A space for sharing meals, swapping stories, and gathering for intimate conversation is part of what makes a house a home. But what if your floor plan doesn’t include a formal dining room? You may want to consider converting your kitchen space into a dining area. Even if you’re working with a finite amount of area, there are tips and tricks you can employ to create a cozy space for friends and family to eat without the luxury of a large, standalone dining room.
What can an eat-in kitchen do for your mealtime routine? The sheer convenience of converting your kitchen into a smart dining space can streamline the act of serving and eating. As Shirley Zeitlin, president of a Nashville-based realty company, told This Old House: “These days, people are busier and more rushed. Eat-in kitchens respond to the needs of that lifestyle. They allow a family to be together while meals are cooked and served, instead of being split into two or more rooms.”
Bringing your prep space together with your dining space can provide a fresh opportunity to hone in on your design scheme and introduce exciting new elements into the mix. Keep reading to learn more about converting your kitchen space into a functional, visually striking area to eat, drink, and be merry.
Play with Shapes
A large, rectangular dining room table that seats eight people probably won’t fit in an eat-in kitchen. Choosing a table that’s too large will impede maneuverability and make it hard for family and friends to move freely around your kitchen. Start by measuring your available space.
The experts at HGTV recommend trying to leave 48 inches of walking space around your table. You may need to downsize the table if necessary, though dipping below 30 inches across can lead to cramped quarters. Round and square surfaces may suit your space better than a bulky rectangle, and you can even consider a drop-leaf table that offers extensions to accommodate guests but then fold into a conveniently small shape when not in use.
Throw out your preconceived notions of formal, matching dining room seating sets. Establishing a space to dine in your kitchen means getting creative and taking some fun chances on new kinds of seating. The key is to look for ergonomic options that contribute to your design scheme.
Have you considered the finer points of opting for booths, banquettes, stools, or benches? Designer Angela Bonfante fit an L-shaped banquette into the corner of an eat-in kitchen that offered just 120 square feet of space with six openings. As she told HGTV, “Small spaces can be both functional and fun. It just takes some ingenuity!”
Lighting allows you to express your style and compose your desired atmosphere without taking up additional space. This is an area where you can make your dining area shine—literally! Kitchen chandeliers span the entire spectrum of designs, from cutting-edge modern features to classically styled fixtures.
Better Homes & Gardens brings up a good rule of thumb for your kitchen: always incorporate task lighting over important surfaces, like your island or dining table. Aim to hang these fixtures about 30 inches above the surface for ideal illumination.
Making use of your kitchen as a dining space is an excellent way to take advantage of every square foot that your home offers. The often casual, comfortable feeling of an eat-in kitchen provides the perfect canvas for ambitious homeowners to experiment with design and function.
Once you make careful note of the measurements of your new dining space, you’re free to play with shapes, materials, and design schemes to create a welcoming hub that’s all your own.