5. Separate kitchen and living room: advantages and disadvantages
Completely different from the choice of the open space, the physical subdivision of the rooms through wall elements constitutes a more traditional alternative. It is a solution that appears to be less flexible but at the same time more recurrent. Of course it depends on the needs, habits and inclination of the client who will be the only one able to fully understand his needs.
In this case, the kitchen, dining room and living room represent three distinct environments but sometimes the kitchen can merge with the dining room. This is because in practical terms cooking and dining are two functions closely related to each other and often present in a single area.
The living room area, on the other hand, is clearly separated for a matter of order and decoration, away from unpleasant smells and chaos. However, this aspect is also changing as the living room increasingly moves away from the idea of an internal and preserved environment for guests, in favor of a place lived daily by the family.
As in any decision, it is necessary to be aware that there will be advantages but also disadvantages. If on the one hand the rooms are practical and divided according to function, on the other the perception of space will be reduced. Furthermore, the walls tend to close and clearly and severely delimit the environment; in this regard, today they are often interpreted as a starting point to create original corners enriched with wallpaper inserts (there are infinite types with more original graphics and colors) or with elements that make them real equipped walls. It's about exploiting surfaces in a new and creative way.
6. Project choices: some useful rules
But now let's analyze each environment trying to outline some practical tips.
It has always been and will always be the environment most experienced by its users; big or small, the kitchen is a place where meals are prepared, where you can give free rein to your culinary passions and a space where you really feel at home. If you have a living room entrance on the kitchen it is good use to place it in a more collected area and perhaps sandwich it by a hallway that acts as a filter with respect to the outside. Once the position has been defined, it is necessary to choose the best components of the kitchen to ensure comfort and correct ergonomics.
Ergonomics is the discipline that deals with calculating the relationship between the conformation of spaces and human dimensions in order to guarantee psycho-physical well-being and the correct performance of the work.
As far as the kitchen environment is concerned, the primary need is to enjoy a practical and comfortable space since it is a real workplace as well as a domestic hub. For this reason, the password is functionality above all.
There are some useful parameters to follow even if not absolute, as the environment and its furnishings must be modeled on the needs of the users. The usual commercially available kitchens consist of standard modules that can be assembled according to the case. These are elements measured on multiples of 15 cm but if you have particular constraints and need custom-made furnishings, the manufacturing companies respond to specific needs.
The standard height of the various compositions can be calculated by adding the measure of: base, door and worktop. Depending on the material and the solutions chosen, the sum may vary but the usual size is 10 + 70 + 5.
This measure is often calibrated on the height of the users to allow them to use them comfortably and thought "ad personam".
Given that the kitchen environment, in addition to being one of the most lived in the house, is modeled on the principle of functionality, it is necessary to pay close attention to the depth of furniture and shelves. In addition to being useful for preparing food, the work surface can be used as a temporary support for dishes and kitchen tools. The standard size is 60 cm, in fact built-in appliances are produced by the companies on this one, but also in this case specific variations are allowed. The island and peninsula solutions are also very popular, but having larger dimensions (usually 80-90 cm), they adapt to larger rooms. As for the wall units hanging on the wall, they will have to be less depth than the base, so as not to hinder the movements and be used easily. In the case of small dimensions, it will be useful to opt for smaller modules and single sinks so as not to sacrifice too much space on stoves and shelves.
It is necessary to maintain some distances between the various components of the kitchen; also in this case they can vary but less than the measures of the single elements. Depending on the specific choice of the bases, the suspended wall units will be directly proportional to them.
An element that must follow standard specifications is the hood; it must be at a minimum distance from the stove without exceeding to avoid the lack of absorption of the vapors. Usually it is fixed at 50-60 cm distance from the base.
As for drawers, appliances and doors, everything must be within reach, comfortable and tidy, in order to facilitate movements often taken for granted but necessary to better enjoy everyday life.
Freedom of movement and accessibility are at the basis of a successful choice; if the modules are spacious and few, there will be a better aesthetic result.
The functions linked together must be distributed in a coherent way: the dish drainer above the sink, the dishwasher not far from it, the drawers with pots near the stove near the pantry.
All the modules chosen must be equipped with amortized guides and functional details, for this reason it is necessary to pay attention also to the materials you choose. The handles are better if they are made of metal, at the expense of plastic and porcelain, while the other fragile ones are not very durable.
And still the kitchen top, better in granite or laminate, more resistant and water-repellent. Furthermore, to be functional, a kitchen must be equipped with all those tools that facilitate the rapid development of activities. Containers and compartments will be needed for the arrangement of crockery and textile accessories inside the drawers, while the pots and pans will be better accommodated by the more capacious bases.
Finally, the space under the sink can be used to place buckets and rubbish, together with detergents and cleaning products.
As already mentioned, the environment must be correctly illuminated; in the case of the kitchen, a diffused light strengthened by point light sources oriented towards worktops and stoves is recommended. Furthermore, the use of natural light is fundamental and in this regard, where possible, it is recommended to place the worktops near the window. Otherwise, the light points positioned under the upper wall units will be very effective.
During the design phase, it is necessary to pay close attention to avoid the presence of residual spaces that are often too small to be exploited. They collect dust and are difficult to keep clean.
Of course, the choice of the kitchen must be made keeping in mind many factors, not least the aesthetic one since the environment must be stylistically coherent with the rest of the house and must meet the taste of the user.
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