15 Fresh Takes on the Eat-In Kitchen

The American kitchen is the hub of household activity. It's where we make dinner on ordinary weeknights, and arrange appetizers and chat with our guests while we cook when hosting intimate or large get-togethers. It's also where we plan vacations, help with homework, and, of course, eat throughout the day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even the occasional coffee and crossword. Small wonder, then, that there are so many kitchen seating options, from traditional tables and chairs to space-saving stools that tuck beneath the counters. Here are 15 stylish eat-in kitchen ideas that make even the smallest kitchen a welcoming place to gather.

By Marie Proeller Hueston and Caitlin Castelaz | Updated Dec 29, 2020 12:30 PM

Table Basics

Round Table Eat in Kitchen

Countertop stools are a great spot to park for quick meals, but if space allows, a table and chairs are a luxury worth considering. A round design with chairs that tuck neatly underneath is a sensible choice for small spaces. As an added benefit, the center base takes up less visual space than a table with legs that go right up to the edge would.


An Eye for Detail

Kitchen Island Seating for Eat-In Kitchen Ideas

A center island is a great way to add storage, counter surface, and dining capability to any kitchen that has the available floor space. Here, a duo of distressed white stools are tucked under the extended countertop, offering a contrast to the kitchen's sea-foam color scheme and echoing the white cabinets and accents found throughout the space.


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Picnic Style

Banquette Eat in Kitchen

To maximize seating and storage in this sunny kitchen, the homeowners installed a corner banquette. Simple white wooden boards work well against the marbleized silver and white wallpaper. The X-leg table evokes the playfulness of a backyard BBQ.

Related: 15 Photos That Prove You Need a Breakfast Nook


Best of Both Worlds

Banquette and chairs eat in kitchen

Love the nostalgic look of a banquette but prefer the flexibility of a table and chairs? Do as these homeowners did—position a table in front of a banquette and place chairs around it.

Related: 10 Ways to Bring Banquette Seating to Your Kitchen


Sweet and Simple

Counter Seating Eat in kitchen

Even the most space-challenged kitchen can accommodate casual seating at the edge of a counter. Here, the slight overhang of the tile countertop offer a graceful architectural detail. Blond wood and white stools fall in line with the room's predominantly pale color scheme.

Related: 18 Tiny Kitchens We Love


Formal Flair

Dining Room Eat in kitchen

In homes where the only dining area is in the kitchen, feel free to dress it up as you would a formal dining room. Upholstered chairs, an heirloom table, and an geometric chandelier add a sense of fun to the functional space.

Related: Bon Appétit – 10 Ways to Dine Without the Room


Widespread Appeal

Slanted Island Eat In Kitchen

To accommodate seating at the end of a work island, slant the counter outward as these homeowners did. Use your choice of seating to bring a bit of color to the room.

Related: 12 Outstanding Kitchen Island Options


Level Up

Work Island Eat In Kitchen

Use your seating choices to mirror the design elements of the rest of the space for a cohesive look. Here, metallic chairs mimic the metal light fixture that hangs over the kitchen island.


Table Time

Farm Table Eat In Kitchen

Although work islands have become commonplace in kitchens today, you can choose instead to devote the space to a traditional farm table like the classic example seen here. Counters that surround the perimeter of the room ensure ample workspace, while mismatched chairs unified by similar wood tones add a whimsical touch.


Dream Kitchen

Waterfall Island Eat In Kitchen

Augment the sophistication of a waterfall countertop with a set of sleek and geometric bar stools—that's what the blogger at Homemade by Carmona did in her classic kitchen. The straight lines of the chair legs echo the straight lines in the cabinet hardware to conjure symmetry and style.


Country Breakfast Seating

Farmhouse eat in kitchen

This country kitchen offers two seating areas at which to grab a bite. Bar stool seating at the kitchen island offers a convenient spot to drink a quick cup of coffee over the morning paper, and the round kitchen table facilitates a more leisurely meal. 


Table for 2, or 4, or 6

Kitchen Table Eat In Kitchen

A table for two or four or six can be placed in a kitchen, provided there's enough room. Here, a table can be used for extra work space during meal prep, as well as the dining table when dinner is served. 


Tiny Table

Tiny Table Eat In Kitchen

Many smaller kitchens can accommodate seating, provided homeowners think creatively. Folding tables, flip-down wall mounted tables, or slender tables for two like this one are all simple yet smart ways to fit into tight dimensions. 

Related: 9 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look and Feel Bigger


Double Vision

Double Seating Eat In Kitchen

Yet another take on seating two ways in the kitchen. High top seating at the bar and at the long and narrow table keeps the vibe casual, while allowing space to spread out. 


Pull Up a Chair

Window seating eat in kitchen

If the view is nice, why not pull up a chair at a scenic breakfast bar such as this one. Vintage school desk chairs get a splashy paint job, then make an eclectic fit with the weathered farm table. 

Related: Made from Scratch: 25 DIY Dining Tables


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