Open kitchen vs closed kitchen: Which should you choose?

Open kitchen vs closed kitchen: Which should you choose?
PHOTO: Uno Interior

Should you go with the trendy open kitchen or the timeless closed kitchen? We put together a quick guide to help you figure out which layout better fits your needs and lifestyle.


Open kitchens with their lack of walls and doors have zero privacy. So if you don’t want to be disturbed while you cook, opt for a closed kitchen.

Because there’s no privacy, you will likely hear everything going on in the kitchen, whether it’s the low hum of the refrigerator or the loud whirring of the mixer. You also can’t hide any mess with no walls. With an open kitchen, you will have to be prompt about clearing countertops or keeping your sink free from piled up dirty dishes.


An open kitchen works well in small homes. The absence of walls can make your space appear more spacious and will also invite more light which also has the effect of making your space look bigger.

If you have multiple cooks working in the kitchen at any one time, an open kitchen is a better layout for you as you are likely to have more walkway space to move about.

However, a closed kitchen has the advantage over an open kitchen in terms of storage space. More walls mean you can build more cabinets, full-height storage and shelving.

Social Interactions

Behind closed doors, a closed kitchen can feel isolated from the rest of the home, so it isn’t the best layout if you like the idea of preparing meals and cooking while conversing and mingling with your guests or the rest of your family.

By incorporating an island in the middle, an open kitchen offers a friendly, open vibe that is just as perfect for informal get-togethers as it is for regular day-to-day interactions with the rest of the people at home.

Have your guests mingle around hors d’oeuvres while you cook up the main course. Supervise homework time while you prep lunch. Or stay connected with your partner in the kitchen even as you are both doing different tasks.


If you need to cook while looking after your kids, an open kitchen lets you keep a clear sight of them at all times. It also keeps them within earshot, so you know what is going on and where they are.

But an open layout also means your kids can get into the kitchen at any time. Grubby little hands getting hold of knives and appliances when you are not looking can dangerous.

A solution to this is to have bi-fold doors that let you open up or closed off your kitchen depending on your needs.

Design Considerations

With an open kitchen, you have to be a lot more conscious about your design choices and colours. It needs to be able to sit well with the neighbouring rooms. You want your palette to be consistent or at least cohesive for a better visual flow throughout your home.

If you like to have distinct spaces at home, a closed kitchen is great for you. Behind walls, you get to be more experimental since it won’t affect your overall home design as much.

A closed kitchen also has the added advantage of feeling cosier. Add in a little eat-in corner to create a warm, homey ambience.


The kitchen is one of the most expensive parts of the home to renovation. Materials, carpentry work and appliances can really add up.

So, if you are looking to turn an existing closed kitchen into an open one or vice versa, it can really add to your renovation costs.

Tearing down or putting up walls adds to structural costs as well as extra plumbing or electrical charges. Stick with what you have if you have a tight budget. You might end up liking your open or closed layout.

Alternatively, there are solutions without having to make any structural changes. With an open kitchen, install bi-fold doors or glass walls that will help to keep it close when you want it to.

For closed kitchen layouts, doing up a separate dry kitchen area outside your existing closed kitchen gives you an open kitchen area that you can use as a communal hub.

This article was first published in Renonation

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