I don’t know about you but I’m tired of having breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner at the bar. I don’t mean the local pub but my kitchen island. Somewhere along the design trail we decided it would be great to sit in a row facing straight ahead staring at the sink or the cooktop while we dine.No wonder family meals lack great conversations. If you want to chat you need to look at each other. That’s what makes breakfast nooks and banquettes so attractive. Today the variety of designs, sizes and shapes of seating arrangements are limitless.
The breakfast nooks of the 1950’s were fashioned more like restaurant booths. They were confining and limited seating. Most traditional nooks require a minimum of 65” width to accommodate a 30” table, legroom and two 15” deep seating units. But you don’t have to limit yourself to customary designs. Literally think out of the box.
If you have a corner in your kitchen you can create a charming upholstered built-in corner arrangement paired with a free standing table and a couple of comfortable chairs that can be pulled up to the table when needed and then set aside.
Don’t want permanent, built-in seating consider using one or more banquettes or settees. These are upholstered sofas without arms. Height is very important when selecting tables and chairs. Dining chair seat height is typically 17-19 inches. If you want to use armchairs, make sure the arms will fit under the table. Dining tables heights are standard at 30 inches.
When selecting a table pay close attention to the legs. You need to move freely around the space without bulky table legs limiting your mobility. To avoid what Eero Saarinen called the “slum of legs” consider using his midcentury modern classic, the Tulip Table.Planning a kitchen renovation or just replacing your island think about incorporating seating benches as part of your island design. When combined with a table and side chairs it is just as convenient as the traditional island/bar seating arrangement but much cozier and inviting. Today’s cabinet manufacturers have incorporated wonderful, innovative seating ideas into their standard cabinet offerings.
Avoid the mistake of over doing it with throw pillows. They may look great in magazines but in reality too many just get in the way and end up on the floor. Two or three is all you need. Upholstered seating and back cushions that are attached to the seat base and the wall are much more practical. Make sure you select performance fabrics that are durable and easy to clean.
If you can’t figure out how to create one of these types of seating arrangements in your kitchen there is always that long forgotten room . . . the dining room. Why not have dinner in the dining room once and a while? If not, go ahead and knock down the wall separating your kitchen and dining room and then you’ll have plenty of room for your new breakfast nook.