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Looking to part with partitions and tee up an open concept kitchen and dining room that stuns? For decades, designers and architects have been striking down the walls that exist between kitchens and dining rooms—both literally and figuratively—creating open spaces that put fluidity on full display. Open plan vets know that the most successful dining room and open kitchen concepts cater to the individual needs of both the kitchen and the dining room, while simultaneously putting a common aesthetic into play.

When it comes to kitchen and dining room ideas, space planning is key, but the rules may be more flexible than you think. Convinced a kitchen island and dining table can’t do back-to-back service? Architects may encourage you to reconsider. With a little designer deftness, counter dining and table dining can amicably coexist—not to mention fill a home with multitudes of dimension. Another option to give some thought? Kitchenette dining. A mid 20th century hybrid that has since fallen from consumer favor, kitchenette dining is making a comeback as of late, earning accolades for the smart way in which it merges the casualness of the kitchen with the formality of the dining room. 

In truth, the only limits when it comes to merging the kitchen and dining room together is your own imagination. If you’re on the hunt for ideas to bolster your confidence, consider these 38 striking open concept spaces that holistically blur the lines.

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Photo courtesy of Ashley Gilbreath

For a charming southern farmhouse, designer Ashley Gilbreath employed a vintage gymnastics bench pommel horse as a dining table bench. The bench’s low profile prevents the kitchen and dining room from visually feeling cut off from one another.

Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

To prevent a ten-seater dining table from feeling like a visual barricade between the kitchen and dining room, designer Zoe Feldman opted for shapely open-backed chairs. She also bulked up the room’s ceiling beams so that they appear like a visual mirror of the farm-style dining table.

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Photo by Michael J. Lee

In a South End townhome, Elms Interior Design elected to use high-wattage color, in the form of a shocking yellow bombe chest and orange-coated Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs, to encourage your eyes to travel from the dining room into the kitchen.

Photo by Jeff Herr

To make the dining room in this Sullivan’s Island home feel more like a private annex rather than a tacked extension of the kitchen, designer Angie Hranowsky suited up the walls of both rooms in contrasting wallpapers. She also applied a similar textured treatment to the ceiling of the dining room, ushering in a palpable shift in mood.

Photo by Chris Patey

Deploying a trick often used by restaurant designers looking to tuck in extra seating that feels more suited to indoor-voice-level conversations than bar seating, designer Sherwood Kypreos opted for a dropped standard table-height bar. Consider this the perfect remedy for those who crave an intimate dining room set-up, but lack the square footage to pull it off.

Photo by Amy Bartlam

Rather than try to compete with the pistachio green-painted cabinetry in this Texas home, designer Meredith Ellis opted for a brown wood dining set. It’s color matches the warm walnut-tone of the floor, lending it a custom built-in look similar to a kitchen island.

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Photo courtesy of Caz Myers

To tee up a consistent narrative between the kitchen room and dining room in this London flat, designer Caz Myers elected to juxtapose machinist bar stools with swoop-armed Art Nouveau-inspired dining chairs. Both hark to the same era despite one skewing ultra-casual and the other sophisticated and formal.

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Photo by Elizabeth Watsky

Holistic is the name of the game in this dreamy kitchen designed by Hannah Childs. To tie the two spaces together, Hannah opted to put effortlessly chic textures like wicker, stainless steel, and white-painted wood on repeat.

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Photo by Peter Margonelli

Wood can woo, especially in an open kitchen-dining room combo, as proven in this Hamptons escape teed up by the firm Eve Robinson Associates. Cerused oak cabinets paired with reclaimed ceiling beams, dark plank floors, and Jeanneret-inspired wood chairs result in a woodsy, yet aerie-feeling escape.

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Photo courtesy of Neal Beckstedt

You don’t need scads of square footage to make a combined kitchen and dining room combo work. By fashioning a barrister bookcase as a bar cabinet, designer Neal Beckstedt effectively transitions a hard-working kitchen into a relaxed-feeling dining space.

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Photo courtesy of Greer Interior Design

For a residence in Austin, Texas Greer Interior Design cultivated a contemporary space underscored with Mid-Century Modern appeal. To pull off the feat, the firm worked in easy-to-overlook but game-changing details. For instance: the barstools and dining chairs. Despite being crafted of dramatically different materials, both sets of seats harmonize because they echo the same classic bucket shape. 

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Photo by Jay Greene

Proving that going ultrasimple can pay off in ultraluxe results, WPL Interior Design counterbalanced a glossy white waterfall countertop with a white lacquer dining table. The two pieces’ similarities in appearance lend the dining room an almost built-in appearance, making the entire concept feel meticulously masterminded.

