Kitchen tables have been a vital part of family life for generations. They have been the place where people would gather to eat, work and talk about their day. Even as we have grown busier, and families have become fragmented, there is still something very comforting about coming together for breakfast, lunch or supper at the kitchen table. Children often use it to do their homework, or to work on a craft project, while people who work from home often choose the kitchen as their office for its warmth, light and proximity to the coffee machine.
So, what makes a good kitchen table? It must be sturdy and practical enough to accommodate the needs of everyone who lives in the house. However, it must also fit into the available space, and add to the room’s value, rather than detract from its practicality. Larger kitchens look fantastic with a wooden or ceramic-tiled traditional farmhouse table sitting in the centre. However, smaller rooms can benefit hugely from elegant, compact granite counter tops and breakfast bars. If you can, do make room in your kitchen for a table, as it can add so much to the room.
Making your table look inviting is also very important. Add nice touches, such as a tablecloth or attractive mats, plus a centre piece like a vase of flowers, bowl of fruit, photo frame or favourite ornament. It is also a good place to keep keys, diaries and other daily essentials so that they can be grabbed quickly when rushing out of the door in the morning.
The kitchen table is also important to help friends to your house feel at home. If it is a focal point of the room, they will naturally gravitate towards it, and can make themselves comfortable while you cook, or help you chop veg or prepare food. Then you can all enjoy your meal around it together. Invest in extra chairs for guests if you can, so that you will always be ready for unexpected visitors.
If your kitchen is on the smaller size, make your table work harder by choosing one with storage options, such as handy shelves or drawers underneath, or hooks to hang tea towels from. You can get tables that fold in for normal use, but extend when you want to sit more people around them. Or turn a rarely used kitchen counter or worktop into a table by clearing it and adding chairs or bar stools underneath.