The History of Kitchen Design: The Evolution of the Kitchen from Primitive to Modern Day
When you think of the word ‘kitchen’, what images come to mind? If your answer is something along the lines of avocado green appliances, old-fashioned wooden cabinetry and tiled walls with floral motifs, then we have some news for you: kitchens haven’t always looked that way. Set in almost every house today is a kitchen — the heart of the home and the place where we spend most of our time. It is where we prepare delicious food for family and guests, entertain friends over dinner and keep our household stocked with fresh groceries. But how has the design of kitchens changed from its primitive origins to modern-day standards? Read on to find out!
The History of the Kitchen
When it comes to the history of the kitchen, one of the first facts to know is that the word ‘kitchen’ actually comes from the word ‘cucina’ — a Latin word that describes a room designated for cooking. The kitchen has been around since the Stone Age, which means it has been a part of human society for a very long time. Archaeologists say the idea of a kitchen was likely sparked by the discovery of fire — a discovery that could be traced back to around 350,000 years ago when man first used fire to make tools. With fire came the cooking of food — and kitchens were created as a place to do this.
What Is a Primitive Kitchen?
When you think of a primitive kitchen, what do you imagine it to look like? If you’re anything like us, you might have visions of a stone-walled kitchen with a fireplace, pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, and stone tools sitting on the table. These kinds of kitchens existed in ancient times, especially in areas like Europe and Asia where people cooked on open fires. Some primitive kitchens also included a stone oven, and food was often cooked directly on the floor.
While these are the kinds of kitchens we associate with the Stone Age, the truth is that even before the Iron Age, primitive kitchens existed. Ancient kitchens were often found in the basement of the house — a place where people lived and worked together. The main cooking tool in ancient kitchens was a pot that was placed over a fire. Food was cooked directly on the floor in a hole in the ground.
18th Century Kitchens: From Dark to Light
During the 18th century, kitchens in Europe underwent a transformation. This was due to the discovery of gas. Up until this point, kitchens were dark, dingy and cramped — a far cry from the light and spacious kitchens we enjoy today. Kitchens at this time were separated from the rest of the house, and were designed to be as functional as possible — with little to no decoration.
Victorian Kitchens: From Ornate to Functional
Victorian kitchens were a bit of a pendulum swing from 18th century kitchens. What was once a very functional room for food preparation now had more prominence. Victorian kitchens were ornate, featuring decorative wall tiles, fancy stoves, and glass-fronted cabinets. Victorian kitchens were also used for entertaining guests — something that wasn’t really done in 18th century kitchens. Victorian kitchens were primarily fueled by coal, although some did have stoves powered by gas.
20th Century Kitchens: Appliances Take Center Stage
The 20th century brought a new kind of kitchen — one that focused heavily on the appliances. This was due to the rise of electricity, which made it easier to power appliances. In the 1900s, refrigerators, dishwashers, and garbage disposals were invented, which meant kitchens were now focused around these appliances. Stovetops were still in use, but they were quite primitive compared to the ones that are used today. In the 1960s and 1970s, kitchens had a bit of a revival. They became lighter, more spacious, and more open — the complete opposite of Victorian kitchens. They were also designed to be very accessible, meaning homeowners could easily reach everything in the kitchen.
21st Century Kitchen: A Summing Up
Now that we’ve gone over the history of kitchen design, let’s look towards the future of kitchens. With the rise of the Internet of Things, we can expect smart appliances to be even more integrated with our everyday lives. And as we become more environmentally conscious, eco-friendly materials are expected to become more prominent in the kitchen. From stone to electricity and everything in between, kitchens have come a long way. It will be exciting to see what the future has in store for them!