Functional vs. Showroom Kitchen

Kitchens have become the focal point of homes today. In some cases it has become the showroom, because the family room and kitchen are combined into one space, creating the great room.  So now we see kitchens that are a cross between kitchen and living room.  The cabinetry has taken a more furniture aesthetic and as the photo above shows, some even install a chandelier in the kitchen!

So, which should you choose:  a functional kitchen or a showroom kitchen or can you find some compromise in between. The first question to ask yourself is:  how often do you use your kitchen?  If you have a large family that constantly uses the kitchen, the main function of the kitchen is to prepare your meals.  However, if you spend most of your waking hours at work,  have your meals out, and your kitchen is used to make a cup of coffee or light snack, then a showroom kitchen will work just fine.  The purpose of the kitchen does vary with every household.  Think what works best for you.

When I lived in Singapore, some home owners had both showroom kitchens and an outdoor kitchen.  Because of all the spice and grease of Asian cooking, this made practical sense for those who could afford two kitchens.  Cooking outside keeps the interior free from smells and grime.   But, not all of us can live this way.  Just remember to always go back to your purpose of your kitchen.  What do you want it to do for you?  A good way is to make a check list of things you would like to include such as the following if you want a functional kitchen:

  • prepare food with more than one person in the kitchen
  • easy maintenance
  • aesthetically beautiful
  • enough storage for pot and pans
  • pantry
  • storage for dishes and cups
  • wine rack
  • cookbook shelf
  • storage for mini kitchen appliances
  • work space
  • lighting
  • espresso machine

If you don’t cook maybe your list would look like this:

  • wine rack
  • espresso machine
  • bar
  • aesthetically beautiful
  • focal point
  • mood lighting

In my household, I need a functional kitchen. Many Asian families center their family activities around food and we like to exchange tips of cooking, ingredients and restaurants.  We enjoy not only eating but talking about food too, such as our most memorable meals or what we ate on vacation!  To me a kitchen is a place were a family can unwind and talk about their day and share their thoughts, as well as enjoy their meals.  Because I am more a casual person, I like my kitchen to be a place that everyone can relax and open up.  When the setting is too formal, it may not be conducive to open conversation and one can become reserved.  You need a place to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and relax.

For those who want a showroom kitchen with the newest gadgets, mirrors and flash, that’s fine too. Just remember that this type of environment, is very yang.  It can create to much stimulation and automatically creates an instant mood of formality.  Make sure you have other rooms where you can unwind and where you can release tension.  This is very important for your well-being.  Remember that balance helps in your emotional, mental and physical well-being.

A good compromise is to have most of your kitchen gadgets hidden, so the kitchen is neither formal nor a “working” room. Have enough decor to make it aesthetically pleasing and try to keep the counters clear.  If you have open shelving or glass cabinets, make sure that the interiors are organized and do not create visual clutter.  Remember it is not necessary to fill all the shelves to the brim.  Leave space for “negative space” or what is also called breathing room.  Allow for your treasures to shine by themselves and store other items out of sight.  Stay away from too many mirrors.  I once saw a kitchen that had mirrors on the inside all of their cabinets that had glass doors, so it gave the appearance that they had twice as much stuff.  I am not sure what the purpose of that was, but it produced a very busy, chaotic feeling.  Don’t be afraid to question the purpose of everything when a designer, builder or architect makes a suggestion.  It is better to know why they intend to install something before it is installed and too late to remove.  Remember it is your home and it should satisfy your purpose and needs.

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  1. Pingback: Functional vs. Showroom Kitchen | Asian Lifestyle Design Eating

  2. Pingback: Functional vs. Showroom Kitchen | Asian Lifestyle Design | cooktoday

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