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Kitchen table traumas

OK. So "traumas" is way overstating things. But I'm currently mildly perplexed about the kitchen table situation round my house.

The kitchen, along with most of the rest of the house, is undergoing a gradual upgrade (which I touched upon after Massive Wardrobe-gate a couple of months ago). 
The kitchen is where it's all happening right now. All over the house, we're trying to finish all the things that never got finished during the initial blast after I moved in – and repair some of the things I got wrong (or managed to totally bodge).

It's a work in progress – so excuse the Sellotape holding the washing machine together (visible shortly), the sparseness in places, the clutter in others, the extraordinary number of blinds, the cushion covers I haven't yet quite decided on enough to start sewing, the tabletop that really needs some love... 

Stuff we have done is get rid of the rather clinical ceiling spotlights that were there before, replaced with over-table hanging ones (lampshades as yet un-found) and put up a lovely wall cupboard from my grandma's house, pictured above, still sporting protective bubble-wrap (don't judge its contents: it's temporarily full of a load of old tat we didn't know what to do with, as you'll see below). We've sorted out some shelving on the other side of the room, which will be a post at a later date. 

And I also had a faint idea of getting a little round table to make the bench seating more useable too... and then something happened that's thrown everything. 

We had lots of family over for Sunday lunch and to fit us all in, moved the table over to the bench (see above). Instantly we felt a new-found warmth towards the bench, which we barely sit on most days. The kitchen table had a friendlier vibe, and we lingered at it for hours after everyone had gone, eating toast, drinking tea, reading papers, and marvelling at why we never sit on it. 

But then we were stumped: if we leave the table there the rest of the kitchen is crazily bare. I'm all for kitchen discos and this makes for a great dance-floor. But not every day.

A big round rug could sort things out, but that just didn't seem like it'd feel useful enough on its own in a kitchen. So we decided to get a mini kitchen table to go by the bench, so as to fill up the rest of the room again with the table as it had originally been positioned. In a frenzy of enthusiasm, we hit eBay and found a white Formica table of the exact dimensions we'd been considering: narrow and the same height more or less as the regular kitchen table (and that, we'd decided, was what gave it the cosy vibe we'd got excited about on Sunday – so we'd ruled out coffee tables of any sort). 

We bought the table straight away. In my excitement, I annoyingly managed to pay around three times what it was worth too. But never mind. It could be delivered for just a fiver and we'd have it by yesterday. It arrived. We put it in the kitchen. And it looked horrible.

The extra centimetre or two of height really make an impact, as you can see above. The narrowness – which we thought would be perfect as the big table slightly blocked the garden door – just didn't give us the tea, toast and Sunday papers feeling that we are becoming kind of obsessive about. 

So we first tried swapping the tables (above). Initially we left the lightbulbs where they were, and just put one chair each side. I wish I'd photographed that: it looked like we'd set up a police interrogation suite. So we changed the chairs and repositioned the lights. It didn't look so scary that way, but we did feel like we ought to be getting waiter service.

Then I tried a couple of other tables from elsewhere around the house, just to give a loose idea of other dimensions: a little table that usually lives in the hall, above, which looks way better aesthetically. But it doesn't make you feel warm inside when you sit by it. 

Then I tried the round table idea I'd originally considered, with our current over-the-sofa one – not the right round table, just a round table: my original plan was going to involve a less expensive variation on this sort of thing, Hay's DLM, around £130, see left. 

Again, like the littler table from the hall, it looks way better than the overpriced eBay buy. But it just doesn't have the same hang-around-the-table effect. 

We want it to look nice. But we are craving our happy corner. Any ideas?

Post by Kate


  1. Love how you had the big table by the bench, Kate. It's really cosy. How about a kitchen island/worktop type thing in the middle instead?

    1. That is something we did think of... if we can find the right thing. AND a big rug for good measure perhaps.

  2. I agree. It's not as good aesthetically, but I can see why you want to linger there

  3. Personally I hate rugs in kitchens, yuk. But then I'm a really messy cook. I think you should put the table bak where then bench is and add a large butchers block unit in the middle of the kitchen, with storage underneath. Maybe on wheels that you can lock so you can move it if you need more room to entertain.

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  5. I too think that this is a great opportunity to indulge in a kitchen island-I wish we had the space for one! You could add bar stools to it for an extra place to perch :)

  6. I'm looking at the first picture and thinking why not move the black chair and pull the table up to the bench? Love the blue fabric on the bench seating. Love your blog too.