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Open or closed kitchen — which is better and how to remove cooking fumes in an open-concept home

 

Which is better: an open or closed kitchen? That is the question many homeowners think about when designing their kitchen.

There are pros and cons to both. An open kitchen, or an open-concept home with fewer walls, tends to be airier and more spacious. Parents can also keep an eye on their children play in the living room, from the kitchen. On the downside, those who do heavy cooking are worried about cooking fumes filling up the rest of the home, and the "visible mess" of the kitchen.

A closed kitchen need not necessarily be inconvenient to cook in. When designed properly and fitted with many space-saving mechanisms and designs, even the smallest of space can be a breeze to work in. You also keep the cooking fumes in and are able to have a proper segregation of a work space from areas for entertaining and guests. On the downside, a closed kitchen can get stuffy and you may feel separated from guests and family members who are outside the kitchen. 

 

open or closed kitchenDesign: Artistroom

For our fourth episode of Insights, Outside, we approached folks on Orchard Road to find out whether they prefer an open or closed kitchen as well as their concerns when designing a kitchen. Here are two ways to remove odour and cooking fumes if you do opt for an open-concept kitchen:

Open the windows as this encourages cross-ventilation

Cross-ventilation is important because it pushes warm air, together with the circulating dust and pollutants, out of the home and allows fresher and cooler air to enter. It also reduces the need for air-conditioning, which means saving on utility bills.

open or closed kitchen

The ideal scenario is to have openings (whether doors or windows) that are situated directly opposite. During periods of the year that are less breezy, get the air moving using an electric fan, air cooler-cum-purifier like the Dyson Pure Cool Me personal fan or ventilation fan. These help remove excessive moisture and odour.

Ventilation fans are recommended in tight, humid areas, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, while ceiling fans help to circulate the air well. If you need extra help in removing odour, place a bowl of baking soda and coffee grounds on the counter.

Install an excellent cooker hood

With the rise of open-concept kitchens, having an efficient ventilation system in the cooking zone is crucial to drawing fumes and airborne grease away from your living space. It should have strong suction and activated carbon filters that catch grease and extract odours. Here’s a look at the latest downdraft systems, hoods and extractors on the market.

Alternatively, check if your home can accommodate a ducted cooker hood which pushes the cooking fumes out of your home. You can also cook with an air fryer as this lets you enjoy fried food without worrying about the smell of cooking oil.

Not convinced? Opt for glass doors — it keeps fumes in without compromising on the sense of openness.

For instance, in this project by D5 Studio Image, the wall between the kitchen and dining area was hacked and replaced with black framed glass windows, opening up the area for a sense of spaciousness.  

open or closed kitchen

In this home by Eightytwo, foldable doors are used to enlarge the space when needed as well as keep the cooking fumes and odours in during heavy cooking.

open or closed kitchen

This kitchen by Aiden T features both an open and closed kitchen, which is separated via a glass door. More on the house here, and more homes with a similar design here.

open or closed kitchen

Planning a renovation? You should also watch the first episode, where we ask homeowners what they want for their dream homes, as well as share renovation tips. The third episode educates you on ways to maintain your kitchen appliances.

In Insights, Outside, Home & Decor gathers insights from the average man and woman on the street on various home-related topics, from home renovation to household chores, as well as shares tips on the issue. Stay tuned for more episodes!

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