Hanging out around the kitchen table is one of the most pleasurable parts of the day. Positioning a dining table set is all about creating a space where people want to sit, chat, work, and generally enjoy the buzz of the kitchen. So we’ve come up with some kitchen diner ideas that offer more just than somewhere to cram in your morning toast – we’re going to show you how to create the social hub of your home.
Space – most of us wish we had a bit more of it. If you’re lucky enough to have an enormous kitchen then picking the right spot for the dining set is more a question of taste than practicality. But even if your room won’t accommodate a banqueting table, there are a few tricks that will let you throw a dinner party without dining furniture taking over your life.
An extending table is the superhero of flexible dining. Because it can shrink, you can put it in a more prominent position in the room without it being overwhelming, and when a big Sunday lunch comes up, just drop in the extra leaves, and watch aunts and uncles marvel at the elbow room.
If your layout is open-plan, positioning the dining table between the cooking and lounge spaces creates a natural transition from the frenetic kitchen to the chilled-out sofas.
If your room’s small, and there’s no place for a table other than in the corner, make that corner the cosiest place to be. A cute bar table with some padded stools, or a small table and a corner bench stuffed with fluffy cushions, will have everyone fighting to sit there.
The shape of your room and table will influence how best to position your dining area. The most efficient use of space is to mirror the shape of the room. A squarish area lends itself to round and square tables, while a long, rectangular space is perfect for oval shapes and refectory style dining.
In a well proportioned room, the lines of the table should ideally follow the lines of the walls and other furniture, but in uncomfortably long or boxy rooms, a circular table will help break up awkward spaces and soften the look.
Your cooking and eating style is an important factor in the kind of dining area you’ll want to create. If you’re the stove-to-table type, who likes to pop a one-pot-wonder down for everyone to help themselves, then it makes sense to position the table within easy reach of the cooker.
If you like to plate up on the counter and lay the table for every meal, then having the table closer to crockery cabinets or a dresser will make setting up easier and give the dining space a more sophisticated feel.
Natural and electric light are also important deciding factors in positioning your dining table set. Ideally a table should be centred in front of a light source such as a window, but if that’s not possible, a big mirror mounted in place of a window will reflect natural light and give a sense of space.
When it comes to electric lighting, again, centring the table under a light source such as a pendant lamp, or row of pendant lamps if you have a rectangular table, makes it feel like it belongs there.
The type of seating you pick for your table will have an impact as well. Benches are great along a wall, and their low profile makes the room look more spacious. You can also hop on and off a bench without moving anything, which gives bench seating a casual, easy-going feel. A couple of sheepskins thrown over will keep bottoms warm and comfortable.
Upholstered chairs need more room to breathe, but their comfort, and the fact you have to pull them out and tuck them in, encourages people to sit at the table for longer.
In tight spaces, swapping a couple of chairs for stools that can tuck away under the table, or a narrow bench that people can squeeze up on will give you extra wiggle room.
If you’re sick of having your back turned to the rest of the room while you’re making dinner, a free standing kitchen trolley is a great way to do the veg prep and join in the conversation.
Having the lighting in the kitchen on dimmer switches and investing in some lamps is a must for creating a cosy evening atmosphere.
An ornate trivet in the centre of the table makes stove-to-table meals seamless and looks great with a vase of flowers on too.
Taking the time to light a candle or two makes every dinner feel a little bit special.
A pretty vase with rosemary, mint, parsley, and other pungent herbs makes a fragrant table centrepiece that also comes in handy when you’re cooking.