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10 Ways to Give a Pocket-sized Kitchen a Dining Space

With clever planning and creative thinking, you can also dine in your small kitchen. Just don’t invite too many guests…

Houzz Contributor with over 15 years as an interiors writer, stylist and content… More

Fed up with eating cereal standing at the worktop, but baffled about how to squeeze a standard table and chairs into your kitchen? Take some time to reassess your small space and try thinking creatively. Are there cupboards that could be removed to free up some room, or is there space for a freestanding island and stool in the centre?

Your kitchen should be fun and functional, not awkward and frustrating. So tuck into these tiny kitchens that have been supersized with some clever planning and creative ingenuity, and you too could be cooking and dining in the same space.

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Create a cute café number
In a layout that’s only wide enough to squeeze cabinets down one side, the rest of the floor area is usually incredibly limited. With careful planning, however, you can mastermind a compact eating area and still have plenty of room to manoeuvre.

Estimate the maximum table size you can get away with that won’t infringe on oven or cupboard doors, and then opt for a round top, so you don’t run the risk of bumping into corners. Finally, select slim, lightweight chairs that are easy to pick up and move, so you can shift the setting easily. Look to café-style chairs made to be squeezed into tight spaces.

Fold-up chairs are also an option in compact kitchens, so you can maximise the space while you prep, then spread out when it’s time to eat.

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Favour long and lean
A long, rectangular table placed opposite a run of cupboards can double as a work surface or serving area, as well as creating dining space at either end.

Choose a narrow table to ensure there’s still plenty of space to open cabinets, but if the table is opposite a dishwasher or oven, usability of the space will be limited.

See 10 ideas for creating a clutter-free kitchen

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Tuck in a table for one
No need for big table? Then a cosy little corner is just the job for a quick bite or morning coffee. A redundant corner or alcove will make the perfect spot for an extra section of worktop and a smart stool underneath.

It’s also a great place to create a kitchen hub where you can catch up with unopened mail or unanswered phone messages. Pop a cork board on the wall and you’ll have a convenient noticeboard, too.

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Double as an island
In an open-plan layout where the kitchen appliances and units are along one wall, it’s often difficult to visualise the best place for the dining area. One option is to build a fitted island unit, or buy a freestanding design and site it opposite the kitchen wall, to create a visual divide between the cooking and living areas, and provide a casual dining space.

However, if you want a more formal dining feel and you don’t have space for both a table and an island with stools, position a dining table in the kitchen zone and you’ll still increase your food-prep space, because the table can double as worktop.

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Sacrifice some cupboards
Desperate for somewhere to sit and nosh, but can’t squeeze in any size of table? Then you might have to sacrifice a base cupboard or two so you can fit in a couple of stools.

It’s easy enough to incorporate this idea into a new layout, but overhauling your existing space could be a little more tricky. Don’t remove any units before you’ve checked the worktop has enough support without them.

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Keep it fuss-free
To avoid a small kitchen feeling too busy and cluttered, stick to a pared-down scheme with a calm palette. If you have the space for a breakfast bar, keep the design sleek, with a simple worktop that allows plenty of light to flow around it and continue the sense of space throughout the compact room.

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Make it the centre of attention
A round dining table is a great space-saving solution that can work in the centre of the kitchen, and, in turn, totally change the dynamics of the space.

While you may have to forego some free movement around the kitchen as you manoeuvre from the hob across to the fridge, for example, you’ll create a sociable and welcoming heart of the home that will encourage guests to sit and interact, so it will be well worth the sacrifice.

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Extend your worktop
It’s not necessary to fit in a large and spacious breakfast bar, particularly as it’s only intended for grabbing a quick and informal meal. Keep the worktop narrow, so it doesn’t encroach on valuable space, then consider adding open shelves above to combat any storage you’ve sacrificed for the eat-in spot.

Check out more breakfast bars with coffee shop appeal

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Add an overhang
Another super-simple yet effective solution is to extend the worktop to create enough overhang to fit two stools underneath. Again, this isn’t about creating buckets of dining space, but turning your functional kitchen into a friendly and hospitable haven.

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Raise the bar
In this kitchen, the tiered worktop screens the busy kitchen from view, while guests can enjoy a catch-up without experiencing the distractions – and occasional disasters – of the cooking area.

Pendant lights also help to define this eating spot and make a humble U-shaped layout feel more spacious.

Have you squeezed a dining spot into a small kitchen? We’d love to see photos in the Comments below.

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