Our kitchens see more traffic and more use, perhaps, than any other room in the house. This is especially the case with busy families. The kitchen has become central not only in our homes, but in our home life. We are spending more and more time in the kitchen. It is where we cook, congregate, work, entertain, discuss the day’s events, plan future engagements and pay bills. We also happen to eat in here. Our kitchens are outfitted with music and television sets and this space has become a true living room. Today’s kitchens are larger than those of years past and often have more than one seating area. It is not uncommon to see both an island surrounded with chairs and a separate space large enough to fit a table and several chairs. With two eating areas is there really a need for another?
Which is more desirable, the newer, open floor plan or the more traditional, dining room? There is no right or wrong answer here and people seem to be equally divided here. Some prefer the modern look and feel of a more open floor plan while others prefer the traditional setup with separate living areas. As with everything, the beauty here, too, is in the eye of the beholder. It comes down to family, living and lifestyle and perhaps even tradition.
Our lifestyles tend to be more casual today, and our homes are a direct reflection of this shift. Older homes, those built between 1920 and 1970s, with the smaller kitchen were outfitted with dining rooms just off the kitchen. Food was prepared in the kitchen and then transported into the dining room. Once a meal was finished, people would then relocate to another room… to the kitchen, perhaps, to clean and do the dishes, or to the common living area or to a bedroom.
Many Americans and most Europeans live in homes and apartments too small for separate dining areas. For those residing in apartments, lofts and smaller homes, the kitchen is, once again, the center of the home for entertaining as well as dining purposes. In lofts with open floor plans, large farm tables are often central to the space. Much in the same way a kitchen table has become multi-functional, these have as well, providing hours of family meals, and entertainment as well as a place for homework, crafts and board games.
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