Country Living (UK)
The SOCIAL kitchen
Open-plan kitchens are an increasingly familiar feature of British homes. As rooms have become less formal and we now prefer much larger spaces, we’ve knocked down dividing walls, moved the dining table into the kitchen and got into the habit of eating, socialising and relaxing there. It’s the heart of the home, and that is reflected in our growing desire to add more comfortable elements.
No longer just for eating, the dining table needs to play multiple roles. It’s a good idea to choose one with extending leaves so it can be used for everything from grabbing a quick snack in the week to a big family roast on Sundays. What goes around the table has changed, too – built-in banquettes or benches with cushions instead of chairs can make it feel like somewhere to linger. Island units with breakfast bars are another way to make your kitchen more social, allowing you to cook, eat and talk all in one place.
Perhaps the biggest evolution, though, is the trend for bringing soft furnishings into the kitchen – sofas, armchairs and even rugs – transforming it into an extension of your living room. Think about the way you position furniture and key kitchen features. For example, it helps to have the sink, hob and some workspace on an island, so you can talk to other people while you cook rather than facing a wall. Tables and sofas should frame views of the kitchen that you want to show off or the garden to bring the outdoors in.