Our kitchens see more traffic and more use, perhaps, than any other room in the house. This is especially the case with busy families. The kitchen has become central not only in our homes, but in our home life. We are spending more and more time in the kitchen. It is where we cook, congregate, work, entertain, discuss the day’s events, plan future engagements and pay bills. We also happen to eat in here. Our kitchens are outfitted with music and television sets and this space has become a true living room. Today’s kitchens are larger than those of years past and often have more than one seating area. It is not uncommon to see both an island surrounded with chairs and a separate space large enough to fit a table and several chairs. With two eating areas is there really a need for another?
Many Americans and most Europeans live in homes and apartments too small for separate dining areas. For those residing in apartments, lofts and smaller homes, the kitchen is, once again, the center of the home for entertaining as well as dining purposes. In lofts with open floor plans, large farm tables are often central to the space. Much in the same way a kitchen table has become multi-functional, these have as well, providing hours of family meals, and entertainment as well as a place for homework, crafts and board games.
Expanded spaces and open floor plans are very much in demand these days. Newer homes are built with this thought in mind, and older homes are being reconfigured and redeveloped so that they too can have this open feel. Even small Colonial and Cape style houses can have an open floor plan. As long as weight is redistributed properly, load-bearing walls can easily be removed. For many this is ideal. Not only does this open up the home, making it feel larger, but for those with young families, some feel it’s easier to keep tabs on everyone without having to be in the same room. Homes with open floor plans are hot commodities in the real estate market, in fact, Realtors often promote their listings as having an “open floor plan” to create interest among buyers. This isn’t, however, the case for every home.
With the rising costs of living and a poor economy, many young people cannot afford to live on their home. It is becoming more and more common for today’s youth, after finishing university, to move back home while they look for work and to try to save a little money. In addition to this, as our population ages and is living longer, many elders are moving in with their children as well, making many homes multi-generational and redefining the term modern family. For these families more living space is therefore needed as opposed to the need for a separate dining area.
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