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Help me 'style' my kitchen diner family room please.

(61 Posts)
mumat39 Wed 05-Dec-12 11:58:49


I have some pics on my profile of our kitchen, dining and family room.

The kitchen is dark as it has no windows. We recently had the bifold doors fitted replacing the awful thick plastic framed French doors which has improved the light somewhat. But the 'space' just feels a bit bland.

S what could we do, without anything major to improve upon it.

In the corner, to the left of the doors there is a cupboard that houses the boiler. To the right of the sofa is an under stairs cupboard whis is full of just stuff.

We have 2 dc, age 5 and 3, and I'd love to make the area warm and cosy and welcoming. DD is now at the stage where she is starting to ask for play dates so how can I feel proud of our house. It's all so practical at the moment that it feels just Meh to me.

The kitchen is now in what was the garage, and we were restricted o the layout by mains pipes coming into the house. I would have loved an island or breakfast bar bu this wasn't possible. If we have people over, always tend to be in the kitchen with my back to everyone, which I hate.

One idea I'm toying with is whether I could put a breakfast bar next o the fridge on the left, sticking out into the middle. The width between the units is about 160 cm. would this work?

What else would you do to improve it all? I don't think DP will go for reprinting the walls so it has to be changed with accessories.

Also, our table is broken and needs replacing. I think it is too big so am looking at a smaller extendable one. I quite like the idea of a round one, but would that work? I'm looking at the round Bjursta or the Liatorp from IKEA.

Many thanks in advance.

mumat39 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:26:59

I'm having problems with loading the pictures. When I loaded the second one of he dining/family room, it replaces the first one with the same one. hmm. The kitchen one is up and one of the other bit. Thanks again.

AwaitingSnow Wed 05-Dec-12 12:30:12

I am lurking because I am also thinking of replacing our dinning room table with a round smaller one so seeing if anyone else has done this with success

Would you have room for an island on castors, so you could park it out of the way when not in use?

StNickHasHisXmasTeakozyOn Wed 05-Dec-12 13:02:02

As it's using what was the garage I'm assuming you can't put a window in, in which case have you thought about a skylight?

lalalonglegs Wed 05-Dec-12 13:09:30

It's really hard to see from the photos so my advice may be way off but:

(a) no to breakfast bar, it will just get in the way and cut across a useful circulation space

(b) bigger table and/or put more centrally in room. Brighten with tablecloth and contrasting cushions on the chairs (that will also play down the "woodiness" of the room).

(c) if you can face it, more distinctive tiles on the splashbacks (not a huge job and will make a difference).

(d) get more stuff out: nice toaster in brighter colour, big jar of wooden spoons and other utensils in bright colour, bright kettle, any nice kitchen equipment you have

(e) is that a TV on the wall (sorry, I genuinely can't tell)? The dining table is blocking it if so and needs to be moved away from it or TV has to move (might be better) and some seating arrangement devised for people who want to watch it.

(f) more art on the walls. Doesn't have to be anything valuable: could be photos, things you have pulled out of magazines, cheap prints etc. The trick is to get them mounted and then framed in similar style frames - Ikea do lots at reasonable prices.

(g) put up some floating shelves with maybe some cookery books (if you have and use any); more (framed) photos; any interesting bits and pieces you have (vases, funny-looking toys, whatever).

BendyBobsBrusselsSprouts Wed 05-Dec-12 13:15:40

I've got a similar situation. I quite like tree wall decals examples here <awaits to be told what awful taste I haveblush>

mumat39 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:21:36

Hi. Thanks all.

If no to the breakfast bar, are there any other ways to make the kitchen more sociable? I always feel like people creep up on me, ESP my dc who I often trip up over as they like to stand or put things down right behind me.

The tiles are these from fired earth. DP really likes them so there's no way we could change them.

What coloured accessories would you recommend?

The tv is on the wall behind the dining table and above the sofa is an enlarged photo. The dining table doesn't really block it when we sit at the sofa which is against the opposite wall to the tv. I'll upload a pic of the sofa wall in a minute.

Do you think a round white table would break up the woodyness?

Thanks so much for all your replies.

mumat39 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:34:29

Hello. I've uploaded the pic of the sofa now. The upload isn't working for me as it changes the previously loaded on to the same image. Anyway it's there now.

Bendy, I really like hose. Which one would you recommend? I have no confidence in what I like so seeing pictures is really good. Thanks.

MrsWoodforTrees Wed 05-Dec-12 13:46:46

Hello there mum
I would try the round table in white and maybe coloured chairs round it (I have seen dining tables where the chairs - either upholstered or plastic / painted weren't all the same colour and it can look really nice. )

I also think the idea of a moveable island or butchers block type thing in the kitchen sounds great - it gives you a surface to use where you can face the main room and also helps stop your DCs creeping up "fairy footsteps " style .

I would also look a big rug going under and extending in front of the sofa (I know not ideal in a kitchen but it would cosy up that end ) Also I would put cosier looking cushions on the sofa.)

I think your tiles are fab and that blue would look really good with deep aubergine or purple .

