How Kitchens Progressed from Rooms to Prepare Food – To the Social Spaces They are Today

kitchen table

Many years ago, there was a time when kitchens were an afterthought in the grand design of the house. Kitchens were only made for one reason and that is to prepare food. There were no fancy decorations, no matching bar stools, no open plan multipurpose layouts, and no life to kitchens and just a space to cook food. But when we look at the modern kitchens, it’s hard to believe that they take proper attention to the design of the house and allocated a proper budget just like bedrooms.

The Story of the Kitchen: From a Place of Work to a Social Space 

Of course, time changes. In this modern era, everything changed to an advanced level, whether it’s gender roles, technological innovations, urbanization, or globalization. Back in 100 years, kitchens were only utilitarian spaces. They were only existed to cook food and little else. But gratefully, kitchens have evolved too as a space in the family. Our ever-changing lifestyles and innovative kitchen appliances mean our modern kitchens have much more to offer than their original purpose. Now, they are the true reflection of the lives we choose to live in this era. Be it sleek, relaxed, welcoming, or chaotic, our spaces have become much more diverse. So, how have kitchens progressed from rooms to prepare food? How have they moved from a space of work to the social spaces they are today? To better understand this, we need to look at where we have come from.

Kitchen Back in the Years: A Chef’s Place of Work

At the beginning of the 20th century, most upper-class households had servants. Therefore, to keep privacy, most of the kitchens were built as separate rooms. They were used as a service area, specifically designed to be a separate room from the dining and social areas, where servants of the house worked to prepare and cook food.

But, over the years, the increase of middle-class households gradually changed things. Due to the low-income levels, families couldn’t hire servants especially for cooking, therefore, they started preparing and cooking the food themselves. The designs of the kitchens got closer to the main living area of the house, where families started using the kitchen area themselves.

The Open Plan Evolution

Over the years, the layouts of the kitchen begun to get closer to the main living areas of the homes. This makes the kitchens “the heart of the homes”. This evolution set the foundation for totally open plan kitchens as we know and love them today. This not only changed the positions of the kitchens but also changed the social implications as men began to work on more roles that were reserved only for women in the past. 

Cooking became a hobby and a more involved experience than just a physiological need. Preparing and cooking food became a creative outlet that’s becoming popular day by day.

The Influence of Modern Technology

The key factor that changed the lifestyle of human beings is technology. Life was different before the internet and smartphones. But, in the middle of the 20th century, when televisions became popular and most people have televisions in their homes, it was the TV that caused the evolution of the kitchens. It was the TV that showed people that it’s possible to prepare and cook food without having years of experience. Cooking became an art form that is loved by everyone. In this era, there is no one who has not at least tried a recipe seen on television or the internet. We are now spending more time in the kitchens, that’s why we pay more attention to their design and structure.

Advanced Kitchen Tools and Appliances

Just like other technological advancements, kitchen appliances also evolve over time. Now, there are more electrical tools that make everything easier in the kitchens. From microwave ovens to cappuccino makers, our needs and wants have become more complicated and diverse. Our modern kitchens have become the technological hub, filled with a lot of tools and appliances which make our life easier and happier than before.

Kitchen Evolution: To Meet Our Changing Needs

Our lifestyle is changing day by day. People are now more aware of a healthier lifestyle and staying more at their homes. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, they prefer to live in their homes to spend more time with their families. Today, kitchens are not only design to cook meals but are also designed to socialise with family and friends. It is the heart of the home where everyone lives their life happily. Just like our needs changed, there is a change in the cleaning habits of the people as well. They are now better aware of the kitchen cleaning techniques and procedures due to the spread of the internet, they know what should be used to clean kitchen items and what not to use. 

Kitchen: The New Living Room

Kitchens are not only a chef’s place of work now but they are much for living. There was a time when children and teens were told to stay out of the kitchen, only mothers can use the kitchen area, but when we look at the modern era, even children and teens can make a small meal for themselves without the help of their parents. Now, they know how to operate kitchen tools and appliances like how to make a cup of coffee using a coffee maker, how to make a toast with a toaster, how to use an oven, etc. The modern kitchens are designed as living spaces. A lot of research has shown that when a person wanted to buy a house, he inspects the house very carefully, but in the end, he is mostly influenced by the kitchen. While designs of the kitchens vary from person to person, or culture to culture, but one thing is getting popular that kitchens are becoming part of the living rooms. They are getting more attention to decorate by adding different fancy lights, matching bar stools and countertops, stainless steel appliances, etc.  

The kitchens will be going to evolve more in the coming years for sure. There would be better options for cooking, but to date, the kitchen evolution has done great progress from workspaces to social spaces which turn human life more entertaining and exciting.