearing
Easy access to the kitchen and dining area also makes serving up food and clearing plates a doddle, with less chance of any accidents or spillages as plates and serving dishes are in transit.
Making your home look larger
An open space can look light, bright and airy, even when square footage is tight, making the most of the space in the downstairs of your home.
Better for looking after young children
Another plus point for an open kitchen is that it’s easier to keep an eye on little ones in one large space, instead of darting between rooms.
You can also get on with tidying and cooking while they play or are entertained with TV or crafts.
Designing your open plan kitchen
Aim to keep the space as clutter free and seamless as possible as the living space moves into the practical kitchen area.
Make the kitchen feel like an extension of your relaxing living space by cleverly concealing appliances and utensils when not in use.
Consider retractable taps and pull out bin units, under-cabinet lighting and pop-up oven hoods hidden underneath your worktops.
Sleek, uninterrupted surfaces within your kitchen create a fluid transition towards the living space, which is soothing and doesn’t jar the eye.
Opt for fridges, freezers and dishwashers with a concealed front to match your cabinets and choose inlaid handles for a smoother finish.
The disadvantages of an open plan kitchen
A practical social hub in the home, our love for open plan kitchens isn’t likely to diminish any time soon, however, it’s important to note the downsides to open plan living.
A big construction job
If you are considering starting from scratch, be aware that creating your dream open plan kitchen will take lots of work structurally, while also being potentially very expensive and time-consuming.
Nowhere to hide
While an open plan kitchen is great for entertaining from a social aspect, meaning that you can see what your guests are doing and hear their conversation – remember they can also see and hear you.
Your guests will see (and smell) as you cook and prepare their food. They will also spy the inevitable mess that comes with assembling a delicious meal because you can’t simply close a door over to hide the dirty pots and pans.
Generally, open floor plans are trickier to keep tidy as you can’t contain the mess to one room so think carefully about whether it will work for you.