Open Kitchen Floorplan Or Closed?

The results are in! Thank you for taking the survey! The topic of the kitchen floorplan survey was spur of the moment for me. I had just finished a marathon session designing my own kitchen (in a dreamlike state as it is at least a year or two off). Suddenly, grappling with issues and questions pertaining to a wide open (to the entire main floor) vs. a partially open floorplan, I thought it would be very interesting to hear what others thought...especially now. So, I put up a quick poll and noted it on Twitter.

Now, we are in, what many think, is a different time, a kitchen "evolution". Many of us are enjoying our homes in a renewed way. We're cooking more, entertaining more, we're together more, a mix of multi-generations coming together. We're becoming reacquainted with our homes and finding great comfort there. I'd written about how the kitchen was changing in the past 2 years prior to the "Great Recession" but that event put this trend on the fast track. We want to be together more. Therefore, more activities are taking place in the kitchen. Yes, even more than we've previously read about over the years in all the magazines. 

In the 80s and 90s, the walls suddenly came down between our kitchens and dining rooms or family rooms. That is why the island became the "must have" element in the kitchen. The kitchen became even more social. And, that trend continued. It's only increased in importance, as a social magnet, as the years went on. 

I predict that islands will become even bigger in terms of their size. I predict that little by little, our cabinetry will leave the perimeter walls, or at least one or two of the walls, and will become centered in the kitchen, where possible. I see a change. I think it's in the air, but still in the clouds a bit, perhaps. 

I think a lot about this topic, and I always have...where we are in our kitchens now, what we might want, how we live in them, contemplating the future.

So, on to the survey!

The survey had 150 responses, a good number. Next time I may keep it up longer. But, here's where it gets really interesting...

For a period of time on Twitter, I put out tweets with a link to the survey. Suddenly, I realized that I forgot to put the survey on my blog, but that was quite awhile after it had appeared on Twitter. I was very surprised at what happened next. 

The results from Twitter were markedly different from the results on my blog. I find that fascinating and here's why. On Twitter, I follow many designers, industry leaders, allied professionals and manufacturers of kitchen related products. THAT segment of the responses far and away responded to the survey from many to fewer responses in the order that the questions were asked. I did not capture those statistics because I did not expect this differing result, which was to come (afterward). Thus, far more responses on Twitter voted for a wide open, loft-like kitchen environment. 

Those who voted in the survey on the blog wanted their kitchens less open. I saw fast and consistent results in this pattern, as I monitored the survey.

Here are the original questions that were asked and the OVERALL percentages:

If you could choose, would you like the kitchen to be open to surrounding living areas or closed off?

  • totally wide open to surrounding living areas, loft-like 25.5%
  • open just to one living area 38%
  • partially open kitchen (barriers, 1/2 walls) 27%
  • closed off from all surrounding rooms 9.5%

These results tell me several things:

Forget about wanting to cook in private. We don't want to be isolated or need to be. That era is over for the vast majority of people.

Considering that there were more blog responses than Twitter responses (blog responses generally did not favor a loft-like kitchen) I think it's very interesting that the (overall) responses to the first question was as high as it was. We're moving toward wanting our spaces to be even more open. That's what that number of 25.5% tells me. I think it's impressive, and interesting.

The kitchen being partially open at 27% assumes that homeowners are comfortable being somewhat exposed to surrounding living areas. So, I'm thinking that if we put the first and second numbers together, they are sending a strong message toward designing the kitchen into an open floorplan. And, perhaps the 27% number represents those who currently have closed off kitchens, and are taking a small step visually toward a more open space, but not too open. But, I cannot be sure of this interpretation.

The difference in who the respondents are...professionals primarily in the design industry on Twitter vs. the general public, my readers, who responded to the blog survey, is also interesting. While at first, the difference in the voting results between the two groups was a surprise, I think the "Twitter effect" must underscore the comfort level of design/industry professionals in regard to, perhaps:

  • wanting the eye to travel further in the space
  • a desire to have freedom of movement
  • a desire to unite several areas creatively under a common theme
  • an understanding that a dwelling with multiple people in an open space can foster relationships in a positive way, invite togetherness, along with a physical ease of communication

And, I'm sure there are other issues that these respondents considered. 

In short, it tells me that the Twitter respondents have a unique vision. The response of the blog readers tells me that they increasingly wish to be in a mostly open space, most likely for some of the very same reasons just mentioned. 

I know I've gone on forever. Please tell me your thoughts about this topic!

Images: KLMDesign (1) and Boligmagasinet (2)


Posted on October 28, 2009 and filed under Kitchen Design.