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20+ Tips for Turning Your Small Kitchen Into an Eat-In Kitchen

By: Susan Kleinman
January 15, 2015

Do tight kitchen quarters force you to eat meals while standing over the kitchen sink? Nosh in shame no more: Leading design pros share their top tips for adding eat-in functionality to even the smallest of kitchens.

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Photo: Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Make Your Kitchen the Hub of the Home

Family and friends naturally gather in the kitchen so what could be more convenient than eating right next to where you cook? Eat-in kitchens give cooks and diners the chance to chat, simplify cleanup and keep the vibe carefree and casual. So what do you do if your kitchen is too cramped for a standard table and chairs? For a work-around that allows you to cook and dine in the same space, check out these smart solutions by creative kitchen designers.

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Photo: Photography by Lauryn Byrdy

Consider a Banquette

At just 120 square feet, with six openings interrupting the flow, this kitchen didn't offer many options in the way of seating. So kitchen designer Angela Bonfante tucked an L-shaped banquette into a corner, around a tiny table she found in a mail-order catalog. Using ready-made throw pillows from a discount retailer, rather than having custom cushions sewn, helped keep the budget in check too. "Small spaces can be both functional and fun," says Bonfante. "It just takes some ingenuity!"

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Photo: Photography by Ross Chapel. From: Marika Meyer.

Or, a Space-Saving Booth

Banquettes needn't be L-shaped to save space. The configuration of this kitchen by designer Marika Meyer better lent itself to a restaurant-style booth with benches facing each other, providing seating for four without blocking the window. Storage above and below the benches makes the most of this small space.

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Get the Custom Look for Less

If you like the idea of banquettes but don't want to have them custom-built, consider these dining benches by the Itsy Bitsy Ritzy furniture shop. Available in several stock length-and-depth combinations, the benches can be used in even the smallest kitchen corners. Bonus: Storage under the flip-up seats supplements scant kitchen cupboard space.

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