Modern housing techniques dictate that homeowners save on costs during the construction process
Some people do this by reducing the number of walls to be erected by adopting concepts like the open plan sitting and dining rooms.
There are others who take it a step further by combining the sitting and dining areas with a kitchen to save space and cut costs of building materials. Jolly Namutebi, an architect says, “If you are building on a tight budget, combining the two rooms provides a much cheaper option.”
Many people are also returning to the basics of two bedrooms, a sitting and dining room combined, kitchen, as well as bathroom and toilet combined, to save money. Peter Wasswa, a construction engineer, says the dining room is usually used only during mealtimes. But due to space constraints, the dining room has become an endangered concept as people opt for smaller spaces and more informal lifestyles.
“In some suburban homes, the living areas are designed as an open plan. In an apartment, keeping pocket doors wide open creates free flow between rooms,” he explains.
David Kireli a civil engineer says a standard room is often a square of about 4×4 metres, with the bigger ones being 6×6 metres or more. Often, the bigger the room, the higher the roof. “One can have rooms of 10×10 metres, but such the height should never be the same as the one of 4×4 metres, unless there is shoddy work done somewhere,” Kireli says.
Why the merger
Kireli says merging the dining and sitting rooms is the best option for a middle-income individual intending to build a home, although most people prefer to have them separated.
Merging the sitting and dining rooms cut costs of interior décor in terms of furnishing, painting and carpeting. Alice Nalule, a resident of Matugga in Wakiso district says the open plan worked for her because it allows a better air circulation.
“I had the money to go for separate rooms, but opted for a merger.” Merging also results into installing fewer sockets, switches and bulbs because you light both rooms at a go.
Wasswa says combining sitting and dining rooms also has a challenge of separating activities that should be taking place in different locations. For example if some family members want to dine while others are entertaining visitors or watching TV, it could be an inconvenience.
With separate spaces, it is easy to do two separate activities. “In the traditional setting, the dining shares a window with a kitchen to allow easy transfer of food,” he says. He also says if the dining, sitting room and kitchen are combined, it is harder to control aromas from the kitchen wafting into the living areas. It might also make it harder to check soot and dirt from the kitchen reaching the sitting room.