An open affair with kitchens

Last Updated 28 August 2014, 14:52 IST

Open kitchens are making their way into every home now, thanks to their simple yet elegant appeal, writes A Varsha Rao.

With space becoming a constraint in cities these days, it is important to utilise whatever space we get effectively and smartly. A new concept that has caught on with homemakers is that of open kitchens. Open kitchens are making a huge comeback in homes right now.

Open kitchen basically means a kitchen being a part of the living room. In earlier days, open kitchens were a norm in most of the households. They were considered to be a hub of social activities. This allowed the women to cook and also enjoy the happenings in the living room simultaneously. For families with kids, this was considered a boon. Parents could keep an eye on their kids playing in the hall while they finished their chores.

But, with the onset of nuclear families and modern traditions, open kitchens slowly transformed into closed and separate ones. But, thanks to new-age designs, open kitchens are back in a major way today.

So, here are some simple ideas to create or upgrade an open kitchen in your home:

Structure matters

Whenever you design an open kitchen, keep the space constraints in mind. That means, specify the area in your living room that can accommodate all the fire and heat involved in cooking. Corners with windows can be a good idea for these kitchens. Without windows, the space can feel very claustrophobic.

Go for a kitchen that suits your size specifications. With no exclusive closed spaces in the kitchen, you have to plan in a smart way. Having a utility area beside the open kitchen can help in creating a space that is clutter-free. You can have a sink with a drain board installed in the utility area for all the washing activities. Have shelves under this sink for storing all your washing paraphernalia.

If you are not too comfortable with the kitchen being open and visible, you can have a divider separating it from the rest of the space. Glass or metal dividers work beautifully here. This divider could extend up to the length of the kitchen counter. Do not go in for thick or heavy-looking dividers as they can take up a lot of space.

A kitchen island works great in an open kitchen. But, this island needs a lot of space, otherwise it can look too close for comfort. So, if your space allows it, have a kitchen island installed in your home.

This helps in allocating areas for different kinds of activities in your kitchen. For example, you can do all your cutting, slicing and cleaning on the island. Why, the island can even serve as a dining space for a small group! A kitchen island made of wooden body and a marble countertop with wooden wardrobes over the kitchen counter can meet all your needs.

Adding shelves to the island can provide you that extra space to store food and vessels. Keep two chairs handy so that you can use them while cooking or eating. Alternately, you can also use the island for a major part of your cooking and keep the other spaces of the kitchen free and clear.

A hub is a must in open kitchens as it helps rid the area of smell and smoke. Since the open kitchen is a part of the main living area, you need to ensure that the heat of your cooking doesn’t reach the people in the living room. A useful tip here would be to go in for closed cabinets in the kitchen. Go in for open shelves only if you can manage to keep them looking neat and tidy.

Creative accents

A major hurdle while implementing open kitchens is the layout. The merging of two completely different spaces can be a little tricky. Dividers can help here. Have a separate lighting plan for open kitchens. Install lights under the cabinets for added effect. You can also get a set of pendant lights over the kitchen island. This lends a chic appeal to the space.

A vase of fresh and pretty flowers on the island will energise the space. Having elevated wooden flooring only in the kitchen area acts as a marker for spaces and also renders it an earthy feel. So, if you want the kitchen to feel like a separate area in spite of being an open one, choose this option.

Make sure that the kitchen doesn’t jut out but blends in beautifully with the rest of the area. Colours make this possible. If the living area and kitchens follow the same colour palette, then it’s perfect. But, if you want to experiment, then go in for shades that look good in combination with each other.

For extra effect, go in for wall decals on any free wall in the kitchen. Make space in your utility area for a small herb garden. You can also grow some vegetables depending on the space available. This adds a green factor to the plan and also saves you those last-minute trips to the store.

Open kitchens are a great way to feel connected with the rest of the home. You don’t have to worry about missing your favourite TV shows or interesting conversations. Sometimes, people are also worried about guests having an unobstructed view of their messy kitchen.But, as long as you plan smartly, there is nothing to worry about. So, get started on your open kitchen right now!

(Published 28 August 2014, 14:11 IST)

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