Also I would fill that space above the sofa with pictures rather than having just one .

Hope this sounds OK - I actually think you have a fab kitchen there

mumat39 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:50:32

pics again

lalalonglegs Wed 05-Dec-12 13:53:13

The kitchen is quite long and narrow and I'm not sure there is much you can do to make it more social without major upheaval (eg, move the hob to one of the side walls so that you don't have your back to people when you are cooking). I went to one house where a woman had installed a large mirror behind her hob (like a splashback) so she could talk and cook but I think it would be a nightmare to keep clean.

I'm guessing your room is L-shaped with the kitchen area filling one part of that L. How about moving the dining table to the other side of the room (ie away from the kitchen) and having the bit where it is now with more comfortable seating and children's play area so that people are drawn to that bit of the room. Guests don't usually want to sit at a table until it is time to eat but will sit on a sofa/armchairs etc.

A white round table could look great but they are not very flexible so if you entertain a lot and need room for 10 people but there are only 4 of you when you don't have guests, it might not work.

The colour of the accessories almost doesn't matter as long as they sort of go together without having to be identical: so acid colours/jewel colours/primary colours/pastels etc. I like gaudy bright colours so I'm probably not the best person to ask for particular combinations unless you are feeling brave. You just need something that will punctuate the space and give the eye something to focus on as, at the moment, it is very white. The tiles are very nice, in the photos they look white too though which is why I was suggesting something with more of a contrast.

The decal could really work - there is a very nice one towards the bottom of the link where they have hung lots of photos from its branches which could be stunning

I'm still not seeing a photo of your sofa, just lots of your table.

BendyBobsBrusselsSprouts Wed 05-Dec-12 14:03:24

Gosh I'm not sure which ones myselfconfused. I've only just been toying with the idea recently as we've just had our kitchen done. It's not dissimilar to yours actually and I'm really pleased with itsmile. Dh looked a bit unconvinced about decals so may/may not happen we'll see how it looks once tiling and painting are finished.

If you do a search on wall stickers or decals there are loads to choose from. Not just trees either there are designs, animals, even slogans and sayings (not my thing personally but available nonetheless).

You could have somethinig over the sofa maybe. Personally I like the more natural ones rather than they cartooney looking ones ie some bamboo here

or this

You Tube have demos on fixing them to the wall. Looks quite easy.

mumat39 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:07:41

Thanks MrsWood. smile

I really don't like the kitchen. I think it's because I'm often in it and at this time of year it's so dingy. sad also, I really like the tiles too, but they don't look as good without natural light.

The tables I'm considering are this or this

Where would you put it though?

Any ideas about what sort of bar? The kids behind me is a worry as we've had some near misses with hot pans and the kettle. It makes me so nervous that I do check but sometimes they'll be running around screaming, the extractor will be going and the tap running that I don't notice them there, so the barrier might be a sanity saver, plus somewhere for guests to sit at so they're not behind me too when they're over.

StNick, I forgot to reply to you before. We're in a town house so there's no way of putting in a window as we're no allowed to change the front of the house so can't get rid of the garage door. Also, no where to put a skylight as the room above is directly over the kitchen bit.

Thank you both so much.

mumat39 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:19:04

Did the link to Flickr work? That has all three pics of the room.

Lala, thanks for your reply too. I did think of a mirror as I'm sure that wold help with the light. What sort of mirror did the woman you mentioned use? The only trouble is that I'd have to look at myself which doesn't really appeal. <hmm>. But it could work, couldn't it?

The colours you and mrs wood suggested sound great. I love the idea of colour so if you had to choose which would you go for. I have loads of teal and blue cushions, so would they work on the sofa? And would that colour work in the kitchen, somehow, to tie to areas together

Bendy, I have some small decal type wall stickers in my Dc's bedroom and they're great and really transform the room. Theirs are funky bang on the wall ones that can be peeled and stuck down again.

Thanks so much again, for all your replies. thanks

BendyBobsBrusselsSprouts Wed 05-Dec-12 14:31:25

Maybe some partition shelving could segregate the kitchen without isolating it.

ie Could put some lighting in them.

Deux Wed 05-Dec-12 14:45:13

Does your TV have to be wall-hung and so high up? When I look at the photos it does look as though it is in the wrong place.

Can you move it down a bit or put it on a stand and have a sofa/tv area, then move the table to the other side of the room or vice versa.

I like your wooden table and would keep it for now. What about a rug underneath it or just a lovely tablecloth/oilcloth.

Some fabric/upholstery would warm up your family room.

Why can't you have a window in your kitchen, does it have any outside walls that are unattached? Even those slim rectangular windows up high might help.

lalalonglegs Wed 05-Dec-12 15:08:18

Could you use a sun pipe to lighten your kitchen?

The sofa is very dark and blockish - is it Ikea? If so, can you buy alternative covers for it that would make it softer? I think that teals and blues are lovely colours but they won't work trying to fight such an expanse of monochrome (the black sofa, the black/white kitchen). I would be bolder. Here is a bright kettle, a bright toaster, yellow scales etc.

