Do we really need a kitchen table??

(14 Posts)
Flappette Tue 22-Nov-16 14:13:55

Hello everyone

I am 42 year old, independent mother of a 7 year old daughter. I am currently studying an art degree at university. As part of my Material Culture module, I have chosen to focus on The Home and The Self. In particular, The Kitchen Table. With your help, I am hoping to create a discussion from which I could use some of your comments and thoughts as part of my research.

Initial questions I have started my reading with have been. Why do we gravitate towards the kitchen table when we have guests? Does everyone do teas on knees now? Is the coffee table the new heart of the home? Would the kitchen table ever be a thing of the past? How often do you use your kitchen table? Do you only use it for eating at? Or special occasions? Do you use it for other activities?

I’m very much looking forward to reading your comments, thank you very much for your input.

ByeByeLilSebastian Tue 22-Nov-16 14:17:51

It really depends on where it is for me.
We used to have a separate dining room and tbh it rarely got used, only really used when we had guests round.

Now we have a new house and got a huge table to go in it. We put it in a location we don't use much, so it didn't get used.
I moved it to a location that gets used every day and now the table is used every day.

We use it for eating at, browsing on the laptop, doing crafts etc with the children.

MavisGrind Tue 22-Nov-16 14:27:39

We have a separate dining room and eat most of our meals there. We do have a kitchen table but as we really need a new kitchen and it's not very pleasant in there it tends to only be for the cat to sit on! Once the kitchen is done I'd imagine the whole focus of the house will change and we'll mainly eat/chat/socialise in there.

Kidnapped Tue 22-Nov-16 14:32:29

That's interesting, Flappy.

I think it does depend on the size and layout of the house. We have a traditional farmhouse-style kitchen, with a kitchen table in the middle of a square kitchen. We do have a separate dining table in the dining room. That is mainly used for my work stuff, but we do use it if there are more than 6 people eating.

These days, other people might have kitchen/diners so people have their table in the dining area of the kitchen/diner, rather than in the kitchen bit.

Anyway, for us:

Yes, all guests are offered a cup of tea and we all sit at the kitchen table. Rarely do we go into the sitting room. Only if the guests are staying for more than an hour or so. We have a few neighbours who pop in and they just sit at the kitchen table. We do the same in their houses.

No, we don't do teas on knees very often. Pizza in front of Pointless occasionally.

We don't have a coffee table, just little side tables.

Kitchen table is used for EVERYTHING. Homework, going through bills, shoving stuff on to be sorted later, prepping veg if I want a sit down, put shopping on it.

frenchfancy Tue 22-Nov-16 14:39:30

kidnapped has it right. Our kitchen table is used for EVERYTHING. All meals, homework, crafts, baking, paying bills, playing games, cutting out sewing patterns. It really is the heart of the house and would be the last piece of furniture I would get rid of. Not because I love the table itself, but because of what it is.

museumum Tue 22-Nov-16 14:44:51

we have a kitchen diner and eat meals at the table but we dont' really have cups of tea with guests there. i think because it's out of the way - guests arrive at the front door and come through the livingroom first.
if i go to put the kettle on, they still may come to the kitchen door to chat with me but are unlikely to go right through the kitchen to the dining table at the other end.
our house was built in the 1960s without a dining area in the kitchen but it was added later (long before we bought it).

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Tue 22-Nov-16 16:42:01

We would be lost without our kitchen table!

All life happens there.

When the kids were small and when they grew up and all their friends came round, hours would be spent sitting talking.

All visitors just pull up a chair, whether we're having a cup of tea, glass of wine or food.

Sometimes eat on laps if it's just the two of us and something's on TV that we want to watch. We won't even do that in the new house as we're having TV in the kitchen for the first time.

