Kitchen Design using a settee as seen in House Beautiful

Photo Courtesy of House Beautiful; Designer: Brian Patrick Flynn; Photographer: Robert Peterson

Now that we have all been home, for the most part, we are spending more time in our kitchens and breakfast rooms. Preparing two to three meals a day (whether those are a quick snack or a full meal) and having a well-functioning and comfortable space to enjoy your meals can help make the day more pleasant. A well thought-out breakfast room with comfortable and attractive seating makes your room even more enjoyable. You work hard for your family and they should be able to sit together in a beautiful space!

When planning a breakfast room, there are several points to consider. Your goal should be function as well as beauty, so here are some questions to ponder:

  1. How big is your breakfast room or eating area?
  2. How many people are in your home and will need seating to be comfortable?
  3. What style of table would you prefer?
  4. Do you need extra storage?

Kitchen tables come in a variety of sizes and shapes with a wide range of bases or pedestals as well. A square or rectangular table provides a symmetrical look and fits into most spaces. Remember: when using a table with corners, you need ample space to get in and out of your seat and around the table. Square tables may look elegant in a space, but those corners can be bruising. I have a pet peeve with hard corners!  When planning a room, I like to add different shapes in the furnishings for visual interest. A round or oval table helps alleviate this issue with corners and is attractive. A round or oval table also provides a bit more flexibility for adding more chairs for guests. If a longer table is desired, there may need to be a double pedestal to support the weight of the table top. The type of pedestal is something to think about as well. A round base or pedestal provides more leg room and ease for additional chair legs. In contrast, square bases tend to be bulkier and limit leg space.

Ideal Space between table and banquettes

Photo Courtesy of Linda Merrill and Fine Home Building

Casual Banquette Design

Photo Courtesy of House Beautiful & Kay Genua Designs

The chairs you select should be comfortable and easy to maneuver. Sometimes a chair can be heavy and, therefore, may be too difficult to get in and out of. Another seating option we like to use is a custom banquette. Banquettes can be made to fit perfectly in a corner or in a recessed area of a long wall. A banquette can also be made to sit freely in the room to be visible from all sides. There are so many options when we are able to have a custom piece made. Fabric cushions are a great way to add a pop of color and pattern to your kitchen and breakfast room. The seat cushions can coordinate with the window treatments for a completely unique and custom look personalized to your taste and style.

Formal Banquette Design

Photo Courtesy of Elle Decor & Joshua McHugh

Additionally, banquettes can be designed to be as formal or as casual as you desire. A completely upholstered banquette or bench can be traditional or modern in style to blend with just about any room. The backs can be button tufted, channel tufted, have loose pillows in complimentary patterns and colors or have an interesting shape. The base can even be designed with storage in mind. The pitch of the back and seat are very important when planning your banquette. When creating yours, your upholsterer can help you address key points to ensure you have the most comfortable seat. (There’s nothing like sitting down in a beautiful chair only to discover it’s terribly uncomfortable!)

This all-fabric banquette is perfect against the window.

Fully Upholstered Banquette for a Kitchen with a Window

We have recently made custom banquettes for two of our clients. One was fully upholstered (as shown on the right) and was placed in an open-style breakfast room sitting directly under a window. Since this banquette was fully upholstered, we decided to pair it with a complementary chair with a combination of wood and upholstered seating.

The second custom banquette that we created had an upholstered seat and back cushions in an easy-to-clean vinyl with storage underneath as shown in the photo below, left. The storage drawers in the base work great for placing extra table linens out of site or games and puzzles for the kids, not to mention extra supplies for homework now that so many kiddos will be learning remotely from home—at least for the time being.

Custom Banquette in the Kitchen with Storage Underneath

In progress photo; Design by Pamela Hope Designs

So, don’t limit your seating choices in your kitchen and breakfast areas. As we so often do in other rooms, mix in different types of seats to best accommodate the setting you have, how the space will be used and the style that you’re pursuing. Decorative elements such as lighting, colors and the style of chair legs can open up small rooms to appear more spacious. The careful selection of fabrics and materials can simplify maintenance. Between pets, children and the occasional spill by even adults, the ability to easily wipe down mealtime areas is important. On the other hand, some of our clients who are empty nesters or who do not have children opt for breakfast areas that double as reading retreats. These settings typically center around comfort with quality lighting, rather than simple maintenance.  Truly, your breakfast room furniture options are endless! Get ready to create some great meals, sit down with your family and enjoy!

Which kitchen design challenges are you trying to address? Which trends do you especially like for the kitchen or breakfast area? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

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