Would You Rather?

Open plan or separate kitchen: Which do you prefer?

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Loft-like living spaces may be all the rage, but there's something to be said for a classic floorplan where the kitchen has its own four walls. We asked five New Yorkers which layout they'd rather have:

  • Open house: I love, love, love, an open plan kitchen. It’s absolutely how things should be in a home. When our friends or family are over here for dinner, we all participate in the cooking. Some do prep while others cook or clean up. I love an informal dinner party or brunch! So much better than having your guests wait in a whole other room, getting hungry and bored. And as the person who does most of the cooking, I really like hearing all of the conversation, instead of just hearing people laugh while I slave in the kitchen. - Peter, Astoria
  • Hide the dishes: I think separate kitchens give an apartment a real graciousness. I’m thinking of the larger holiday parties, where the kitchen is a total mess from cooking several dishes at once. It’s nice to not have to eat next to the mess! And as for the hosts being separated from the guests: During large family gatherings, most of the time, the kitchen is packed with people regardless. It’s nice to have another room where people can group together. In such a full house, I need a quiet spot to myself even if it’s just for a minute! - Clemence, Financial District
  •  Wishing for an island: I love the modern airiness of a properly planned out open living space. But what I hate is when the kitchen is an afterthought in the room, then it becomes an eyesore. I’ve lived in enough cheap rentals to know it’s the kitchen that makes a place look worn and grimy. In that case, I’d rather have a separate space altogether. However, if I could choose and plan the kitchen I want, I’d definitely go for an open kitchen, with a gorgeous island in the middle! - Tracy, Harlem
  • Motivation to tidy up: An open kitchen is really nice when you have kids running around. You can keep an eye on them while you do stuff in the kitchen. Plus, I know from experience that I tend to keep the kitchen cleaner when it’s open to your common areas! When we had a separate kitchen with a door, it was all too easy for us to shut the door at the end of a long day and forget about the mess. Coming to a dirty kitchen first thing in the morning can ruin the rest of your day. - Jonice, Harlem
  • Space to rearrange: I love the layouts of prewar apartments partly because they all have a separate kitchen with a window. It’s a nice feature to a home, I think. You can kick guests out, if you want. And it won’t make guests feel like they should help you in the kitchen, just because they see you slaving away. I want my guest to relax. Having said that, we’re really strapped for space in our place and we’re thinking about converting the kitchen to a bedroom, and just having an open kitchen/dining room. But in an ideal world, kitchens would be separate. And I’m glad we have this option to renovate and gain space. Wouldn’t be possible in another layout. - Mike, Upper West Side

Results: "Open" minded: 3; Separate kitchen: 2

Winner: Open space


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