The kitchen: its true size is in the planning
The average kitchen in Germany still measures about 13 square metres. Like the Frankfurt kitchen in the past, the kitchen has for decades - both in apartment blocks and in houses - mainly been regarded as merely a functional space for a specific purpose.
In attic flats, urban apartments and traditional tenements, the kitchen, dining room and living room are often separate spaces, with the kitchen quite often being the smallest room of all. Planners have to create an optimum layout for the users in an area of 10 to 13 square metres.
Just under ten and packing a lot in
For self-contained kitchen areas a U-shaped layout is one of the best ways of making maximum use of space. Neutral or light-coloured furniture makes the room look bigger. Colour, selectively used, adds a certain structure and freshness to the overall effect. Small kitchens become cosy cooking areas - handleless and elegant, modern, uncomplicated and highly individual. Dead corners are avoided.
There are more and more single households. Whereas the average household in the 1970s consisted of 2.74 people, 20 years later that number was just under two. And 40 per cent of households have only one person living in them. This is accompanied by a trend towards one-room or micro apartments between 19 and 25 square metres in size. Here, the challenge is to adapt the kitchen design and function harmoniously to the space and the rest of the interior.
Island kitchens, size not an issue
Not until new lifestyle patterns began to emerge in the 1980s, characterised by a different family model, unmarried couples living together, groups of people sharing flats and single households, did living habits and thus kitchen usage habits start to change.
The kitchen has increasingly become the centre of the home, and that is still impacting upon conventional kitchen planning today. Kitchens are bigger, at between 13 and 15 square metres, allowing not only an island solution but also a dining area to be integrated.
No matter how many square metres an apartment has, open-plan living space solutions are becoming ever commoner. Whether it’s fluid transitions between kitchen and dining area or even extending into the living area, modern openness is growing in popularity. That applies to smaller spaces as well, by the way, one reason being that living space is becoming increasingly expensive.
By 2012, according to the results of an Emnid study, 27 per cent of households in Germany already had an open-plan kitchen. Today, that trend can be estimated to have reached a figure of about 40 per cent. No reliable market data are available. However, various prefabricated house builders indicate that one house in two nowadays has an open-style kitchen solution leading into the living room. The absence of partition walls or the use of glass makes rooms bigger and airier and allows totally new approaches to furniture. With the huge range of interior design options provided by the German kitchen furniture industry, smart domestic appliances and creative kitchen planners, fluid transitions between the individual living areas and their furnishing and fittings can be designed without any problems.