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Kitchen Furniture

Updated on November 9, 2010

The kitchen is the one room in the house that many would describe as the hub. This is the room where families and guests most often gather. It is the room where the most activity happens. And it is the room with the most life. Because you spend so much time in the kitchen, you want the kitchen furniture to be just right. Depending on how large your kitchen is, you might have just a kitchen cart with a few stools stored underneath it. Or, you may have a full kitchen nook set along with sideboard and pantry cabinet. Some kitchens are large enough for kitchen island furniture while others are not. The size and shape of your kitchen dictates almost exclusively what kind of kitchen furniture ideas you can use. The style and design of your kitchen also play a factor because pieces like kitchen pantry cabinets are not used very often in modern kitchens.

Breakfast Nook Furniture

If you have a large kitchen with a wide open space at one end, then that space is most likely reserved for kitchen nook furniture or breakfast nook furniture.  A kitchen table is most likely the largest piece of furniture you will put in the kitchen so it deserves special consideration.  You want to choose a table first based on the shape of the room.  If the end of your kitchen is half of an octagon, then a circular table would be appropriate.  However, if you have a large rectangular space, then a rectangular table might be a better choice.

Once you choose the shape, the size is the next consideration. In general you need to leave approximately eighteen inches of space between the walls and the edge of the table so that there will be enough room to pull chairs in and out. There are a few ways that you can increase the available seats at the table without making major alterations to your home. First, you can use bench seating. Breakfast nook benches generally seat more people than chairs in the same space. For example, a bench in the space taken up by two chairs can sit three people. Generally, one and a half can sit on a bench for every chair that you replace. This means that you can fit more people around the table. In addition, a corner breakfast nook set will save you even more space. If you do not need to pull the bench out away from the table, then you save about six inches on each side that has a corner bench. That gives you an extra six inches in each dimension.

It is probably best to use a combination of benches and chairs because both types of breakfast nook seating have advantages. First, benches often come with under the seat storage compartments that can be used for everything from art supplies and board games to small kitchen appliances and table linens. Every kitchen needs more storage so breakfast nooks with storage are a major plus. However, chairs are good to have around when you invite guests to share a meal with you. Benches require that you sit very close to the other people on the bench. This is fine for family, but a guest might feel more comfortable if they had their own chair and more personal space.

Kitchen Island Furniture

If you are lucky enough to have room for a kitchen island, you may find that kitchen island furniture is a good addition to your space.  Try to design or purchase an island where the counter top is larger than the cabinets underneath so that it is comfortable for people to sit on stools at the island.  In addition, try to have about twelve inches on the outside of the kitchen island slightly higher than the rest of the island surface so that the eating surface never has to come into contact with the food preparation surface.  Once you have an island like this, you need to look at stools. 

Breakfast bar stools come in a wide variety of styles and heights.  Make sure that you have approximately eight to twelve inches between the seat height and the counter height so that people will be comfortable sitting on the stools.  Another style tip is to find stools with backs rather than bar stools without.  A stool with a high back is much more comfortable to sit in.

Kitchen Carts and Portable Kitchen Islands

If you are not lucky enough to have a large kitchen with space for an island, then one option is to use a portable kitchen island or kitchen cart. A kitchen cart is a small cart on wheels that can be stored against a wall or out of the way when not in use. Then, when you need the food prep surface or an eating surface, you can wheel it out into a convenient spot. Some kitchen carts have drop leaves to make it larger when you are using it but small for storage purposes. You will even find a few that have small stools stored underneath. You basically have a portable kitchen table and chairs.  Others only have storage shelves underneath.  Often, a homeowner will cover these shelves with some kind of curtain.  If you choose to do this, make sure the fabric matches the fabric in the chair cushions or valances in the rest of the kitchen.

Sideboards and Kitchen Shelves

If there is enough space behind or to the side of your kitchen nook furniture, then you might consider a sideboard or kitchen shelving unit.  Some people use the surfaces of a sideboard to display pictures or hold plants or flowers.  This variety of furniture is a luxury in the kitchen because there is rarely enough room.  The shelves and cabinets in a sideboard can be used to store china or extra table linens easily.

Kitchen Pantry Cabinets

If you do not have a walk in pantry or pantry closet in your kitchen then you might consider a pantry cabinet.  This is a convenient way store your dry goods and canned foods.  A typical pantry cabinet will be tall and possible wide, but rarely very deep.  You want to be able to see everything you have stored in there.  The regular cabinets in your kitchen are usually very deep.  It is hard to see the things stored in the back.

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