The Heart of Your Kitchen: Choosing the Right Table For Your Family

The kitchen table is the heart of your kitchen. It brings together family and friends, and it’s where you share meals, conversation, memories and traditions. Choosing the right table is important. You want one that is big enough to accommodate your crew so mealtime is relaxed and comfortable, but you also want to invest in an option that’s stylish and enhances your décor.

Here are four things to consider when shopping for the right kitchen table:

 

The size of your family: How many people regularly gather for breakfast, lunch and dinner will have the greatest impact your table choice. Furniture manufacturers will often offer a recommended number of people that comfortably use a table, and a good rule of thumb is to allow each person two feet of eating space. Here’s a great list of options from Houzz:

Family of four

  • 3′ round table with a pedestal base
  • 4′ or 5’ round table with legs
  • 4′ long rectangular table

Family of five or six

  • 5′ round table with a pedestal base
  • 5’ or 6′ long rectangular table

Family of seven or more

  • 6′ or 7’ round table with a pedestal base or legs
  • 7′ round table with legs
  • 7′ to 11’ long rectangular table

 

The size of your room: Your room size will also help you determine the size of the table. You’ll want to provide enough space around the table for people to move in and out. A good rule of thumb is to give diners 42” to 48″ between the table and walls. If your room is small, you might consider a round table, which will fit in tight spaces, and pedestal versions offer more legroom. Or choose a bench instead of chairs, so you can maximize the space by pushing it beneath the table when it’s not in use.

 

 

 

The shape of the table: Round, rectangle, square and more, there are many shapes of dining tables. Choose the right one by matching it to the shape of your room. If your eating area is long and narrow in shape, a rectangular or oval table might be the best choice. It will fill the space, and it’s a great choice for larger families. If your eating area is small or square in space, you might want to choose a round or square table, which will leave more floor space and will look proportionate.

 

The future: You might be a family of two or three right now, but consider future scenarios. Are you planning to add on to your family? Do you entertain frequently? A good rule of thumb is to count the number of people who eat at the house regularly and add room for two more. If you choose the right table, you can easily slide in two extra chairs whenever needed. But don’t overcrowd your room with future guests in mind. If your eating area won’t accommodate the extra seating, you’re better off setting up an additional table in another room on special occasions.

 

How to Add a Kitchen Island

One of the most precious things in a kitchen is counter space. If you’re lacking, you can instantly add more work surface with a kitchen island. The great news is that you don’t need to contact a contractor; portable islands can be added to your room that match or complement your cabinetry and they can be moved around if you ever need more floor space.

When choosing an island, here are three things to consider:

Size. The most comfortable height for food prep is about 36 inches, which is also the standard height for lower cabinets. Islands also come in this size, but you’ll need to determine the proper width and length for your space. Take in consideration the amount of floor room you have. You will want two or three feet around it to allow people to pass by. Also look at the flow of your kitchen, especially between the sink, refrigerator and stove. Don’t interrupt this work triangle.

Function. What will you be using the surface of the island for? If it’s food prep, consider the material that is on the surface to make sure it’s up for the task. If you want space for storage, look for cabinets and open shelving. Or if you want more seating to provide a spot for your kids to do homework or guests to mingle, look for an island that has an area for stools. While islands are versatile, it’s best to know its primary function.

Material. The great thing about a kitchen island is that it’s often more interesting when it complements your cabinets instead of matches. This makes choosing the material an easier task. Consider how you wish your island to function. If you’re a baker, you might look for one with a marble top. Food prep is easy on an island with a stainless steel or butcher block top. The base of the island will set the tone for its style, and you will want to choose one that blends well with your décor. You can add something rustic for a farmhouse feel. A sleek island is perfect for a modern home. Or use an elegant island in a traditional style kitchen.

Magnolia Makeover: Tips for a Modern Kitchen

We love HGTV’s Fixer Upper for so many reasons, especially for the inspiration that comes from watching Chip and Joanna renovate the homes. The La Pequeña Colina house, which was featured in Episode 5 of this season, introduced us to “Moditerranean” style, a combination of Mediterranean and modern. If you haven’t checked it out already, be sure to visit Joanna’s blog where she shares her thoughts on each renovation.

For this project, Joanna shared her thoughts on designing the kitchen. Here are four tips you can incorporate in your home:

 

Create Architectural Details: “Houses don’t always come with original charm, like arched doorways and original tile patterns, so sometimes you have to get creative when trying to make a remodel look unique and timeless,” writes Joanna.

Joanna used antique partitions that created a dramatic entrance into the kitchen. You could also use a kitchen island that looks like an antique or choose furniture that was inspired by architectural details.