Interesting subject OP, good luck with the project.

lilyborderterrier Tue 22-Nov-16 16:52:24

Yes I think so if you have the space in the house then yes definitely! Family meals are very important and I remember fond memories of my childhood and the treat of being allowed to eat tea on a try in the living room on a Saturday teatime!
We are fortunate to have a big open plan kitchen so have a huge rectangle glass table with 6 chairs, it's used for messy play, games, hiding under ( I have a nearly 4 year old) eating, baking ( very rarely) most of the time 1/2 of it is covered in stuff as we only need 3 sears, but I love it when it's cleared.

lilyborderterrier Tue 22-Nov-16 16:53:07

A tray ( stupid text)

Flappette Wed 23-Nov-16 18:54:42

This is perfect, I really appreciate all of your input!

Scotlass Wed 23-Nov-16 19:03:17

We have an open plan kitchen / dining / family room. Dining table gets used for kids breakfast and family evening meals most days. Also gets used for homework, occasional work from home and reading Sunday papers whilst having brunch. I'm really trying to make sure if we're eating its done at table and no TV or technology is permitted though 17yr old DD sneaks a peek at her phone and thinks I'm blind.
Coffee, tea we would hold so wouldn't sit at table for it. I can't ever imagine not having a table.
DH's family have table in their very small kitchen and we rarely move from it when we visit.

dottygamekeeper Wed 23-Nov-16 19:14:48

We have a large kitchen diner, which goes through to the dining room proper. We have an island in the kitchen which is used for food prep, but also a kitchen table, which I work at during the day (work from home), we eat breakfast there and eat family meals there in the evening. There is a large dining table in the dining room.

We read the newspaper at the kitchen table and drink tea/coffee there. At weekends we eat lunch at the kitchen table.

If guests are staying we often have tea/coffee/wine/beer there, rather than in the sitting room and if they are family guests ie grandparents/bil/sil we eat lunch there. We only use the dining table on special occasions.

DCs are at uni now, but when at home, DS used to do homework at the kitchen table. Dogs have their bed next to it.

I would never want to be without my kitchen table (but as I am tall, do prefer to prep most food at the island, unless it is a long job like shucking peas/beans, when I like to sit down at the table). The table is old and battered now, bearing the scars of 20+ years of eating, painting, working etc, and I have repainted its legs but I like it that way, as it sums up the life we have lived.

We have small side tables in the sitting room, where we might have tea/coffee/wine if we are watching the TV in the evening, but we don't eat in the sitting room.

TheNewWife Wed 23-Nov-16 19:23:00

I don't have a table in the kitchen as we have one in the dining room but the island in the kitchen is a go to for everything!

Coffee when friends are round, drinks gatherings at parties, piles of clean laundry to be sorted mid week, dinner for me and the DH if only us two (rarely on our laps unless there's something we are desperate to watch), baking station, position for iPad when I'm face timing family at home cos then I can see them whilst I work around. It's invaluable! I remember viewing the house and the large kitchen island totally 'sold' me as I knew I would use it in a big way.

In my last house we had a different kitchen layout and table was there instead and I used it the same way. Kitchen is the heart of the home?

Flappette Fri 09-Dec-16 13:46:00

All of your comments have been hugely helpful. Personally our kitchen table was barely used for its intended purpose. It is situated next to the kitchen door, which is the main entrance to our home, therefore it gets used as a hallway coat hanger/book bag holder/shopping dump ground. Yet the kitchen table seems to be the hub of family life to my friends and so it appears a lot of you guys. Since my initial post, I have taken steps to see if I can change the way we use this space. Two of the chairs have been replaced by a bench, seat cushions added and a rug to define the space as its own area. Coats and bags are banned. Miraculously its working! My daughter and I have eaten every meal at the table since, homework, both hers and mine, crafts, printing and drawing have all taken place here. She sits at the table chatting to me, while carrying out whatever tasks she has on while I prepare meals. I feel like I have gained an extra room in our home. Im now interested to see if this will last, or it its novelty. Im still interested to hear anymore thoughts you may have. Again, thank you very much for your input.

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