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Eat-In Kitchens

Converting your cooking space into a room for cooking and eating can influence the way you use the entirety of your house.

But, while you’re thinking about islands, breakfast bars, and tall stools, don’t forget to consider what the impact will be on the cooking space itself. And what about materials and concepts? Navigating the options out there is a project in itself.

What follows are some key thoughts about eat-in kitchens, from working up a plan to putting the pieces into place. Here are some dos (and don’t-dos) from the experts, and some helpful online sites to hopefully inspire your imagination.

Breakfast Bars:

Perhaps the basic decision at the root of every eat-in kitchen design concerns what kind of surface will make up the central dining location.

The first stop for most eat-in makers is the breakfast/dinner bar. Placing it in the middle of the room is a common choice for location, but as Marissa Ponikowski points out, leave plenty of room between it and other counters. Forty-two inches minimum, and leave a 10-inch cantilever for sitters to comfortably tuck in.

Also think twice about including a second sink. Carolyn Bignell, at Toronto’s Paris Kitchens, tells HGTV that the splash can carry farther than you think.


The other option is to steer clear of the bar top and bring in tables (of almost any size and style). One idea is to create a tucked-away nook space, especially suited to longer shapes of kitchen. The finds this design by Julie Van Rosendaal in Calgary.

Breakfast nook in kitchen

Counter-Height Tables and Stools:

Then there are counter-height tables such as those by Greenington. These can be coupled with suitably heighted stools such as the designer work of Emeco. All of these options, and more, can be explored at Spacify (which ships to Canada).

Materials and Eco-Options:

When you’re considering your dining bar, it’s typically wood and stones-like marble that make the top of the design option list. But today’s choices include the newest take on concrete, in which the stuff of sidewalks becomes a chic new look inside. Check out Concrete Network’s website for ideas, and look for its Canadian contractor recommendations if you find yourself inspired enough to execute a concrete-based design.

Are you at the finishing end of a killer eat-in kitchen renovation? What tips have emerged from your recent work with breakfast bars and seating?

Share your best and newest ideas with readers of the blog. We look forward to hearing from you.

By James O’Brien

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