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Open or fully closed kitchens: which is the best option?

Explore the evolution of kitchen design and the advantages and disadvantages of each model.

Since ancient times, kitchens have been fusion places. Whether it is the farmhouse oven, the open kitchen of the country house or the kitchenette of the city apartment, it is most certain that this is where the different generations meet to merge stories, flavors and knowledge. This multifaceted character makes the kitchen a unique place and currently one of the most valued in homes. But have kitchens always played this role? What does history tell us and how should we design the kitchen to best serve our interests?

In the early days of humanity, kitchens were the epicenter of domestic activity. It was around the campfire that the tribe came together to share stories and cook food. Many years later, during the Renaissance, kitchens were sent to the “suburbs”.

However, the kitchen returns to the epicenter of the house. With the advance of urbanization and the need for efficiency in scale, in 1926, the so-called "Frankfurt cuisine" appeared. Idealized based on efficiency and functionality: everything that is important must be within reach and the appliances optimize the work process. It is the birthplace of modern (yet small and somewhat hidden) urban cuisine.

This kitchen therefore has its limitations: it segregates the kitchen from the social environment and is very inflexible: it is so small that it does not allow for the simultaneous presence of two people, nor does it allow for meals on the spot.

Open kitchens: the heart of the home's social life

The real revolution happens when the idea of open kitchens appears. With the lack of employees, the role of preparing meals is now performed by the owner of each. And the need quickly arises to integrate those who work with those who have fun. Confined and isolated spaces are thus replaced by open environments that integrate the kitchen into the living room. These changes also bring innovations at an aesthetic level: a welcoming atmosphere, which promotes the integration of social activity with cooking, promoting a more sociable lifestyle.

Sterility and isolation are abandoned in favor of more noble and natural materials such as stone and wood surfaces and the use of vibrant colors or even fabrics. These aesthetic changes place the kitchen at the heart of the social life of the house, encouraging conviviality.

Like everything else, in addition to the advantages, this trend has some drawbacks: the spread of noise, fumes and odors throughout the house. To solve these problems, one of the effective approaches is installing sliding doors. These doors make it possible to separate the kitchen from the social space while allowing total integration when open.

What is certain is that kitchen design has evolved over the years and adapted to the different interests and lifestyles of property owners and developers. Among the most popular options, kitchenettes stand out (they allow you to optimize the construction space since they don't need direct windows to the street), open kitchens and fully closed ones. Each of the options has distinct characteristics that can influence functionality, aesthetics and interaction with other environments. Let's detail some of the advantages and disadvantages of open kitchens, one of the trends that best fits today's lifestyles.


  1. Integration and sociability: Open kitchens provide a sense of togetherness, allowing social interaction while preparing meals. It is the option that best facilitates socialization between family members and guests, making it a central point for meetings and events.

  2. Flow and circulation: By eliminating physical barriers between the kitchen and adjacent spaces, circulation becomes more fluid. This allows people to move freely between rooms, contributing to a sense of spaciousness and connectedness.

  3. Lighting and feeling of space: Open kitchens often benefit from natural light coming from adjacent areas, creating a feeling of open space and light. This can help make the environment more inviting and enjoyable.


  1. Odors and Noise: One of the concerns with open kitchens is the possibility that odors from food preparation will spread into the living room. In addition, the noise generated during the preparation of meals, appliances or during the cleaning phase spreads to other spaces, which is always an inconvenience.

  2. Maintenance and organization: An open kitchen requires special attention to organization and cleanliness, as it is more exposed to other environments. Keeping the kitchen tidy and organized becomes essential to maintain a pleasant and inviting aesthetic.

  3. Privacy and Separation: At times when privacy or separating the kitchen from the rest of the house is required, such as during a party or when wanting to hide the chaos after the feast, an open kitchen may not offer this option.

  4. Aesthetics: An open kitchen has to be designed to integrate with other environments. There has to be great care in terms of aesthetics and a careful choice of all the equipment and coatings so that you have the feeling of having the kitchen in the living room. It must be designed so that there is balance and fluidity between the decoration of the different environments.

Although open kitchens present challenges, such as the need for organization and odor control, we believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. This option offers a sense of belonging and sociability, allowing meal preparation to become a social and bonding moment that reinforces family ties and friendships.

However, the truth is that choosing the ideal kitchen is intrinsically linked to the social dynamics that best responds to each family and to the needs, preferences and lifestyles of each one. The ideal is to find a balance between functionality, the intended social dynamics and aesthetics.

As we move into the future, the open kitchen will continue to evolve, adapting to ever-changing needs. Regardless of design and layout trends, one thing is certain: the kitchen will always have a prominent place in our homes, as meals are par excellence the moment where we find comfort, love and joy.

Source: Idealista


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