7 Ways to Let Your Kitchen Island Wine and Dine You
Fine dining at home, no reservations required? Just style your kitchen's hardworking island as an elegant dining table
I'm a freelance writer and design enthusiast who believes the best design is collected, not decorated, and that homes should always be as comfortable and functional as they are chic. In addition to writing for Houzz, I work as the Head Copywriter for Layla Grayce and Zinc Door.
I'm a freelance writer and design enthusiast who believes the best design... More »
Traditional homes typically have a formal dining room, but today’s more open layouts often combine an eating area with the kitchen. Some smaller homes don't have the space for a large dining table at all. But if you have room for a kitchen island, you have lots of options for gracious dining, too.
Dine in the heart of the kitchen. “We like to use islands for more intimate dining experiences,” says Dana Lyon, principal at Palm Design Group. “When possible, use the kitchen island for seating four-plus people; this allows for the best flexibility for the dining space.”
Outfit the island with a sturdy surface. Since your kitchen island doubles as a prep station, go for a durable surface. In this kitchen, designed by Palm Design Group, Lyon used resilient Caesarstone to top the island. “It has a more traditional edge in order to mimic the look of limestone,” she says.
Learn more about engineered quartz countertops
Furnish the island like a dining table. “Instead of using standard-sized stools at an island area, use an oversized, stylish design that allow your guests to sit as comfortably through a meal as they would at a formal dining table,” says interior designer Claire Ownby. “Using an upgraded or plush fabric on the stools can make the seating feel more luxurious.”
Amp up the light fixtures. Pendants are generally a go-to kitchen light source, but a statement-making choice will set a more elegant, dining room–like tone. “Try using a unique dining chandelier to make the space feel more formal,” says Ownby. “Make sure the fixture is on a dimmer so that it can be functional for multiple uses.”
Choose decorative versions of functional pieces. If you want your kitchen to transition into a formal space, pay attention to the appearance of your kitchen necessities. Lyon suggests repurposing a fireplace mantel to create a decorative hood. “We’ve used an 18th-century fireplace mantel for hoods, which were generally used to cook under and are taller than traditional fireplaces, so they are great for this use,” she says.
Create ambience for a dining experience. Decorate your kitchen with entertaining in mind. "The use of unique centerpieces on your island can reinforce a feeling of a formal dining area,” says Ownby. “Use candles, florals or decor on your island that you would typically use on a table.” Lyon also suggests using any glass cabinetry you have to show off beautiful dishes or collections.
Soften the windows with curtains. The look is a little out of the ordinary, but drapes can make a kitchen feel more inviting. “Adding this layer to your kitchen will help make the space feel more intimate when being used for more formal reasons,” says Ownby.
More: Take a Seat at the New Kitchen-Table Island
Ideabook published on Nov. 21, 2012.
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