Create a kitchen dining set-up that is more modern than outmoded

When you think of a traditional dining room, what comes to mind? A separate room, fancier than the others, filled with a formal looking table set with 4 to 6 chairs. Maybe there’s a buffet table or credenza, perhaps a china cabinet as well. The crowning glory is of course a grand light fixture like a chandelier.

Now, consider the last time you saw this set-up in the real world. As daily living becomes less formalised, people are breaking down the walls between the kitchen and dining room – in some cases quite literally. The end result is a kitchen, combined with dining and living space that lends itself better to our more integrated lifestyles.

This “home diner” reflects modern living, but can be a challenge to style. With a clear vision, a few core items and some decorating flair, it’s certainly not impossible.

Step 1: Visually separate the space with pendant lighting
In the absence of a wall it is important to visually separate the kitchen dining space from the working space. Whether placed in the corner, or found in the centre of a galley kitchen, there are a few clever tricks to make this space its own, including accent walls and area rugs. However, pendant lighting is the favoured method to separate the areas. There is no shortage of styles to choose from: canvas drums, industrial, cluster ball and if you want to bring some of the formality of a dining room to your kitchen diner, glam things up with a chandelier.

When in doubt, a contemporary wooden set with clean lines that is naturally stained is always a winner! © nakedkitchens

When in doubt, a contemporary wooden set with clean lines that is naturally stained is always a winner! © nakedkitchens

Step 2: Get the right set
Though the days of formal dining furniture sets are gone, it is important to invest in the right dining set for your lifestyle (and kitchen style). If your kitchen is narrow, the slim lines of a Scandinavian table with banquette seating along a single wall is a great way to keep things streamlined. If cosiness is a concern in a large space, splurge on a traditional table in a dark wood like walnut, coupled with large chairs upholstered with a luxe fabric. When in doubt, a contemporary wooden set with clean lines that is naturally stained is always a winner!

Step 3: Add the amenities important to you
Do you like to watch television when dining? Mount a small TV to a swivel bracket so you can watch as you eat and when you cook. Are you a fan of the pre-dinner cocktail hour? Position your home bar in close proximity. The dining area will be transformed into an entertaining nook. Want a space to relax in after dinner? Flank your dining area with cosy chairs.

When all is said and done, the most important design element of a kitchen diner is that it suits your family!