Style Guide: Dining in the Kitchen

Establishing a place for dining is an important part of your kitchen planning.


Hi, I'm Jennifer Kopf, home editor at Southern Living. Kitchens aren't just places to cook and prepare meals. They are the center of the home, and the room where most family dining happens. Whether it's for a quick snack at the island, a casual supper in the nook, or a more formal meal in the adjoining dining space, establishing a place for dining is an important part of your kitchen planning. The easiest place to incorporate kitchen seating is at your island. A few stools, or even a bench, make a great spot for friends or family members to perch while dinner is being prepared. [MUSIC] If you have the option, seating will be most comfortable if you include a countertop overhang in the island's design. Not only will this accommodate knees. It will also allow you to push your stools underneath and out of the way when they're not in use. This option of bar style seating also works well with the peninsula side of a G-shaped kitchen. There are many types and styles of bar and counter stools available. Be sure to coordinate the style of your seating with the overall style of your kitchen for the most cohesive look. Think of your stools as kitchen accessories that can add flair not just function to your room. If you're starting from scratch and you have a little more space, take island dining a step further by incorporating an actual dining table into the island's design. [MUSIC] One option, is to create a two tiered island with the lower section at table height to accommodate dining chairs. A small scale table butted up against the back side of the island gives a collected look that doesn't require custom construction. A table on casters can be stored under the island and pulled out when needed. For a reverse approach, build banquet seating into your island and then use a free-standing table and complementing chairs. A breakfast room is a great option when you have a little extra space off to the side of your kitchen's main work area. Built-in banquets work well in these small spaces and provide comfy, upholstered seating. Surrounded by light-filled windows, a table and chairs are an inviting spot for breakfast or any meal. [MUSIC] When your kitchen is part of a larger space, or a great room, there's often plenty of room to accommodate a full size dining table with chairs. This option allows for everyday dining, as well as more formal entertaining. [MUSIC] When planning for this dual purpose room [MUSIC] Be sure to coordinate the styles of your two spaces. This is easy to do through your choice of color palette, finishes and accessories. Instead of having all matching chairs, consider adding upholstered host and hostess chairs or even benches. The softness of upholstery offers a nice juxtaposition to all of the kitchen's hard edges. [MUSIC] For more ways to create a beautiful kitchen, read Southern Living magazine and visit
Experience our exclusive vacation collection.