Blurring Boundaries

The kitchen-living room mix

Kitchens are the new living rooms. They are the heart of the apartment, where family members and friends meet to enjoy together. Furniture manufacturers are increasingly adapting their kitchens and products to this trend.

Feb 04 2019

Eat-together trend brings people to the table together

An increasing number of people in Germany live alone – and an ever increasing number of them love to eat and celebrate together. In large cities, restaurants have long since incorporated this trend and offer shared platters, bowls and tureens on long tables, from which their guests serve themselves. Restaurant owners refer to this as "family style dining" or "communal eating". "Restaurant owners in New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. already began introducing long tables years ago – and became table restaurants. (…) Thus, even the guests who don't know one another are forced to interact by the spatial proximity, from chair to chair", the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes, with the appropriate title: "Eating together: one eats less alone together". 

However, communal eating is not only popular in restaurants and cafes. Even in private, an increasing number of people are meeting to cook and eat together. On platforms like "join my meal" or "Eatwith" one finds people of like mind to bring delicious foods to the table. Whether with families, old or new friends – one thing is always necessary for eating together: rooms with enough space for cooking, enjoying and celebrating life.

Eating together – a feeling for life creates spaces for new things

While kitchens were often rooms reduced to the stove, oven, dishwasher and fume extractor hoods, they are today the heart of the home. Here one eats, drinks, laughs, cries, tells stories together with family and friends, while the sofa in the living room is increasingly becoming a place to retreat to to watch television or read alone. Those who have the possibility to combine both do so, and the trend scouts are unanimous: kitchens and living rooms are merging increasingly to become large spaces for well-being. This includes furniture for the living area being coordinated with the kitchen, and vice versa. Boundaries and rules are disappearing, as are wall cabinets and separating walls. Bookshelves, rocking chairs, sofas and cosy corners are withdrawing from the living room and into modern kitchens, are joining the stove, refrigerator, sideboard and kitchen table.

This development is clearly evident at furniture trade fairs. Several kitchen manufacturers present kitchen furniture that only has little to do with cooking areas and much more in common with living and dining rooms. Volker Irle from Aebeitsgemeinschaft Die Moderne Küche is certain: "The areas for cooking, eating and relaxing are principally cast from the same mould."

The new dining culture: open for many and a lot

In young families, kitchen tables perform many functions: they are not only set for eating, but instead provide the foundation for crafts and playing games and are also, thanks to growing mobility, increasingly often used as a replacement for the desk at home. In order to perform these functions, tables and the associated seating must be flexible, robust and practical. In demand are thus surfaces that are easy to clean and care for, as well as generous and in this case inviting dimensions, which quickly adapt to the needs of the moment, like extendible tables. Round tables also address the trend toward eating together. They offer all guests the same possibility to reach the bowls, trays and serving platters, and especially the chance to take part in conversations.


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