Open Kitchens vs. Closed Kitchens - What Works Best In An Indian Home?

Does the honey-like, sugary scent of freshly baked cookies wafting out of the kitchen tantalize you? Do barbecued, spicy, condiment-like smells get your taste-buds drooling? Or do you like your privacy intact while cooking up a storm in the kitchen?

Think carefully, for chances are, your answer will determine if you’re an open kitchen-plan type person or a closed plan one!

How Are Open Kitchens Different From Closed Kitchens?

Allow us to take you through the open kitchen vs. closed kitchen debate and guide you through the pros, cons, supporting and opposing arguments – But first, here’s a sketch on the concept!

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An open kitchen is a kitchen space that is not ‘divided’ from other adjoining rooms within the house by interior walls. This idea opens up the entire home and promotes socializing during hosting and family time. Having gained popularity in the West for quite some time now, India is fast catching up on this trend of open kitchens too.

With new-age kitchen designs offering numerous functional advantages, it’s important to understand its adaptation in the Indian home decor landscape.

Let’s uncover a few points to illustrate the pros and cons of an open/closed design kitchen in an Indian home!

Pros And Cons Of Having An Open/Closed Kitchen!

Let’s take a look at some of the defining characteristics of an open/closed kitchen and how to get it to work for you!

1. Privacy

The Pros:
A closed kitchen mainly provides the hard demarcation of the various functional areas around the kitchen space i.e. dining area, living room. There could be various reasons for taking this isolation into consideration.

The Cons:
There can be a variety of different sounds from the kitchen which are unavoidable during the prep, cooking and cleanup activities such as the sound of the grinder, the pressure cooker whistles, and the clatter of dishes, etc.

Another possible reason is the usage of strong spices in Indian cuisines, case in point being the tadka, which does emit a strong odor that easily wafts around the kitchen space causing discomfort to the people around.

The Solution:
However, some good planning and interior work can help you overcome the above stated issues.

Installing the right ventilation set-up using windows, exhaust fans and electric chimneys above the gas burner can help smoke out the odour problem completely.

Additionally, installing a sliding door can help mitigate the issue of privacy to a large extent. Various other partitioning ideas such as plants, hanging kitchen accessories can help too.

Go for a service window large enough to serve an adjacent dining area next to it, if you do not want to consider breaking the partition wall between the kitchen and the dining area.

A partly etched glass partition can serve as a good means to separate the kitchen and the living/dining room.

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2. Sociability

The Pros:
Modern day households are severely challenged, when it comes to family time! With the ever-growing need to multitask in everyday life, an open kitchen could help provide the much needed opportunities to spend time together. Parents can keep a check on the kids; catch up with an interesting soap or a cricket match or simply interact with the family members while the daily supper routine is in progress.

The open kitchen opens up to the dining room and kitchen table, making it easier to serve food from the kitchen to the table. Besides, an open kitchen can be ideal when hosting responsibilities come-a-calling – As guests can be entertained, served and the joie de vivre of the moment can be thoroughly enjoyed by the host and guest impartially. As such, open kitchens do impart an air of informality and promote sociability.

In other words, let’s just say that if you’re a regular at hosting brunches or dinner parties, then an open kitchen is the one for you. For those who are absolute sticklers for privacy, the plan to open the kitchen up should be reconsidered.

The Cons:
For any kind of cooking, there is bound to be a mess created in the kitchen until the host is able to head for the cleanup activity. So, if the sight of unfinished work or unsightly messes makes you uncomfortable, you know you’re not cut for the open kitchen-plan.

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3. Additional Storage

The Pros:
Pack-rats will find that the open kitchen-plan doesn’t allow for unnecessary clutter, so it might disappoint the hoarders but greatly please the minimalist.

The Cons:
When we think of open kitchens, the thought that immediately comes to mind is the loss of storage space - Especially more so if a partition wall needs to be eliminated!

The Solution:
While this may seem a hindrance at first, simple interior designs can help overcome this shortcoming. Consider a service window or a semi-cut partition in the kitchen wall adjoining the dining area. Kitchen cabinets can be installed along the partition serving a dual purpose of defining an open look and providing the necessary storage space.

Or, you could make it a smart extension to your dining area!

You need not design your kitchen with an altogether different theme. Your open kitchen could be a natural extension of your living room if you simply extend the flooring. Besides, kitchens usually have a good steely appearance due to the various appliances and so they tend to look modern and sleek too.

Bar stools, for instance, can match up with the wooden furniture theme used in the living room and make the kitchen appear in sync with the rest of the space.

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What’s It Going To Be For You?

And so, the big question is - would YOU go for an open kitchen layout? Well, the points we revisited earlier do suggest that aside from the obvious clear demarcation of the room layout (closed) or a breezy, blending in type of kitchen (open), the choice DOES depend on what YOUR personal preference is. Also, based on the activities you prefer to host in your house, it is wise to analyse both options comprehensively and on a case by case basis.

Do, however, remember that the ‘middle way’ (half wall, pass through window) is an option that’s yours for the taking. It can provide a good opportunity to synchronise your well planned aesthetics from the living room right up to your kitchen!

If you are looking to get the right design for your kitchen, get in touch with one of Hipcouch’s experts today!

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