Mix Cabinetry: Because the home mixed modern with Mediterranean style, Joanna chose to mix up the cabinetry, as well, combining modern-style on the lower pieces with more classic cabinets for the uppers. “I was intentional about painting the upper cabinets white, so that the architectural elements in the room could stand out,” she writes. “For this kitchen in particular, if the uppers had been wood as well, then the details, such as the open shelving, partitions, pendant lights, backsplash and beam, would’ve blended in with the rest of the space.”

We love this tip because it encourages us to think outside of styles and colors when designing your kitchen. You could use two different finishes or add furnishings in a different style for a unique or eclectic feel.

 

Put Essentials On Display: Joanna can make the most basic household item look loved simply by showing it off. In this renovation, she hung a modern pot rack to display and organize everyday pots and pans. “This saves the homeowner from having to look through a cramped cabinet or drawer, while also bringing the character and patina of their collection to this wall,” Joanna writes.

When choosing accent pieces for your kitchen, survey what you have in your cabinets. Or select new pieces that not only serve a function but are beautiful as well.

Finishing Touches: Sometimes the small things make all the difference, and in this renovation, Joanna introduced modern details with black metal pulls that feel minimal. “Even though hardware seems like a small detail, it’s actually an important element that has the ability to pull the overall design of a room together,” she says.

Give your kitchen a 10-minute makeover by changing out the hardware or fixtures. A small detail can make a big difference.

How to Choose a Rug for Your Kitchen

Rugs are a wonderful accent in any room, adding color and texture. You might not think of adding one to your kitchen, but you should. A rug can minimize slippery hard surface flooring, and using one near the sink or stove provides cushioning that reduces fatigue on your body.

Choosing the right rug for your kitchen will depend on a few factors. Here are four things to consider:

Floor Space: The layout of your kitchen will determine the size rug that will work. Runners are often useful if you have a galley kitchen or a kitchen with a large island and limited floor space. This style rug has the added benefit of making your room look larger. You can also choose small rugs for specific areas, such as in front of a sink. You can find rectangle, oval or half moon shapes that would be perfect.

Color: With cabinets taking up most of the wall space, rugs provide a great way to add color to a kitchen. Be bold to make a statement or choose a shade that blends in. You can pick up a color from other accessories or use the chance to add a new hue.

Material: Spills happen and you don’t want to have to worry about ruining your rug. Be sure to choose one that is easily cleaned, such as those made from natural fibers or synthetic blends. Low pile rugs are easily spot-cleaned, and are a better choice than shag. And some smaller mats are machine washable, making cleanup a breeze.

Style: Another reason to include a rug in the kitchen is to provide a sense of style to the room. Cabinets often dictate the décor here, but a rug can underscore your personality and design point of view. Choose a contemporary, traditional or casual rug that complements sense of style.

Five Easy Ways to Organize Your Kitchen

Preparing meals for your family is much more enjoyable when you do it in a well-planned kitchen. Whether you have a small galley style or a large space that promotes gathering, kitchens always benefit from organization and thought.

Here are five things to keep in mind when you organize yours:

 

Start with a clean slate. Empty all of your cabinets and put everything on your countertop or table. You’ll probably be surprised at how much stuff is stored behind doors and drawers. When you remove items, look for things that are broken, don’t belong in the kitchen or that are duplicates. You can sort out these items right away to make room for what you need.

Group like items. When organizing your kitchen, make it easy to find things or complete a task by grouping like items. Put all of your bake ware in one cabinet, for example. Keep spices together. And group holiday or seasonal items that are used less often. During the grouping process, streamline your belongings even further by getting rid of things you no longer use or need.

 

Don’t forget about vertical space. If cabinet space is at a premium, think outside the “box” and consider hanging items. You can place hooks underneath cabinets to hold mugs. Use a bar that allows you to hang a stemware. Consider installing a pot rack over a kitchen island. And add portable storage if you have wall space, such as free-standing shelving or bins that attach to the wall.

Decide where everything goes. Now it’s time to put things away; decide which cabinets and drawers make the most sense. Pots and pans should be kept close to the stove. Utensils can be put in the drawer nearest to the prep area. Put mugs near your coffee station. Thinking through your organization helps you streamline your cooking process.

 

Consider hidden storage options. Finally, look for double duty furnishings that provide storage. You can find tables that include shelving in the base that can be used to store seasonal items. Some bench seating opens to offer storage that can hold linens or even pantry food item overflow if you like to stock up. Taking advantage of every nook and cranny will help you get the most out of your kitchen.