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Open vs Closed Kitchen

February 06, 2023

Soumadip Dey

Designers share their views on what works best and the reasons behind the increasing popularity of the open kitchen format, with Soumadip Dey

While there are many different kitchen designs, the two most basic categories of kitchen design are the open and closed types of kitchen. A closed kitchen is isolated from the rest of the house i.e. closed off. The walls separating the kitchen from the other parts of the house make the kitchen a room of its own. On the contrary, an open kitchen is integrated with the adjacent rooms in the house which is usually the living room and the dining room. This type of kitchen design is commonly ‘open’ from more than one side or doesn’t have walls on more than one side. The concept of the open kitchen started becoming popular in the 1990s and is still a favoured choice of many.

When the kitchen is operational for most of the day then there is a lot of mess no matter how much cleaning takes place, so it is better to keep the kitchen design closed.

Ritu Goregaoker

Design Director

GA Design

Sunil Patil, Principal Architect, Sunil Patil & Associates

These days, young couples normally have parties at home. Due to the party culture of the modern generation, an open kitchen has become a necessity. Whenever the client is hosting some people, they get to host the guests and at the same time work in the kitchen. There is a constant requirement for the interaction of the kitchen with the living areas. An open kitchen allows the host to have a drink with the guests and at the same time work in the kitchen. Open kitchens are now becoming popular mainly because of this very reason. Another reason people are opting for open kitchens is because of the way kitchens operate now.

Earlier people wanted a closed kitchen mainly because there were not enough gadgets. Since there was no concept of including chimneys in kitchen design, people opted for a closed kitchen. But in high-end residences where there are servants to prepare meals, there the closed kitchen concept works. However, we have designed high-end residences where the owners also like to cook. There, we have designed two kitchens, i.e. one open show kitchen where the owners can prepare light meals and one regular closed kitchen where the main meals are prepared. This concept of two kitchens is also gaining some popularity these days.

The trend right now is having two kitchens and that is what most people ask for – one show kitchen and one functional kitchen.

Supriya Lolayekar

Principal Architect

Crafted Spaces

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Bandna Singh, Principal Architect, Positive Axis

In my opinion, an open kitchen does not work very well in the Indian context. This is mainly because of all the spices and frying in oil that are used in Indian-style cooking. Though we have worked on a few projects where we had to design an open kitchen, most of the time we have to make two kitchens; one open and fancy kitchen and another service kitchen where the main cooking takes place. This is one way we incorporate an open kitchen in the design.

What started happening is that nowadays a lot of housewives take interest in cooking and younger couples these days like to cook together. For them, the open kitchen is an extension of the living area. With the comforts of the living room like air conditioning, they can do light cooking or baking together. Open kitchen design works well in certain cases like these but when there are servants and cooks to prepare the meal then the closed kitchen design or a service kitchen at the back is the best. In most of the larger houses that we have designed lately, we have incorporated two kitchens, one open and one closed.

A very small percentage of our clients opt for two kitchens. Usually in a city the space is very limited, so it is not possible to incorporate two different types of kitchen designs.

Anand Tatu

Principal Architect

Anand Tatu Architects