Kitchen at Front of House – When Does It Make Sense?

Updated: | Author: Brad Javernick | Affiliate links may be present.

Previously thought of as a regional quirk, front-facing kitchens are becoming more commonplace, especially as the open-concept building design is becoming the new normal. There are a lot of reasons why a house may be built with a kitchen in the front of the house.

There is no hard-and-fast rule for where to place a kitchen in your house. Sometimes it makes more sense in order to utilize the square footage more efficiently. Other times, it is built that way solely because the homeowner prefers it.

Reasons for a Front of the House Kitchen

Several factors are weighed when deciding the general layout of a home – things such as guest traffic, electrical wires, and in some cases a chimney. Some homeowners prefer a front-of-house kitchen for various reasons.

Making the Most out of Smaller Spaces

Tiny houses are sweeping the nation, at least that’s what I’ve been told. Regardless of if the house in question is a certified tiny house, some homes just have a smaller square footage to work with than others.

The reason why open-concept designs are so popular is that they make smaller spaces look and feel larger. Having the dining room and kitchen blend into each without a wall in between can be more efficient, especially if you are entertaining guests frequently.

The trade-off for this is that your kitchen becomes immediately visible to your guests as soon as they walk in the door, especially if other areas of the home are missing – such as a hallway or foyer.

Location of the Driveway

My mother-in-law used to have a beautiful farmhouse on 14 acres in the middle of the midwest cornfields. Her front door led right into her kitchen, between two countertops.

This made sense to her because she spent the majority of her time in the kitchen, and the kitchen window gave her a clear view of the driveway so she could easily see who was making their way towards her house.

As a bonus, it made unloading her groceries a breeze since they could go straight from the trunk to the kitchen.

If you happen to purchase a house with a kitchen facing the driveway, it was more than likely built that way on purpose. Take advantage of your new vantage point!

Location of the Yard

The kitchen windows in modern houses usually face a front yard or side yard of some kind. Though there is no general consensus on why they were designed this way, it is informally thought to be so that parents could watch their kids play in the yard while they were in the kitchen.

Though this makes the most sense if you have a large backyard, some homes utilize their front yard as their green space. Following this line of thought, a kitchen facing the front of the house would be more useful if the kids play in the street or the front yard.

Order of Formality

I touched on this earlier, but I wanted to clarify what “order of formality” actually means.

It is the generally accepted rule that upon entering a house, guests should be greeted with an aesthetically pleasing entryway. This could mean a hallway with family photos on display or a foyer with a place for their coats and shoes.

As you make your way further back into the house, the room order decreases from “most formal to least formal”. So you would have your entryway, then your dining area, then the living room or den, and lastly would be the kitchen and the bedrooms.

While there is nothing wrong with this particular layout, it hearkens to a time when guests visiting meant that you had to “show off” your humble abode.

Thankfully, this way of thinking is starting to fall by the wayside and homeowners are beginning to build houses that fit their personal needs and not the needs of their guests.

Strictly Preference

No matter who built (or will build) the house, a kitchen near or at the front of your house is sometimes strictly a preference of the builders.

When you take into account the plethora of reasons for building a home this way – kids, driveway, landscape, square footage, etc. – there is virtually no downside.

At the end of the day, it does not hurt the value or appeal of a house. It is honestly almost a non-issue.

Final Thoughts

Even though a kitchen being near the front of the house may be considered “unusual”, it’s still very functional for the home builders who chose to make it that way.

Instead of worrying about the strange placement, focus on the beneficial aspects of having a kitchen facing the front of your house. All that matters is that the homeowners are happy, and you will be too once you realize the potential of your front-of-house kitchen.

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About Brad Javernick

Brad is a licensed home inspector and the editor of Home Oomph. He's a massive DIYer, and loves to take on new home renovation projects!

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