The Ultimate Guide To Kitchen Island Dining Tables
The concept of the kitchen island started in the 1800s where a traditional European home often had a basic worktable in front of the hearth or stove. Thankfully we’ve moved on a bit since then and the modern-day kitchen islands are considered the epitome of stylishness in the contemporary kitchen and are a most sought-after feature in any property.
We all know the kitchen is the heart of the home and as such needs to be designed as a multi-functional place to eat, work and play. The formal dining room has seen its day and, if you’re planning a kitchen make-over, the decision to opt for a kitchen island with an integrated dining table or the more traditional self-standing table is dependent on several factors; environmental, finance and not least, personal choice.
Should I choose a kitchen island or dining table?
Traditional Dining Table Advantages:
- There is flexibility with a separate table that the kitchen island cannot compete with. It can be moved around the room or indeed out of the room, should it be required, with little or no effort.
- Tables come in a variety of shapes, mediums, colours and sizes to suit all tastes and room configurations. Even the smallest of kitchens with the most awkward floor layouts, can usually accommodate a table.
- A table, with the space underneath, provides an illusion of an open, larger floor plan; ideal again for the smaller kitchen.
- Many dining tables have the option of an extension leaf, making it practical for entertaining larger numbers, whilst taking up less room when not in use.
- It is easier and, usually, cheaper to swap a dining table should your tastes or circumstances change than it would be to replace a kitchen island.
- Traditional dining tables offer the most flexibility as to the type of dining chairs used – generally there are little restrictions as to what seats you can and can’t use.
- And finally, everyone likes to sit at a traditional dining table, for Sunday lunch.
Kitchen Island Dining Advantages
- Let’s be honest, if you walk into a kitchen with a central kitchen island, it is likely the first thing you notice. It often gives it the “wow” factor and can make an otherwise underwhelming kitchen something rather spectacular. It’s a great option if you like to show-off!
- You can choose to match or contrast your kitchen islands with your existing units – either to blend in, or alternatively to add a “zing” to the room
- Kitchen islands have the benefit of integral multi-function storage possibilities – i.e. deep-set drawers for all those pans and knives the chefs in the family seem to accumulate. There are even options for built-in sinks or a hob if desired.
- The kitchen island with integrated dining table provides extra seating for family and friends and perfect for social gatherings
- It is ideal for displaying kitchen accessories – i.e. a well-placed vase of flowers will make the kitchen/dining area welcoming.
- It can form boundaries between two areas; the cooking and dining area can be visually separated by a well-placed kitchen island.
- A space in the kitchen island can be made to accommodate a bed for any furry four-legged members of the family.
However, not everyone wants to eat at an island, so bear in mind that this option may narrow your audience of buyers should you wish to sell.
9 Inspirational Kitchen Island Dining Table Ideas
If you’re at this point in the article it’s likely you’ve settled on replacing your dining table with a kitchen island. With that in mind, we’ve put together 9 inspiration ideas that we think you’ll love when planning the design of your kitchen dining island.
1. Lots of curves and lots of storage
The on-trend curved shape of this kitchen dining island makes for very comfortable seating, with a large overhang for chairs to tuck under. There’s plenty of storage cupboards on the unit itself and the hob being situated on the island top is perfectly situated for entertaining. The slightly darker base units of the island table offsets the creamy coloured marble worktop and contrasts with the paler kitchen units, providing a sophisticated look for more formal occasions. The ambience is further enhanced by “dressing” this island unit with a large vase of flowers. The open plan shelving units above the kitchen sink are both practical and stylish further complementing the overall look.
2. A place for your pets
Just because your kitchen is small, you’ll find there’s no need to compromise on style. The kitchen island table unit above can comfortably seat 3-4 people, with the added advantage of Fido having his own space – with room for his collar! The yellow rug has provided a warm feeling to the room and, by adding a lick of yellow paint to the stools, it results in a very cohesive look. This kitchen lends itself to cheap and quick revamps – ie change the rug and repaint the stools and you will have a whole new look.
