Politicians talk about "kitchen table issues" for a reason; even in the days when formal dining rooms were standard, many people used those spaces mostly for Sunday dinners and holidays, preferring to gather around the kitchen table instead for everyday breakfasts, coffee breaks, after-school homework, and cozy family dinners.
Today's ubiquitous open plan kitchen with a massive kitchen island equipped with seating for everyone is only the latest iteration of the eat-in kitchen. Whether it's a café table for two squeezed into a petite city kitchen; a dining table adjacent to the kitchen island in a spacious loft; or a giant farmhouse table in the center of a spacious country house kitchen, here are some eat-in kitchen ideas for every taste and budget.
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Hang Dramatic Wallpaper
Interior designer Cecilia Casagrande used dark floral wallpaper by Ellie Cashman in the eat-in kitchen in her Brookline, Massachusetts home. Casagrande chose a banquette with a high back to evoke a Parisian bistro feel, layering it with pillows in a variety of fabrics and included layered ambient light around the room.Continue to 2 of 40 below.
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Brighten It Up
In this renovated Santa Clara, CA home, Cathie Hong Interiors opened up a former galley kitchen and added a comfortable banquette that turns it into a light and airy eat-in kitchen.Continue to 3 of 40 below.
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Hang a Pendant Light
This cozy eat-in kitchen from Ashley Montgomery Design has leather upholstered banquette seating, with a large woven pendant light anchoring the comfortable dining area.
Continue to 4 of 40 below.
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Create a Breakfast Nook
This light and airy eat-in kitchen from Finding Lovely has a breakfast nook with banquette seating and Scandinavian-style furniture that is nestled in a window and ready for any occasion.Continue to 5 of 40 below.
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Add a Bar Counter
This small galley-style kitchen in a Georgian style apartment in Bath, England, designed by deVOL Kitchens becomes an eat-in kitchen thanks to a tiny two-person breakfast bar built in near the window.Continue to 6 of 40 below.
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This English coach house kitchen from deVOL Kitchens has a simple layout anchored by a massive central island that functions as prep space, while a large wooden table nearby is a comfortable place for sit-down meals.Continue to 7 of 40 below.
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Create a Cozy Corner
This eat-in kitchen dining area from Jessica Nelson Design has a corner window seat banquette that maximizes every last inch of space in this cozy kitchen.Continue to 8 of 40 below.
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Erin Williamson Design renovated a Tudor home, creating a spacious, modern, family-friendly eat-in kitchen with comfortable banquette seating that occupies the far wall.Continue to 9 of 40 below.
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Make It Rustic
This rustic kitchen from Lobster and Swan has a round bistro table and chairs in lieu of a kitchen island that provides a place for meals and an extra surface for meal prep.
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Embrace Scandi Design
This minimalist eat-in kitchen from Fantastic Frank is tailored to seamlessly fit into the room's angled walls to maximize storage and functionality.Continue to 11 of 40 below.
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Push the Table Against the Wall
This blush pink eat-in kitchen designed by London-based Pluck has a table that is pushed peninsula-style against the righthand wall to provide a place for sit-down meals.Continue to 12 of 40 below.
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Accent with Wallpaper
This eat-in kitchen from Michelle Berwick Design has a banquette seating nook nestled between floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets that is decorated with a vibrant floral wallpaper accent wall, and outfitted with a small tulip table and upholstered velour chairs for cozy meals.Continue to 13 of 40 below.
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This classic English Victorian villa kitchen from deVOL Kitchens includes a dining table and a sofa, turning it into an eat-in kitchen you could live in day and night.
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Use Upholstered Chairs
This eat-in kitchen from Cathie Hong Interiors has a dining corner with a round table for flow and upholstered chairs to make it feel extra comfortable and encourage lingering over family meals.Continue to 15 of 40 below.
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Double It Up
This spacious eat-in kitchen from interior designer Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors has both a large island with bar seating and a breakfast nook beneath the windows.Continue to 16 of 40 below.
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A Beautiful Mess built a DIY banquette in the corner of a small kitchen and covered it with bright pink velvet upholstery to create a cozy spot for having a drink or a snack.Continue to 17 of 40 below.
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Add a Bonus Table
This spacious kitchen from Heather Hilliard Design has an island with bar height seating as well as a comfortable leather banquette seating area with a large table for more leisurely sit-down meals.Continue to 18 of 40 below.
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Go with Marble
Calimia Home brought French vibes to a historic Spanish home renovation in Coral Gables, FL with an elegant range and a marble-topped bistro table and chairs in place of a kitchen island that blends right in with the stone finishes of the room.Continue to 19 of 40 below.
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Add a Glass Wall
This California eat-in kitchen from Erin Williamson Design includes a built-in banquette is positioned in the corner by two walls of industrial glass and metal windows and doors that open to the outside and enjoy a view of the pool.Continue to 20 of 40 below.
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Make It Moody
This small eat-in kitchen from Fantastic Frank is painted in a cool blue-toned shade of gray that makes it a relaxing place to enjoy a meal after a long day.Continue to 21 of 40 below.
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Install Banquette Seating
This modern eat-in kitchen from Pizzale Design Inc. is extra comfortable and inviting thanks to an upholstered banquette attached to the back of the kitchen peninsula. The dining area faces away from the appliances and cooking area to create a little oasis for sharing a meal.Continue to 22 of 40 below.
