The most fundamental shift in home design over the past decade has been the open concept kitchen. And with it comes the open dining concept, where the dining room is located right off the kitchen and living room. It's hardly surprising that this would become commonplace, given that a closed kitchen puts up a barrier to conversations with family and friends and made it difficult to entertain the guests - notwithstanding the fact that spaces in Singapore has become much smaller these days. Integrating the kitchen into other areas of the house immediately expands the visual sense of space. The recent study on BTO flats, showing that more new home owners prefer an open kitchen, supports that fact.
Cooking in the open also represents a major change in the lifestyle and acceptance level of home dwellers. It is unheard of just about a decade or two ago to remove the walls to a kitchen. Many think of it more as a typical room than just a forgotten corner hidden at the back of the house for preparing food. The open kitchen of today serves as a spot where one shows off his or her culinary skills, a casual dining space for quick meals or even contains an integrated library to display a personal collection of recipe books.
Nevertheless, there will still be people who are concerned about issues that rises from an open kitchen, particularly smell (from cooking) penetrating the rooms and the clutter that comes with food preparation. But given the fact that there is an increasing number of people who eat out or don't do heavy cooking most of the time, these factors do not seem strong enough a deterrent. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops over the next few years though.