Why We Got Rid Of Our Kitchen Table And Replaced It With A Sofa

We never intended to replace our kitchen table with a sofa; like some of the best outcomes, it happened organically. We, like nearly 50% of American adults surveyed (via Wisconsin Public Radio) ate at the kitchen table. It was a small pine farmhouse type that sat four or six in a pinch, fit perfectly in the allotted space, and took spilling and battering like a champ. (That is to say, it was past the point where they made much difference). Our family used and abused it for 18 years, longer if you count the time it was a table for two. It's still standing — but not in the kitchen. 

As active cooks, we scheme and meal plan like our lives depend on it (they sorta do?). We've spent umpteen hours sitting on hard wooden kitchen chairs writing out menus and lists. We frequently dragged armfuls of heavy cookbooks to the living room sofa, though we've not yet resorted to carrying dinner there — as 30% of American adults do. We didn't know what any of this meant, but the crumb of an idea was forming.

Would a sofa that started off in our dining room work in the kitchen?

An emailed photograph of a vintage salmon sofa led us to an estate sale. We'd recently seen gorgeous professional images of dining rooms featuring sofas. All were places we could imagine supported the best ideas of family and friendship at mealtime. The realization hit that one could transform our dining room into a more chic and restful space — and it seemed like the perfect spot to sip a cocktail before dinner. Plus, it would allow us to sit comfortably just off the kitchen. We weren't planning to use it instead of chairs, so we didn't need to worry whether it would be a comfortable dining height. 

The sofa was available with a matching ottoman, which we purchased to create a pseudo chaise on one end of the sofa. We bought them for $40 and spent almost 3X more on renting the truck to get it home. So for about $140 we had a solidly-built sofa in great condition and the mood of our dining room was altered; it added seating, softness, and color to the wood-filled room. But above all, it welcomed us into the space in those many times when it would have remained empty. We're big believers in creating multi-functional areas around our home. They make it feel larger and hence more luxurious.

That's what made us think we might be able to create the same vibe in what is truly the heart of the home — the kitchen. It's where our family tends to always gather. Why not have the coziness where we would enjoy it most? 

Repurposing our kitchen table

With winter came the need for a warmer work-from-home area. So we decided to use our daughter's bedroom on the cozier second floor while she was away. The kitchen table would be an ideal fit in both size and style as a simple desktop, so we decided to reassign it as a home office/craft space surface. 

Surely dining rooms weren't the only strange places sofas were cropping up — foot-of-the-bed settees and kitchen couches were becoming more prevalent, too. As Domino points out, the kitchen is one of the coziest rooms in the house — and it's the heart of the home — so doesn't it make sense to have something comfortable to sit on there? Plus, the outlet explains that a sofa in the kitchen aligns with the slow and leisurely way many people like to approach cooking when they have the time to enjoy it. Lastly, it gives your company a place to relax and visit (but allows you some space) while you finish dinner prep.

Granted, our kitchen is not large, yet it has windows for an abundance of light and a natural delineation at the end opposite the range and countertops. There would be plenty of room for a sofa if we removed the table. But where would we eat? The adjacent dining room table, of course. It would force us to make use of the space now that there would be no sofa there to laze in. 

The heart of the kitchen

We moved the sofa into the kitchen, along with a small area rug to ground it. We ordered a drink table that fits a plate too. It has become the morning coffee and weekend settle-in to stir the stew spot. It's where we meet for busy before or during dinner catch-up. Its presence feels like a metaphor for homemade muffins or buttery mashed potatoes — any of those favorite unpretentious comfort foods that nurture and soften your shell. You can't put a bed in your kitchen, but it will almost feel like you did. Most evenings, we spread out on or around it, one child invariably balanced on the arm, making it work because it's better like this. Do we sit at the dining room table for everyday meals? Not usually. 

Would we have attempted this if our children were younger? If we had large or raucous dogs? Probably not. If you're intrigued by the notion of a couch in your kitchen but live with either of the above, there are durable fabrics and slipcovers. Domino recommends anti-bacterial and stain-resistant performance fabrics and a single bench cushion because one has fewer seams for collecting crumbs. We try to tackle any accidents as soon as possible, and maybe they did build things to last longer decades ago because the sofa is holding up wonderfully to daily use.

Are you convinced this is more than a foodie fad? Even if you hate to cook, you'll love it.