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Eat in Kitchens and How to Plan One

Eat in Kitchens and How to Plan One

2018-03-01

Nowadays, not everybody has space in their home for a separate dining room. For this reason open-plan living rooms often include some sort of dining area. Additionally, because the kitchen is commonly the hub of the home, more and more people are opting to include some sort of eating zone in the kitchen. Eat in kitchens has become more and more popular as people look for more ways to maximize their space. The options are vast and varied, from counter tops that are included in the kitchen itself to the inclusion of an adjacent but essentially separate space next to the kitchen that can accommodate a table and chairs.

A spacious open-plan home combines an eating zone within the kitchen that is ideal for family food and for casual entertaining. Created in the style of an island unit, there is storage on one side, with a counter overlapping the brick-built base on the other, and at one end.

The size of your kitchen will determine the options available in terms of an eating zone. Shape will also be a factor. For instance, an L-shaped room might be arranged so that one end of the L is reserved as the eating zone, and the rest is design to accommodate preparation, cooking, and washing up.


The Small Kitchen

Generally, unless there is somewhere to accommodate a built-in breakfast nook, small kitchens rely on the inclusion of counter tops as eating surfaces. The challenge though is to ensure that seating is comfortable and there is space for people’s legs. It’s not rocket science to realize that a counter top that is flush with vertical cabinet doors and drawers won’t be suitable.

Another option is to include a fold-down table that can be used as a work surface and for meals, though storage of seating might be an issue. If there really isn’t a way to accommodate an eating zone within the kitchen a compromise that sometimes works well is to break open a hatch and use the counter from the other side. Of course, it all depends which room is on the other side! Ideally it would be a dining room.

A very small kitchen that cannot accommodate an eating zone has been open up with a hatch to an adjacent room. While there are cabinets in the kitchen beneath this granite counter, it extends over the hatch on the other side. Two barstools allow a couple to use the counter for meals. Note that in spite of its small size, this kitchen has a conventional kitchen triangle between the fridge/freezer (left), oven and hob, and sink that has a dishwasher plumbed in next to it (right).

The most common counter-top solutions incorporate bar stools rather than chairs, simply because of the height of working surfaces in the kitchen. That said, not all kitchens have work surfaces at a uniform height. For this reason, it is essential to match the height of stools to the counter tops. Adjustable bar stools are a versatile solution.


The Medium-Sized Kitchen

Most medium-sized kitchens may be designed to incorporate an eating zone of some sort. However, island arrangements are particularly popular because they can allow for dual purposes. For instance, cabinets may be included for storage, or even an oven and/or hob might be incorporated in the island.

If cupboards and kitchen cabinets around the perimeter of the room provide sufficient storage, a table and chairs might be preferred in the center of the kitchen. This arrangement will certainly encourage family and friends to join the cook while waiting for food to be cooked.

Important factors to consider are the kitchen triangle Link to kitchen triangle article and traffic in, out, and through the kitchen.


The Large Kitchen

If you are lucky enough to have a large kitchen, just about anything goes. In fact having a large kitchen can make it easier to ensure that the traditional kitchen elements included for food storage, preparation, and cooking, link sensibly with the eating zone.

Most really big kitchens benefit visually and practically from the inclusion of a table and chairs. This is especially true when the style of the furniture matches the style of your kitchen whether sleek and minimalist or full of country character, with wood cabinets.

If planning from scratch you may want to subdivide the kitchen space, positioning a cleanup area with sink out of sight. As long as there is easy access this can work well. Similarly, the table might be positioned on one side of the kitchen, essentially making it an open-plan living space. Or you might prefer to have it in the center of the room. Assess your needs during the planning process because sometimes a lot of space is more difficult to tackle design-wise.


Planning The Eating Zone

If you want a table and chairs in your kitchen, or would like to incorporate a smaller built-in eating zone, a good way to plan is with templates. Link to template article

Draw a plan of the room and make templates of everything including cabinets, appliances, and tables, chairs, and any other furniture you want to have in the kitchen.

Start by positioning the sink, fridge, and stove (or oven and hob) templates on the plan. Then work with the different cabinets you have chosen and either suitable counter tops or a table. Shuffle them around until you have a workable layout.

Remember to include separate storage for food as well as pots, pans, crockery, and cutlery. Unless you have a separate laundry and/or clean up area, you will also want to include at least one tall kitchen cabinet for brooms, a vacuum cleaner and so on.

And remember, there are very few kitchens that cannot accommodate some sort of eating zone.