Monday 4 February 2013

Kitchen/Diners: Do They Work?

What is it that they say? Different strokes for different folks? And never has that been truer than when it comes to dining arrangements. Today's line-up feels very informal and very chilled, with the kitchen in full view.

These have obviously been perfectly tidied (and very gorgeous they look too) but just imagine having friends round for dinner. Could you sit there, tucking into your yummy pudding, in full view of your dirty pots and pans?

I'm just not sure that I could. 

This kind of table is just perfect for coffee with your best friends, or children painting, or neighbours popping in....but not, not, not for fine dining.

The only way I can see it working is by having some kind of captain's table/breakfast bar raised-affair between the hard-working parts of the kitchen and where you might be sitting, so that you'd be shielded from the worst of the cooking chaos.

I'm aware, though, that lots of people love this arrangement. 
Have you found this to work well in your home?

Images via: Decorator's Notebook, Farrow and Ball, Katrin Cargill, unknown


  1. This is a great topic. Our current home has a separate dining room, in an L-shape off the living room, with a separate smaller dining area in the kitchen. I like it that way for the reasons you've listed - fine dining away from all the pots and pans. It also allows for conversation to continue at the table while the cook is using an electrical appliance to whip the cream or make some other element of the meal.

    However, in a previous home, we went with the open concept where the kitchen was quite exposed to the dining and living areas. I liked that, too, but when we renovated, I made certain that the divider between the kitchen and dining area was high enough to hide the counters.

  2. Lorrie, you sound as though you have the best of all worlds, you lucky thing! And that's a great point about the noise of cooking gadgets. My Kenwood Chef is completely fab but not really conducive to casual chit-chat!


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  4. Ah. that is the question...
    I have an eat in kitchen.
    when we were house hunting for our family 17 years ago...I wanted this (and a window over the sink :) )
    For worked. I liked having my children 'tomato staked' to me during dinner prep, kitchen clean up, etc. The better to keep an eye on them. No fussing, no fighting...
    We used our table for all sorts of cooking adventures-- my children learned along side me to make jams and jellies, home made breads and pizza!
    You get the point. However, Now...the children are grown and gone. There isn't a designated 'dining room'. Just the eat in kitchen. So having guests for dinner-- not something I look forward to; and holidays we ALWAYS EAT BUFFET STYLE.

    I see the pros and cons of both. I don't know, really, if I'd like have a room set aside for dining and having it hardly ever used. Seems like a waste of space.
    So sorry for the lengthy (what appears to be hi-jacked) comment.

    Can't wait to see and hear your thoughts on this matter...complete with all your lovely eye candy!

  5. I chose to open the wall between the kitchen and the dining-room because both rooms are very tiny... But against everybody else's advice, I chose to open it only partially, so I could hide a few things. I mean, who wants the guests to see the bin for example? Also, I kept the wall and the door separating this space from the living-room, so if there's unexpected company, I receive them in the living-room and they don't see my messy kitchen!

  6. As there's just the two of us I have a cafe style table in the kitchen for everyday meals. If I had a bigger room I'd have a full sized table out of preference. For me, it feels more relaxing to hang out in the kitchen.

    But for entertaining, absolutely agree, the table should be separate. If only because I'm always in a panic and when I lose it it's better done in private!

  7. Sarah,
    Unfortunately, we've never had the priviledge of a formal dining room.
    I do put the dishes in the dishwasher,place the pans in the sink and try to keep items out of view. But a girl's gotta' do what a girl's gotta do! Family comes we have them seated with their back to all the dishes!!!
    It works well enough here on the Prairie!!!

  8. YES! I love our kitchen/dining room. It's so nice to have our daughter coloring at the table while I cook, and we can chat and laugh and listen to music. It's the best!

  9. I like both. And am fortunate enough to have a table for 6 in the kitchen and also a dining room with a table for 10.

    To be honest the kitchen gets more use - used daily and if we have 4-6 people for dinner we eat there as the other table is too big and feels less cosy. Having said that our dining room gets a work out too. Living on a farm in Australia we don't have many options to eat out and hence entertain at home a lot. In summer we often do this outside as well so we have an outdoor table too!

    If I had to pick one I would go for the kitchen table but do like the luxury of both.

  10. ohhhhhhh yes we can! you know what helps? a deep deep farmhouse trough of a sink to hide dishes like we have. also an ocd cook like me who cleans as she goes. and finally, if the dishes and pans are pretty, no worries bout seeing them out!

    we only eat in the kitchen!

    smiles to you and hope you'll pop over soon.

  11. We have a pretty large eat-in kitchen, with a formal dining room miles away from the kitchen. Rarely used. I am thinking of a drying cabinet, there is always pans and pots in the process of drying on the counter. A cabinet over the dishwasher area with a built in drying rack, open below so it could drip-drop on the stainless steel below... It could actually be the permanent home for no-dishwasher items. Combined with a large, deep sink i think it could do the trick. A butlers pantry w the sink and dishwasher coulb be another idea to get the country kitchen to work.