3. Add some personalisation
By using handmade tiles on the kitchen island, the owner of this kitchen has created a Mediterranian look to their home. These amazing grey tiles contrast beautifully with the warmth of the oak work surface and the matching oak and steel stools; the open shelving and almost mismatched walls and units create a relaxed informal look. There is plenty of room for entertaining in this kitchen – 6 stools can fit comfortably under the unit, and with the central sink/hob the host will not miss out on the conversation.
4. If budget isn’t an issue – go big
This is clearly a top of the range kitchen – the use of the kitchen dining island cleverly separates the dining area from that of the food preparation area. The use of chandeliers, rugs, flowers and padded benches, built into the kitchen island, make for very opulent surroundings. The timeless grey kitchen island which contrasts with the white of the main kitchen makes an already eye-catching piece of furniture into a real centrepiece with a huge wow factor.
5. Tie colours together
The example above shows how someone’s personality and taste can be used to liven up an otherwise very minimalist kitchen, with basic white units. Painting the walls and the kitchen island in this wonderful blue shade, and painting the chairs to match the floor and marble worktop brings life and colour to what could be a rather average space. There is plenty of room for 3 dining chairs at this unit – a great space for a small gathering.
6. Use loud colours
An eye-catchingly bright kitchen – matching green units and kitchen island show what can be done with the use of colours. Although a small kitchen island, it is very versatile, providing a working surface for a multitude of uses with the addition of an integral open shelf for display or storage purposes. The contrasting rug completes the flamboyant feel of this room.
7. Incorporate an extendable table
A great space saver for those smaller kitchens. This is a solid piece of furniture, with the advantage of being portable. This kitchen island has a slide-out table which, in addition to offering dining space for a cosy tête-à-tête, offers extra countertop space. There are also drawers and shelves for storage or display purposes.
8. Go Rustic
A stunning example of a large, simply designed, farmhouse kitchen island with an integrated dining table – lots of chunky, warm, “distressed” oak with open shelving underneath for crockery and storage. There’s room for several chairs and a great area for informal gatherings. The look is completed with an industrial style ceiling light, and contrasting warm yellow kitchen units.
9. Go modern
Plenty of room on this classy kitchen island with a dining table for a wine cooler – a definite plus for the party-goers! The grey and white kitchen and matching units are timeless and the intelligent use of metal ceiling lights altogether makes this a very calming room with a definite industrial feel.
Tips for dressing your kitchen island
Okay, so you’ve decided you’re getting a kitchen island over a dining table and you’ve even decided what type of kitchen dining island you’re getting. You’ll now want to know how to decorate your island. We’ve put together a few tips for you:
- Go for minimum clutter, definitely. Place one statement piece on the kitchen island, for example, a large vase with flowers. Or, if flowers are not your thing, try a large platter of fruit displayed artistically in a bowl.
- Have you heard of the rule of odd numbers? Things look better groups in 3s or 5s. The same goes for kitchen island décor. For example, 3 white vases all of varying sizes and shapes will look great displayed together. Nonetheless, be careful that you do not overdo this, or choose items that are too large, or you will be left with an unusable working space (or too much clutter. See point one).
- Go with a theme. The items on display on the kitchen island should tie into the rest of the kitchen, whether that be their colour or patterns. Similar groupings in the centre of the kitchen will create a strong visual impact.
Q – Can I use a kitchen island as a dining table?
A – Yes! Any island can be used for dining purposes as long as there are spaces for chairs, and preferably an overhang that allows those seats to tuck in for comfort. Using “dining room” chairs will result in more of a formal ambience whereas using simple kitchen style chairs will be great for a relaxed feel.
Q – Do you need a dining table if you have an island?
A – not necessarily. It comes down to personal preference and the size of your kitchen – you could have both if you had space, but it would not be necessary.
Q – Is it better to have a kitchen table or a kitchen island?
A – This depends on the size and shape of your kitchen, your budget, your personal circumstances, and on personal taste! Kitchen tables are more versatile, are generally cheaper and can be moved around to suit your needs. Kitchen islands, on the other hand, tend to create more of a visual impact and can double up as a hob, storage unit and dining space.
Considering A New Dining Table?
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