Part 2: The kitchen and the dining room

In the last article, we talked about the living room in a Chinese apartment/house, which is the center of the home.

We know from various studies that the kitchen is the center of the house in the Western world. In China, however, the kitchen is a functional area, as only the cooking process takes place there.


A Chinese kitchen has several different characteristics compared to a Western kitchen:

  • It is often a small area, even in apartments over 100 sqm. It is a functional area, just for cooking.

Check out this video of a 326 sqm apartment in Shanghai, kitchen part starting at 00:30 min.:

  • Chinese people use a lot of extra small devices to assist the cooking process, such as a rice cooker, a steamer, an air fryer, etc because they need all the cooking tops (normally 2) to prepare other ingredients. The limited amount of cooking tops combined with the little space in the kitchen leaves them with no other option but to bring more small devices into the kitchen to stay flexible.
  • It is a closed area to block the smoke and smell in the kitchen, often with a glass sliding door. Glass is used to avoid the feeling of isolation and also makes the area look bigger. Sliding doors are being used instead of regular doors due to the lack of space.

Check out “No. 3” in this article to see a picture of a glass sliding door:

  • Open kitchens also exists, but we know from our interviews that people in other rooms suffer from the smoke and smell while cooking.

The fourth picture shows an open space kitchen (click the green bar below to unfold the post):

  • For having meals, there is a separate dining room, where the table and chairs stand. The dining room often has a counter for preparing teas and drinks and is usually an extension of the living room.

The second picture of this post serves as an example:

In the next article, we will talk about the bedroom and the children's room.


Spiegel Institut conducts international consumer research studies, offering insights into the cultural and social background information for a better understanding of the consumer’s mindset. Feel free to contact us for cooperation:


Author: Yue Liu, Spiegel Institut Mannheim

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