I have an amusing personal story about in-kitchen dining. You see, we have a very nice antique dining table with a set of 6 spectacular dining chairs that are extremely comfortable.
They are so comfortable that when we host dinners, we seldom venture to the living room instead spending the evening in the uber comfortable dining room chairs.
When we moved into our current home, it has a formal dining room off the kitchen along with a kitchen table area. The kitchen table area is pretty small, but it’s within the kitchen so it’s convenient for setting. It sits next to a bay window so it’s picturesque.
Anyway, the amusing part, for which I’m still teased by my wife, is that before moving in I speculated that we’d not use the kitchen dining area and instead would eat in the formal dining room most nights. My thinking was because the dining room was more spacious and much more comfortable.
Of course, things just kinda happen and with 2 young kids (one in a high chair at the time), it was far more convenient to eat most meals at our small kitchen table even though it’s not as spacious or comfortable.
Sometimes you really never know how you’re going to use a new home.
While there’s not much a point to this story, one minor take-away is that as far as I’m now concerned, in-kitchen dining tables are very convenient even if you have a formal dining room.
Hence we put together this huge gallery featuring kitchens with dining tables and chairs. Enjoy.
You can click the images to enlarge them.
Is having two dining areas a waste of space?
My wife is of the view that having two dining areas is a complete waste of space. I’m not quite as convinced as her, but I do see her point.
These days with the growing popularity of open concept homes, more and more people have just one main dining space. We have friends who renovated a post-and-beam home and built one large dining area that serves as both casual and more formal occasions. It’s spectacular because there’s loads of space within the open concept living area. The table seats at least 10, but it doesn’t seem too big for just their family of five because it’s in a large, open living space.
I think if you create a large, rather nice dining area with a large table that can at a minimum seat 6 and preferably 8 people, you don’t need a separate formal dining room.
A compelling argument for one dining area is you get one fabulous dining area and get more space for your kitchen. Small in-kitchen dining tables and chairs do take up a lot of kitchen space that could be used for more counterspace. Check out these kitchen dining nooks, and while they’re awesome looking, they do take up a lot of kitchen space.
An alternative kitchen dining arrangement
Many current kitchen designs are not putting in small dining tables and instead have one large dining area along with a breakfast bar style dining area – stools along the island or peninsula. The breakfast bar offers a casual, convenient dining area for those quick meals such as breakfasts and lunches. You’ll see many kitchens with this design in our kitchen gallery.
Kitchen Tables Can Be Big
Above I discussed how you can have one dining area that’s a large dining table able to accommodate 8 plus people. Well, if you have the kitchen space, you can incorporate your main dining table, even if large, in your kitchen. This combined with a breakfast bar creates a dining-friendly kitchen.
Accordingly, our kitchen photo gallery with kitchen tables showcases examples with small dining tables and the more expansive kitchens with large dining tables.
We update our kitchen galleries frequently, so bookmark or take note of this URL and check it again in a few weeks as we constantly add new designs weekly.
Pros and Cons
- Convenient: It’s very convenient to have a small dining area (or large one) in your kitchen. It can be a lot more work to set and clean a table in a formal dining room outside the kitchen.
- Comfortable: If you get a large enough table with comfortable chairs, it can be more comfortable than a breakfast bar or ill-fitting dining nook.
- Let kids destroy it without you worrying about: Instead of your kids staining, scratching and pretty much destroying your dining room table, chairs and room, get an inexpensive in-kitchen dining table and chairs with young kids so you don’t worry about them destroying everything. I can tell you firsthand that kids are very rough day-in and day-out on dining tables, chairs and spaces. The spills… uuugh, the spills and stains. It’s to the point I dine with a wet rag nearby because inevitably something will spill.
Funny story: Our oldest is in kindergarten. He has a young friend who obviously has parents with a good sense of humor. One day our son’s friend showed up to school with a shirt that said “I’m the reason we don’t have nice stuff.” Hilarious and it’s a good thing he can’t read it yet.
Inefficient: If you have both in-kitchen dining area and a separate dining room, it can be a waste of space. You may be better to create a much larger in-kitchen dining area and getting rid of the dining room or vice versa. While you’re at it, you can expand your kitchen into something spectacular.
Aside from being inefficient, there really isn’t any con. BUT, the inefficient con is considerable because you really need to ask yourself if you need both in-kitchen dining along with a formal dining room.
Kitchen Seating Design & Features
If planning a kitchen today, I think it’s a good idea to include some form of in-kitchen seating/dining placement. There are 4 ways to go about this.
Kitchen island: The island can be one level or two levels. If two levels, it can be an elevated counter or lower dining table. Some large kitchens have two islands with one dedicated for eating/guests.
Peninsula counter: Generally, peninsulas with an eat-in counter is designed with an elevated counter lined with stools.
In-kitchen dining table: This would be in an open concept or partially open concept kitchen with dining space. Moreover, the table and chairs can be inside the kitchen or outside of the kitchen area, but in the same room.
Not only do these features offer in-kitchen dining which can be convenient, but they also offer places for guests and/or family to sit and converse with the cook(s).
If building a custom island is out of the question, consider buying a portable kitchen island or cart.
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