Amid a pandemic, the kitchen has become a safe space

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Amid a pandemic, the kitchen has become a safe space

Swedish furniture giant Ikea announces late last month that it would provide kitchen installation services in the Korean market. [IKEA]

Swedish furniture giant Ikea announces late last month that it would provide kitchen installation services in the Korean market. [IKEA]

 
Swedish furniture juggernaut Ikea announced late last month that it would provide a kitchen installation service by teaming up with local home décor application Today House.
 
Ikea sells various kitchen furniture and accessories such as knobs, taps and worktops, but for those who can't tell the difference between nails and screws, assembling is the hardest part.
 
Ikea’s kitchen installation service targets people who just want the end products.
 
Customers first need to browse kitchen furniture and goods through the smartphone application for Today House, and then they can get a consultation with Ikea staff members. Payment comes next and then your kitchen is built by technicians.
 
The local home décor company apart:mentary also launched three different types of kitchen installation products earlier this month, and it is getting rave reviews for those looking to refurbish their kitchens.
 
Hanssem, the country’s largest furniture company, opened a store called “Kitchen & Bath” on Aug. 15 in Gwanggyo, Gyeonggi. The store displays everything you might need for your kitchen or bathroom.
 
The home décor and furnishing industries have been thriving since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
 
Living in the so-called “untact” era, people are encouraged to stay at home and spaces, like the kitchen, are being rediscovered.
 
According to Hanssem, the company saw a whopping 50 percent increase in sales of kitchen furniture in August compared to the previous year. 
 
This can be attributed to more and more consumers remodeling their kitchens as they spend their days at home. 
 
Of all the kitchen furniture products Hanssem offers, the rock-bottom line is especially popular. The company saw a 100 percent sales increase of the inexpensive line every month during the first quarter of this year.
 
Park Dong-hee, a manager at the business development team of Today House, said, “These days, the kitchen is considered the space for entertainment.”
 
She continued, “Young people in their 20s and 30s including single households are highly interested in cooking and mukbangs [eating shows], and they have this desire to improve their kitchens.”
 
Today House lists various home décor ideas, but the company is especially focused on kitchens.
 
In July, the company launched a service called Today House Designer Kitchen, which enables its application users to browse products of small and private-owned home décor companies. Its services and products are cheaper than those provided by major home décor companies, and Today House provides warranties and guarantees the quality of the kitchen furniture.
 
Apart:mentary also cites the kitchen as the "it" space of the home after analyzing home trends for the year.  
 
The living room or master bedroom were considered the highlight spaces in the past, but apart:mentary sees the kitchen as the most important space of today’s home.
 
This trend is evident from brand-new apartment buildings these days.
 
The kitchen and the living room are not divided, but connected. Sometimes, the U-shaped kitchen is adopted instead of L-shaped or single-walled kitchens, so that a person cooking can communicate with the rest of the family in the living room.  
 
While the outbreak of the coronavirus can be seen as one reason for an increasing number of people who wish to remodel their kitchens, another reason is that remodeling a kitchen is cost-effective and can be done quickly. Unlike other remodeling projects, a kitchen remodel can be completed within half a day.
  
Wood finishes are popular nowadays. [APART:MENTARY]

Wood finishes are popular nowadays. [APART:MENTARY]

 
Kitchen spaces are also becoming more unique and taking a step away from the cookie-cutter spaces of the past.
 
Park from Today House said, “Some people install shelves instead of having cupboards. Or they try some new materials they never used before such as wood or stainless steel instead of artificial marble for worktops.”
 
Kitchen furniture used to be either white or gray, but now more bold colors like green are used.
 
With an increase in the usage of small appliances like blenders, air fryers and coffee machines, specially designed pantries are preferred to store all these gadgets.
 
Materials that are close to nature are popular, too.
 
Yoon So-yeon, the head of apart:mentary, said, “Once there was a time when all the customers chose high-gloss [cabinets] over wood, but now they are returning to wood.”
 
BY YOO JI-YOEN   [kjdculture@joongang.co.kr]  
 
 
 
 

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