Passed-down family recipes, a first cooking lesson, our mother cooking our favourite dishes – these are the things that make a kitchen the heart of the home.
We all know the phrase ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,’ so naturally, a household kitchen was the heart of the home as that was where the preparation and cooking of hearty meals took place. Over the past few decades, however, the kitchen has developed greatly into the social hub of the home, becoming its heart in the more literal sense.
Have you ever stopped and wondered why this is? Why the kitchen is such an integral part of the household and continued to stay this way for all these years? Whether you have or not, if you look at how kitchens have slowly morphed over time, you can see how they have changed in both design and function, yet remain essential.
The Transitional History of the Kitchen
Prior to and during the beginning of the 70s, kitchens were purely for function. They were small, kept away and reserved for creating masterpieces such as colourful vol-au-vents and elegant prawn cocktails, all away from the prying eyes of guests. Have you seen the retro serving hatch? The perfect tool for the grand reveal!
Coming into the 70s however, began the infancy of the modern kitchen we know today. Kitchens saw a slight increase in size, bolder colours and disco decor was beginning to be introduced into the theme, and new appliances such as the brand new two-slice toaster made for a great conversational piece to invite some friends over!
The 80s saw the beginnings of the revolt against small kitchens! People no longer wanted to be confined to the kitchen while the rest of the party took place in the dining room, so this decade saw the transition of cooking from necessity to social activity. Naturally, the desire to be more social gave birth to the open-plan trend!
An integral part of 80s kitchens were breakfast bars and dining tables that were statement pieces of the décor du jour. Family and friends would perch on bar stools complete with a Singapore sling or blue lagoon, and slowly but surely, the kitchen began to develop into the social hub of the home.
The 90s, Noughties and Beyond
Diving into the 90s and the noughties, people fully embraced the developing role of the kitchen. This one room soon began to wear many hats becoming the place for gossiping with friends, a place to teach and entertain our children, to work, pay the bills and of course, a place to create new family dishes and enjoy good food with friends.
These most recent decades have seen a complete facelift of the kitchen. Now a large open space full of neutral colours, modern cupboards and worktops, and an abundance of storage space, the kitchen has become the most desirable room in the home. In fact, a modern kitchen is a key selling point of new homes today and can often be the deciding factor of a purchase. With potential buyers imagining themselves spending hours in this one room, socialising and making memories, it’s no wonder why kitchens have become such a prime part of the house.
So Why the Change?
Over the years we have embraced the diverse uses that the kitchen offers and this has led to a completely different dining experience. Nowadays, our attitude to dining is more relaxed, our need to socialise has increased, and so we’ve combined them to create a ‘super space’ where all of our needs can be satisfied at once. The change can also be put down to the fact that our love for good food has grown. More and more of us are getting involved with cooking and are willing to experiment, and where better to do that than in a communal space together?
Another major factor in the development of the kitchen is modern life. Life is busy and chaotic and the time pressures of the day make an easy house flow a big desire. By combining the two most time-consuming parts of our day together, it’s no wonder why the kitchen became such a multi-purpose room for all of us to spend most of our time in.
So what do you think? Is the kitchen the heart of your home? It may be the place where you’ll find all the food and drink you’ll ever want, but it is the memories you make in them that make this room so many things to so many people.