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Open or Closed Kitchen - What's Your Preference? Let's Discuss

Open or Closed Kitchen - What's Your Preference?
Open kitchens are the best thing since color television. Closed kitchens are sepia. That's what most people are telling you, aren't they? Well, both have their good and bad, and that's what we're going to analyze today; whether you're more of an open-kitchen, I-like-to-mingle-with-my-buddies-while-cooking-type, or whether you are more of a closed-kitchen, thank-god-they-didn't-see-me-drop-the-chicken type!
Puja Lalwani
Last Updated: Feb 28, 2018
Expensive Affairs
Kitchen renovations are among the most expensive alterations you can make to your house, and since they affect its resale value, always consult a realtor/interior designer before plunging into this huge change.
They paint lovely pictures: You, standing by your kitchen island, whipping up some delicious pasta while your friends sit across and reminisce about days gone by, and if you're lucky, help you with the pasta too. You contribute with a tidbit that no one knew, and everyone lets out a surprised laugh. You get to be a part of it all! And then the devious, closed kitchen comes into the picture: You're toiling away trying to get the puff pastry to puff, while your extended family is enjoying the Thanksgiving parade and laughing away. Evil, isn't it?

But wait, suddenly you smell something burning and you see that not only has your pastry puffed, it has an unappetizing charcoal black layer on the top. You discreetly scrape it off, cover it with whipped cream, and voila! In the laughter and the chatter, no one realizes they're having the remnants of charred puff pastry. Who's the evil one now?

And that, dear readers, is one of the biggest advantages of having a closed kitchen over an open one. But hey, let's not discard open kitchens like the Justin Bieber craze. They can work if you make them.
Open Kitchens vs. Closed Kitchens - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Open kitchens indeed look gorgeous. Something like this.
Open Kitchen
Pristine, super-clean, the kitchen of my dreams!
And that's what we love about them. That we don't have to miss our favorite shows just because we have to prepare a meal, that we get to be a part of conversations that we probably miss because we have to scrub piles of dishes, that we can keep an eye on what the kids are watching. And the biggest advantage? A unified space in a small apartment so that it looks like one giant space causing people to exclaim―"Whoa! That's a big living room!" And you look at your husband and both of you smirk, because you know that this is just a tiny space made to look big thanks to your design sense.
Open Kitchen Benefit
Looks like fun, doesn't it?
But these are what I think the only circumstances under which you should get an open kitchen:
  • You are an impeccably clean person.
  • You spend very little time in the kitchen.
  • You do not entertain much OR you entertain very small groups of people.
  • You are a cook who knows exactly what he's doing and isn't bothered by chatter while cooking, and you like to show off your cooking skills.
  • You genuinely enjoy the 'scent' of EVERYTHING you cook wafting through your house.
You read that right. Why, you ask? This is why.
  • A messy kitchen is no one's pride. And when you have to show it off, because you don't have the walls to cover the mess, because you're too tired to do the dishes or too busy to be bothered about them right now, they'll be there, right in front of you, ALL. THE. TIME.
  • That burnt pie can actually be salvaged, provided no one sees you trying to save it. Again, in an open kitchen, with your guests around, you're probably just going to have to throw it.
  • Ask yourself this, and answer honestly―can you really focus and cook when someone is sitting in front of you and wallowing about their depressing job, and then another one joins in about how the job market is terrible and that they should stick it out, and all you want to do is get the cherry to sit on top of that wobbly mousse?
  • And is your child going to be able to do his homework while the blender drowns out his concentration?
  • Are you ready to watch an insufferable TV show every single day because your kids want to watch it, and you want to watch them?
Yes, I may be biased, but I refuse to believe that a kitchen can be kept looking clean all the time.

AND, I certainly am not ready to let anyone see me do this when I'm trying to be the perfect host.
Open kitchen flaw
Why thanks, I did get a haircut just yester----WOOOOOAAAAAHHH!!!
Housewife searching for items
Hey guys! I'll be right with you as soon as I find that bowl I got from my trip to Turkey.
How to Make an Open Kitchen Work for You
But here's the thing. I would recommend it to anyone who needs the spaciousness that comes with an open kitchen, the visual appeal that it brings, and the beauty with which it unifies spaces. For all aesthetic purposes, an open kitchen certainly is great. For all practical purposes, only you can decide whether you can manage it or not. If you really do want an open kitchen, here are some hacks you can use to make it work for you.
Partially open kitchen
Have an island that is at least 12" higher than the counter so that it can cover up at least some of the mess behind it.
Basement and kitchen interior
Have a partially enclosed kitchen so that the areas where all the work is done are covered, but you still have easy access to the dining area or living room.
In addition, get appliances that are not as noisy as the regular ones. Prepare meals in advance, so your guests don't have to witness any (God forbid) disasters while you're cooking.
You may have been told that having an open kitchen increases the resale value of your property. But there is no guarantee for this because a lot of people are very particular about their kitchens. And even if it does add to property value, don't expect it to raise it by much.
Why Closed Kitchens Aren't THAT Bad
So, simply put, a closed kitchen allows you to make mistakes and clean them up, it allows you to be messy. The biggest benefit? It gives you that extra wall to store more, which you don't get with an open kitchen.
Closed kitchen
A closed kitchen can look gorgeous too!
Yes, yes! You can't stand it. You can't stand that everyone's having a good time outside and you're tossing salad inside. And yes, this can make you feel isolated. And you probably don't have direct access to your dining area because your kitchen is closed. But it would still be easier for you to find a way of organizing events with meals prepared in advance so that you can be a part of them, and your to-and-fro from the kitchen is limited when entertaining a large group of people.
The choice of an open or closed kitchen also depends largely on the appearance of your home. Will an open kitchen suit the theme of the apartment? For instance, if it is a pre-war apartment, the open kitchen may not necessarily fit in. Next, is your house structurally benign in that it allows you to have an open kitchen without exposing too many beams or springing hidden columns within walls?
If you can accommodate it and overcome the flaws that an open kitchen brings with it, go ahead and get one. If you're hiring a designer, get his opinion as well. Identify your needs and more importantly your lifestyle, to understand what setup will work for you.
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