  12. We're pretty casual around our house, not a lot of fine dining going on hehe. But I do have a eat in kitchen where we like to have dinner sometimes. It's just so easy, one two steps from the stove to the table top, two steps to the dishwasher. Heck you could almost do it all sitting down. We are currently in the middle of making a Farmhouse Table in our dining room that will sit 10. We are making it from 100 yr old Heart Pine, my heart skips a beat just thinking about it. The style will fit our family perfectly as we are an informal bunch lol.

  13. Boy, that first table is pretty NON functional. Talk about stubbed toes and snagged clothes. We have a table in the kitchen. Probably gets used less for eating and more for dropping spot for "things". Till I have time to put them away. When all the kids are home we use the dining room. We do have a counter that with bar stools that works great too.

  14. I love having a kitchen with space to eat in. I love having my people around me when I'm cooking. Kitchen's are always warm places to hang about it in particularly if my teenagers sort of want to talk to you but need a little help in doing so.

    In one house we had enough space for a big armchair in the kitchen and when the kids were small I used to have a little read of a book with them or a nap with one or more squished around me. Dinning rooms don't seem to have the same draw for me but that's just me x

  15. I love a table in the kitchen (especially with small kiddo) and then for bigger groups we all go into the dining room. Best of both worlds.

  16. I have to agree with you, this is fine for family times, but when it comes to fine dining, not that I have that, but when I have friends over the last thing I want to see, or want them to see are the dirty dishes and messed up kitchens. Tha'ts why I have moved my dining table to the sunroom and it looks wonderful there and we can hide away there. Away from the messy kitchen.
    Hugs, cindy

  17. I'd actually like to have a kitchen-diner... but it would only work in an open plan style of living (perferabley with a buttler's pantry so all your cooking nasties can be hidden away in there - perhaps in the dishwasher!).

  18. We have an open plan arrangement here, so although the kitchen is separated by a counter, all the downstairs rooms are open to each other. I've learnt to be tidy when cooking so there isn't loads of clutter about when we entertain, and it's nice to be able to chat to people at the table while I'm faffing in the kitchen. The only downside I find is that the grease & moisture that gets in the air from cooking goes all through, so we have sticky dust (even with an over-the-hob industrial-strength extractor). totally ick!

  19. Get yourself a comfortable chair in your delightsome home when IU tell you this: I don't have dining room. :told you:

    I have an amazing and huge Living Room but no place that would suit me to put a table. And I wanted a big table, not one that would have the sibblings fighting with their elbows ahahah

    So I bought the huge table and put it in the kitchen. And we have meals there akll the time. When we have guests, or have a party, the same table goes from the kitchen to the living (turned into dining) room and is set there.

    Ocasionally in laws come over and hubby suggests we have lunch or dinner in the kitchen and is ok. I manage to cook something in the oven - less visible mess - and tide up before their arrival.

    It's a question of organisation and thinking in advance. No cooking chaos if you put things on the dish washer as you use them and no longer will be needed. Using the counters as "side tables" - We're Women we HAVE the power ;)

  20. Firstly how gorgeous are the images you've chosen! Lovely! Secondly, this is an excellent debate! I am of the casual variety, even when entertaining, so I am all for a kitchen diner (hope I can get one in the near future!). Some of my friends have a kitchen-diner as well as a formal dining room that rarely gets used... I would hate to waste space like that in a home. But I can see the appeal of both. xx

  21. Charm galore in every single room...I really love chalkboard walls (swoon).


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  25. Great topic and I just discovered a sweet little article on this exact subject now termed the "formal kitchen"! which I thought was a wonderful term and describes me exactly.
    We have one large open space and I have been challenged by what to do and who we want to be in the space... And what the space wants - the dining table is currently separated by a counter island that has the taller ledge on one side - I would prefer a larger island completely open I think it's more inviting for guests and more fun for cooking - and expressing your style.
    I have a fair bit of Marie Antoinette running around inside - I love nice linens that you can use everyday, silver, china and I appreciate simplicity and that old world style.

    We have a table that seats 10-12 which we use everyday and are looking to have a live edge table made that is 10 feet long. On holidays I rent a fancy table linen for not very much money at all and transform the space - our guests who come over all the time are always excited to see what has taken place. I also use a lot of gorgeous candlesticks, flowers and natural elements for decorating and try to place things around the room and powder room that are little unlikely treats for the eye to fall upon and to invoke celebration, ritual and "specialness" - its been quite fun and we prefer to use our space, invest in beautiful furniture (once!) and beautiful pots, pans
    I would prefer to have two dishwashers and two sinks than two dining rooms.
    Also we have started working more with braising and this has been sooooooo unbelievably wonderful for entertaining. Our kitchen is clean the day before guests arrive and the dishes are finished before they leave! Minus the wine glasses of course.

    Sorry for the long post! I found this blog researching farrow and ball and I love it! ;)

    Link to article on Formal Kitchens - its fabulous ::

    All the best from Portland Or. USA

  26. Good question! Our dining room is open to the kitchen although they are very much two separate rooms - just a big open doorway that divides the spaces. And I have to say, I love it. We use the dining room all the time and it's nice to be able to chat if one of us is cooking. I'm not too precious about a bit of 'stuff' about if we are cooking, a little mess is expected! But we don't let mess pile up in there, clean as we go... it works for us :) xxx