One of the most significant changes in recent years has been the emergence of the kitchen as the central hub of the household.Gone are the days when the kitchen was literally shut away at the back of the house, reflecting Victorian social mores and the need to hide functional ‘dirty work’ aspects of the home whilst maintaining social appearance
In todays’ home, the kitchen is the social heart of the household and needs to host a mix of family activities, often happening at the same time – cooking, eating, chatting, entertaining, working and studying. For many it is also a performance and hosting space –people want to prepare food while socialising with family and friends. It also must offer a dining space large enough for family get-togethers, yet sufficiently stylish for supper and dinner parties. And with household structures and demographics in a state of flux, the kitchen is often the only shared social space where household members meet.
As part of the quest for informal flexible space, an important trend is the creation of a central open plan kitchen dining area at the centre of the house. A recent home insurance survey stated that one in 5 UK households has removed a downstairs wall in the past 10 years, while one in 3 were already enjoying the benefits of an open-plan kitchen and kitchen-diner. The big appeal is for the kitchen and cook to be part of the action when entertaining and, on a day-to-day basis, for the whole family to be together.In this time-pressed age, the benefit of being able to offer help with homework while cooking supper, or keeping an eye of little ones while peeling the potatoes is entirely achievable in a kitchen diner.
Another influence is the importance of natural light and the appeal of bringing-the-outside-in with the natural extension of the kitchen diner to an ensuite terrace. The addition of glass bi-fold doors and skylights immediately creates a sense of light and airy space by opening-up conventionally dark areas of the household. Such developments have the potential to turn indoor rooms into outside spaces.
Reflecting it’s emerging importance and new found status, the list of requirements for todays’ kitchens is extensive: most significantly the kitchen is a functional space and it needs to work as one; it also needs to offer a flexible space as occasion dictates, there needs to be sufficient room to move around as family member come and go, the shift towards more informal or relaxed and flexible arrangements is particularly evident at meal times: today’s kitchen needs to accommodate continual grazing, multiple meal preparation. Above all the kitchen is now shared sociable space.
Choosing seats for this increasingly important space can be a challenge.Seats need to be functional and comfortable, they also need to be adaptable and suited to multiple usage occasions from casual family grazing to relaxed kitchen dinner parties. Here we list our top 5 suggestions for striking seating for open plan kitchen dinning.
1. On the Bench – Small Kitchen Diner Seating Suggestions
If you are limited for space and have only a small open plan kitchen why not consider a bench instead of chairs? A well-chosen bench will seat more, feel more convivial and look neater in a small space.
Bench seating can either be built into an alcove or nook as illustrated – with the secret benefit of additional storage hidden beneath.
Equally practical are free standing wooden benches that can be pulled out when required and pushed away under the table when not needed. This understated stylish bench in solid sheesham wood from Maison du Mondeis an ideal way to create a contemporary look to your kitchen diner.
A Bold Pop of Colour
An informal breakfast bar is the perfect way to create a dining area in your family kitchen.If you prefer to use a soothing neutral palette choose a calming scene of neutrals and off-whites for your walls and kitchen units. This will not only maximise a sense of space but also add to the perceived level of natural light.
But do not ignore colour altogether. If your kitchen is dominated by blending neutral elements, you can afford to focus the eye with a bright pop of colour. These marigold bar stools from cheekychairs.comdramatically lift the white and grey blended décor of this contemporary Breakfast Bar by adding a warm injection of colour.
2. Scandia style
This clean, calm, pared-back trend in styling has never been more popular. If you’re reworking your entire living space, stick to a palette of pale grey, wood and white for your walls, floor and furniture. For a quick fix add a dash of Scandinavian flair with a few easy updates.
This extending table with bench seating from M&S lends mealtimes an informal, convivial quality. The pale cabinetry and walls create a light modern feel.
3. Farmhouse Dining
There is something undeniably warm and charming about a traditional rustic kitchen.And when it comes to creating this cozy look in the heart of the home, there’s no shortage of kitchen decorating ideas. This classic style brings a casual and inviting feel to any home.Shaker-style units are steeped in country style along with open wooden shelving.
But the central focus to any Farmhouse design is the wooden kitchen table – either in an oiled or bleached finish or painted in matt chalky colours. And with its ball back design, elegant clean lines and classic traditional style, the Suffolk Chair from Neptune is pared back simplicity at its best.
4. Cool Chic Gray
Not quite as stark as black and white, the trend for a gray kitchen lends a softer more sophisticated air your kitchen diner. The serene smooth grey pallet contrasts beautifully with the wooden top of the kitchen island and matching wood and chrome bar stools.
5. Bistro Kitchen Dining
This design is a hybrid of Farmhouse style meeting Scandia design. It is all about modern clean neutrals and traditional country creams being given a hint of sophistication with an accent of dramatic black.
It also features a mix of modern and traditional materials – combinations of artisan rough-hewn wooden surface with more industrial polished steel and black granite. This look can also be achieved by painting a strip of wall or some well-appointed shelving in black. Or, more simply, adding a contrasting black chairto the set around the table.