I would move the sofa to the wall where the dining table is, turn the dining table 90 degrees and have it nearer to the window on the other side of the room. Maybe a rug centrally (which the dining table will partially sit on)? That will at least get people relaxing at the kitchen end of the room and make you feel a bit more included when you have guests (it also means when they are sitting down to eat, the kitchen can't be seen so it doesn't matter if you drop something on the floor it gets a bit messy while you are serving up etc.

mumat39 Wed 05-Dec-12 18:36:50

Hi lala.

The room is an L shape.
The tables I'm considering are extendable ones so would be able to fit 6 or 7 when extended but would take up less space on a day to day basis.
I have looked at sun pipes but I'm not sure how these would get light into the kitchen. We can go forwards as we're not allowed to add anything to the front of the house. Behind the kitchen where the extractor is at the end is the little bit of the garage that we use for storing things like bikes and the roof box.

We are in the middle of a terraced row of houses and the only way to get sunlight would be to go up. The back of the house hardly gets any sun which is why this is so dark.

The sofa is a dark brown leather one from DFS. If we move that to the other side,the tv would be above it. We have tried the sofa in the middle of the room facing a wall but it's quite big and just looks odd. The doors at the back open from the side where the sofa is at the moment, so we'd have to leave room for access to that. The sofa is about a metre deep so it's quite big.

The kettle you linked to was the one I was originally going to get but I wasn't sure it would work with the colours. Just shows I know nothing eh?

Deux, thanks for your reply too. The tv is on the wall to free up some floor space. I thought the height was a recommended one from a forum. <hmm> It's also at that end as that is where the ariel is and in the summer we do get some sun into the room for about an hour later in the day and it shines on the wall where the sofa now is which makes the tv difficult to watch. Not that that's so important.

Bendy, those shelves are really cool. Not sure DP will go for them though. sad
I really like the spring blossom decal. And the one with the pic frames is brilliant too.

Thanks again for all your help everyone and sorry for all my questions. [ thanks]

GrendelsMum Wed 05-Dec-12 20:20:38

I think that YOU need to put in some things that YOU like - right at the moment it looks so clean and neat and tidy that it doesn't have any personality. For example, DH and I have loads and loads of ceramics on display, just because that's what we happen to like (and because then people start to give you more ceramics for presents). So if you go into our kitchen, the first thing you'll see is vases and jugs and mugs.

Put up something that you like - whether that's photos of your family, or the place you had your honeymoon, or big decorative jugs, or house plants, or whatever it is you actualy like and want to be surrounded by.

icapturethecastle Wed 05-Dec-12 20:42:03

What about some coloured Arne Jacobsen chairs - different coloured chairs might look good [ here] then you can bring the colours into your kitchen. Personally I am not keen on round tables - I think a rectangle would be better.

icapturethecastle Wed 05-Dec-12 20:42:34

Sorry here is link here - I hope.

icapturethecastle Wed 05-Dec-12 20:46:10

here I was thinking of this

mumat39 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:36:38

GrendelsMum, thanks for replying. You are absolutely right but for some reason. Have lost all confidence in myself and have no clue what my personality even is anymore. I want a lovely home, but having had kids, everything seems to have become practical and therefore boring really, in terms of how our house looks. I like so many things I see, but even after deck uttering we still seem to have oodles of stuff.

My DP is quite set in his ways and often disagrees with my ideas. Sometimes it's because of something I haven't bought of, and sometimes just because he's a bit set in his ways. For example, he doesn't think curtains in a room with two windows need to match, which I don't get at all. So having to consider someone else's taste all the time has meant I've got a bit lost and worry so much about what other people might think, if that makes sense. It must be great when you and you other half agree on how o 'style' your home. Me and DP do sometimes and sometimes we don't. I wish he would just let me get on with it, but I'm not made that way and therefore have o ask his opinion.

Thanks though, as you do make a really good point. thanks

Icapturethecastle, thanks for those links. I really like the chairs you linked to. Our table has a broken leg that can't be fixed and also a few of the knots in the wood which had been filled <hmm> have come out and the table actually leaks and is difficult o keep clean. When we bought it, it was quite expensive but we didn't realise that the oak veneer was hiding the not very good wood beneath. So before I can convince DP to part with money for new chairs we need to sort the table out. Unfortunately the chairs are perfectly fine.

I'd definitely consider those chairs if we went for a white table as I think they'd add a really nice 'pop' of colour.

Thanks for your help too. smile

GrendelsMum Thu 06-Dec-12 08:38:41

Mumat - I do take your point! DH and I certainly don't agree on everything at once, though - in fact, I sometimes wish that I had one of these fabled husbands that isn't interested in what's in the house or the colour of the walls and curtains, etc. We just spend a long time discussing and agreeing what we're going to have, and it does get a bit fraught at times (especiallly the second time I'd painted a room only for him to come in and say 'that's the wrong paint colour'). However, we both have equal input and equal veto. It sounds a bit as though you have to make all the suggestions and your DH gets to give the veto.

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