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The Great Debate: Open Concept vs. Closed Kitchens


These days, you can’t turn on the HGTV channel without hearing the words “open concept” uttered by anyone and everyone. While this kitchen style is incredibly popular right now, it pays to stop and think about the alternative too. If you’re looking to learn more about the benefits and setbacks that go along with open and closed kitchens, we’ve got you covered. Read on to get the full scoop!

What is an Open Concept Kitchen?

Luxury Open Kitchen
An open concept kitchen is defined as a kitchen layout with few or no dividing walls and partitions separating it from the rest of the dining and living room. This design is popular because it removes the barrier between the cooking area and the entertaining area, allowing one to flow seamlessly into the other.

Pros of Open Concept Kitchen

There’s a reason that open concept kitchens are so popular. For one, having no walls separating the living room, dining room, and kitchen means that the space can be filled with more light. Since these rooms tend to have larger windows, it can make the kitchen that much brighter when you break the walls down in between. In terms of real estate, an open concept kitchen can also up your resale value significantly, since this style is so on-trend right now. Another practical benefit you can expect from this kitchen model is that it maximizes space and creates the illusion of more room at the same time. Lastly, from a homeowner’s perspective, you can have a clear view of what your children are up to and you can check in with your guests and socialize, all while preparing a meal at the same time.

Cons of Open Concept Kitchen

When you are prepping and cooking food in an open concept kitchen, this means your living room and dining room are exposed to all the sights and smells that go along with that. Your furniture will soak up the grease and smells from your cooking, and your guests will have a front row seat to all the messy ins and outs of making dinner. The element of surprise is totally gone, and the final masterpiece doesn’t look as impressive when your friends and family have watched all the chopping, mixing, sautéing, and frying that went into the finished product.

Tips for an Open Concept Kitchen

If you love the idea of having an open kitchen but you don’t want the cooking smells to infiltrate the rest of your dining and entertaining area, you can make sure to keep all windows open during the meal prep, and also make use of a high power exhaust fan at all times. Another option is to install a sliding door that you can leave open or closed as you see fit. If you are creating a particularly greasy or smelly dish, you can close off the space while you prepare the food and open it back up when you move on to mixing a salad or chopping up vegetables. If you are really turned off by an enclosed kitchen of any kind, you can consider using glass or any other translucent material that will allow you to have a view of the goings on in the other room without having to deal with kitchen odors on your furniture. If you are more concerned about having privacy when cooking as opposed to worrying about smells, you can look for a raised island that will shield guests from the meal-prep without having to close off the kitchen entirely.

What is a Closed Kitchen?

Closed Galley Kitchen
A closed kitchen is a room set aside from the rest of the home, closed off by a set of walls as the name suggests. Unlike an open concept kitchen, this style is designed to intentionally separate the cooking area from the entertaining space.

Pros of Closed Kitchen

If you are the type of chef who needs to have some quiet time when making a meal, a closed kitchen allows for fewer distractions. Alone with the ability to focus, a closed kitchen also provides you with a comforting amount of privacy, so your friends and family will be none the wiser that you dropped the ham or spilled the salad dressing all over your floor. A closed kitchen is also more refined and formal than the alternative. While it’s true that the kitchen has become the main hub of the home where everyone gathers, there’s nothing wrong with allowing people to chat and have some drinks in the living room instead of them bustling around you while you are trying to pull a dish out of the oven before it burns and get the rest of the meal in order on time.

Cons of Closed Kitchen

When you are in a closed kitchen, you end up missing out on a good portion of the party. While everyone else is swapping stories and telling funny anecdotes, you’re completely left out the entire time. Not only are you missing out on all the fun, you are also left to operate in a potentially cramped area. With an open concept kitchen, you can spread out all your cooking materials and dishes in a way that you really can’t when you are in a closed off space. If you have small children that require a watchful eye, you have to outsource that task to a friend or family member since you can’t see them from where you’re standing.

Tips for a Closed Kitchen

If you like the idea of having a private cooking space but you don’t want your kitchen to
feel too cramped, there are lots of ways to make the most of the space. Since counter top space is really valuable in a closed kitchen, you will want to make as much room as possible. You can start by tucking all your bulky appliances away so that you can not only create a clean appearance but also maximize your prepping and cooking space. Also, consider installing a pull-out cutting board right over your trash so you can hide it away when it’s not in use and also have the bin right beneath it for easy clean up. You can also create a customized cutting board over your sink which is also conveniently located and space-efficient. There are tons of ways to maximize your surface area and make the most of a closed kitchen without having to feel blocked in or claustrophobic.

At the end of the day, there really is no one clear choice when it comes to going with an open concept style or a closed kitchen. If your priorities are socializing with guests and staying on top of all the action, an open kitchen may be your best bet. If on the other hand, you prefer to maintain some personal space and privacy when you prepare your meals, a closed kitchen can provide you with those benefits. For help determining which style suits you best, our staff is here to assist you from start to finish. When you fill out this free 3D kitchen design form, we will answer all your questions and create a customized plan that suits your unique preferences perfectly!

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