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Add a Vintage Tablecloth
This light-flooded Stockholm kitchen from Fantastic Frank is authentic Scandi style at its best, with its simple white and silver finishes, a streamlined wall of cabinetry and appliances, painted white bentwood chairs, and a small table covered in a lacy tablecloth to add a note of vintage charm.Continue to 23 of 40 below.
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Add a Farmhouse Table
This classic eat-in country kitchen in a 17th-century Cotswold sandstone farmhouse has rustic beams, a vaulted ceiling, hanging baskets and green pendant lights hanging over a rustic farmhouse dining table, and enough chairs to seat a crowd.Continue to 24 of 40 below.
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This roomy Washington D.C. eat-in kitchen from Rise Interiors has a comfortable blue banquette beneath the windows that matches the trim.Continue to 25 of 40 below.
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Add Bubble Lights
This long and narrow eat-in kitchen from Fantastic Frank has a wall of cabinetry, countertops, and appliances on one side, leaving space for a small bistro table and chairs with slim banquette seating on the opposite side. A clear glass bubble pendant light hangs over the dining space to add light without visual clutter.Continue to 26 of 40 below.
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Make It Cottage Style
This 16th-century Sussex cottage kitchen is warm and inviting, with an Arts & Crafts oak dining table, chairs by Alvar Aalto, a marble-topped work station painted light blue, teak wood kitchen cabinets, framed art on the walls, and a George Nelson pendant light.Continue to 27 of 40 below.
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Enjoy the View
The dining area in this bright eat-in kitchen from Etch Design Group is positioned in front of the window that highlights the wide-open views. An airy pendant light anchors the space without blocking light or views.Continue to 28 of 40 below.
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Add Comfortable Bar Stools
Cathie Hong Interiors gave this California modern Eichler house kitchen in San Jose, CA a 21st-century update with a new kitchen island and upholstered bar stool seating that turns it into a comfortable eat-in kitchen space perfect for casual meals.Continue to 29 of 40 below.
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This eat-in cottage kitchen from Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona has an L-shaped cooking area and a dining area across the room that's anchored by a freestanding banquette with a tufted high back for extra comfort.Continue to 30 of 40 below.
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In this galley-style apartment kitchen from Georgia Zikas Design, a corner banquette is squeezed in at the far end beneath a window with a city skyline view. Blue upholstery and throw pillows add color, while a round tulip-style table without any sharp edges allows for easy maneuvering in the compact space.Continue to 31 of 40 below.
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Add French Charm
This eat-in kitchen in a 1800s French brick and flint country house from German interior designer Peter Nolden is an ode to French charm, with original architectural details, checkerboard fabric, vintage wood shelves on the walls, and a generous wooden farm table for family meals. A black metal vintage chandelier and vintage lettering sign that says bookstore in French and hanging copper pots creates a timeless feel.Continue to 32 of 40 below.
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Go Black and White
This black-and-white eat-in kitchen designed by Leanne Ford Interiors has a crisp graphic feel and a mix of old and new decor that gives it a timeless appeal.Continue to 33 of 40 below.
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Add a Coffee Bar
This eat-in kitchen from Calimia Home is situated next to a coffee bar set up on the storage wall that gives it an at-home cafe vibe.Continue to 34 of 40 below.
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Float the Fridge
This small eat-in kitchen from Fantastic Frank mixes soft shades of white with graphic black accents and midcentury modern touches like the Danish modern pendant light, George Nelson wall clock, and molded Eames Eiffel chairs to lend it some timeless style. A freestanding vintage-style refrigerator in the corner is stylish enough to blend in with the decor.Continue to 35 of 40 below.
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Add Bright Wallpaper
Interior designer Jessica Hill-Tompane at J Hill Interiors added bright wallpaper to this vibrant and colorful eat-in kitchen, with a dramatic pendant light and comfortable upholstered chairs around a small bistro table to create a comfortable and luxurious feel.Continue to 36 of 40 below.
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Sit By the Fire
This eat-in London kitchen designed by Sebastian Cox for deVOL Kitchens has a period fireplace that makes it extra cozy.
Continue to 37 of 40 below.
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Float the Table
Instead of a kitchen island, this Pittsburgh eat-in kitchen from Leanne Ford Interiors has an old-school dining table in the center of the room that is set with a tablecloth and looks like it could belong in a bistro, with cafe-style half curtains on the windows that reinforce the vibe.Continue to 38 of 40 below.
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Create an End Point
This galley-style kitchen designed by Brady Tolbert for Emily Henderson Design has a combination of built-in storage, cabinetry, and appliances and open shelving on opposite sides, and culminates in a dining space at the far end that includes a round table and chairs to create a cozy eat-in kitchen that maximizes space and light from the window.Continue to 39 of 40 below.
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Add a Vintage Table
Leanne Ford Interiors squeezed a vintage painted metal garden table and chairs against a wall in this homey kitchen that blends into the green wall and creates an intimate spot for breakfasts or tea breaks.Continue to 40 of 40 below.
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Keep It Eccentric
This colorful and eccentric Swedish countryside eat-in kitchen from Fantastic Frank includes a vintage table and bench seating that floats in the middle of the room.