Are kitchen tables outdated in today’s modern homes? Is kitchen dining furniture still used? There are two reasons for asking this question: the increasing popularity of islands incorporating breakfast bars in larger kitchens, and the trend toward open-plan areas in smaller and even average-size homes.
Kitchen Tables and Dining Tables
In bygone days, it was not unusual for most meals to be eaten in the kitchen. Even if a family had a separate dining room, that was often kept for formal dining and special occasions while family meals were taken at the kitchen table. The dining table was of a higher quality, often highly French polished and of fixed dimensions.
Kitchen tables came in a wide range of styles, sizes, and finishes, and these are still available today. Dining tables in the Mission style, for example, are often fundamentally a tabletop resting on four plain legs. Such tables would stay in the kitchen surrounded by as many chairs as people living in the house. They would be used for all family meals.
This is fine if the kitchen is large enough to accommodate a full-size table and still leaves plenty of room for cooking, preparation, and the 101 other tasks carried out in the kitchen. For smaller kitchens, the table would have to take up less space. These come in the form of expandable or adjustable tables.
There are several types of these, including gate-leg tables where a leaf is attached to the tabletop by hinges and raised when needed. It rests on one or two legs that are also hinged to pull out as a support for the flap. Another type involves extra leaves that can be slotted into a gap formed by pulling two parts of the main tabletop apart.
There are other types of expanding mechanisms which are also in use today, both for kitchen tables and formal dining tables where the space available is limited. Where a room has multiple functions, it makes sense to use a table that is full-size only when in use.
Breakfast Bars and Kitchen Islands
In the modern era of rush and go, fewer people sit down as a family to a formal breakfast. They often eat individually, and the need for a family-size kitchen table is sadly diminished. Breakfast bars have become more common, where people sit on high seats or bar stools at a ledge set against a wall or at a kitchen island. This design is likely to make them eat up as fast as possible!
Kitchen islands are designed to stand in the center of the kitchen floor area, offering access to all four sides. One side is sometimes recessed to give more legroom, though this is not essential. An additional benefit is the extra storage space the kitchen island offers. This can be provided in the form of cupboards, drawers, wine racks, cutlery and knife storage, and so on. Some incorporate a sink and faucet, while others have a butcher block recessed into the top – or sometimes both!
Open Plan Designs
In open-plan designs, the kitchen often shares a space with the main living areas or the dining area – or even both in a few cases. In such situations, you will often find a breakfast bar incorporated into the kitchen island and a more formal dining table in the main living or dining area.
With such open-plan arrangements, may people believe that two tables would look out of place? The kitchen island makes the best use of the open space in the cooking area, and is sometimes fitted with a hob and an extractor fan and duct just above it.
Is Kitchen Dining Furniture Still in Use?
Kitchen dining furniture continues to sell well and is still much in use despite the above modern trends. Simple Mission and hand-crafted Amish designs are popular, and the old rustic style of pioneering log tables and benches also sell. Double-pedestal and trestle tables are popular for large kitchens and some kitchen islands are designed as a tabletop with storage beneath it. Extra end flaps are sometimes provided to be raised when more dining space is required.
The traditional kitchen table is alive and well, although there are not as many of them in use as there were a generation ago. Smaller kitchens, open plan designs, and a more hurried way of life have led to the emergence of the breakfast bar for breakfast and informal meals.
Formal dining tables tend to be restricted to formal dining rooms or dining areas within an open-plan structure. Kitchen dining furniture is generally restricted to breakfast bars. However, in larger kitchens, kitchen tables are alive and kicking and still available in some different styles and designs.