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Photo by David Cleveland

There’s something palpably playful about this kitchen-dining room combo designed by KNOF Design. Riotous pops of color break the expanse of cool gray tones, while Pop Art details like the billboard-sized utensil decals on the wall and the sculptural push-pin-style coffee tables spike the scene with an ineffable cool. 

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Photo by Pieter Estersohn

This convivial dining room and kitchen cued up by designer Tom Scheerer derives its breezy Bahamian spirit from crisp white cabinetry and shiplap mixed with high drama bolts of cornflower blue.

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Photo by Stacy Bass

Riffing off a coastal theme allowed designer Sarah Blank to effortlessly merge this dining room and kitchen. Pool blue cabinets create a striking backdrop for a pedestal table and Chinese Chippendale dining chairs. Rather than settle for a matte finish dining set, Sarah opted for a slightly weathered look to tie the set into the reigning nautical narrative.

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Photo by Rachel McGinn Photography

Since pendant lights drop low and can visually divide an open kitchen and dining room into two separate-feeling spaces, designer Megan Gorelick selected playful raffia pendants for this New Jersey beach house. The open-weave allows for visual sight from the dining room into the kitchen, resulting in a concept that feels cohesive rather than cut off.

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Photo by Bernard Andre

Illustrating that sometimes the simplest combos are the most compelling, this black and white open kitchen and dining room dreamed up by TRG Architecture + Design is straight-up stunning.

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Photo by Shade Degges

A rustic brick hearth underpinned with upstate sophistication provides a seamless transition between the kitchen and dining room in this farmhouse-inspired space designed by Sherwood Kypreos.

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Photo by Eric Hausman

Loft spaces lend themselves naturally to open kitchen and dining room concepts, but definition is key to making them feel homey. For a loft renovation she undertook in Chicago, designer Maren Baker situated the dining table perpendicular to the kitchen island to create the illusion of two separate rooms sans walls.

Photo by Alex Minkin

A homespun table and chairs set is elevated to near-artifact-level status when staged opposite a bright white ultra-modern kitchen designed by Zoe Feldman. So as not to make the dining set feel like an anachronism, Zoe installed black framed windows which feel both simultaneously modern and age-old.

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Photo by Vivian Johnson Photography

Taking a page from designer Anja Michals’s playbook, don’t feel you have to reinvent the rulebook when it comes to choosing barstools and dining chairs for a hybrid dining room. Here, Anja teamed similarly designed barstools and chairs to procure a no-fail combination that still excites thanks to the barstools’ woven leather details.

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Photo by Paul Dyer Photography

For a Napa valley retreat, Wade Design Architects employed high-backed wicker dining chairs to build a visual buffer between the dining room and kitchen. Visually, the tactic helps eliminate visual clutter.

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Photo by Jenna Peffley

Whimsical accents shared between the kitchen and the dining room, including a playful tiger kilim-style rug, tasseled chair cushions, and a prankish inverted head vase, tie together this storybook-style design by L.A.-based designer Stefani Stein.

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Photo by Katie Charlotte

Even a galley kitchen can be gallant, as displayed by designer Cortney Bishop in her own Charleston home. A table constructed to look more like a kitchen island than a formal dining table looks intentional rather than wedged in, while castor-equipped seats make transforming the table from rest space to prep space a breeze.  

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Photo by Nicole Franzen

Trading bar stools for a straight-backed banquet allowed NYC designer Lilly Bunn to work a full-sized dining space into a kitchen that might otherwise have been required to go without. Given that this look requires layering several sizable pieces back-to-back, take a note from Lilly’s book and forgo bulky legs on tables chairs. 

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Photo by Stacy Bass

Opting for round-seat barstools and oval-backed dining chairs gave designer Allison Caccoma licensce to integrate a round dining table into this charming, sun-soaked kitchen with ease.

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Photo courtesy of Caz Myers

Nixing half a set’s worth of dining chairs in favor of a banquet allowed London-based designer Caz Myers to transform an area that could have easily been designated living room space into a space-efficient dining zone.

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Photo by Annie Garner

When an attached dining space proved too small for end chairs, designer Maren Baker improvised and outfitted the table heads with metal stools. So as not to allow the utilitarian stools to feel discordant, a bulletin-style photo wall reinforces the laid-back casualness of the space.

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Photo by Stephen Karlisch

The Dallas-based firm Wesley-Wayne Interiors ingeniously lightened the feel of a dining table installed in front of a kitchen island by opting for a pedestal base and a tempered glass top. Chairs with net-like backs also echo the radial backsplash design behind the stove range, merging the two spaces into one.

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Photo by Mike Kaskel

Turning the notion of a bar stool-encircled kitchen island on its head, designer Maren Baker installed a proper bar-height counter ledge to create a visual divide between the dining room and kitchen. 

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Photo by Richard Powers

If you fear that dropping a dining space or kitchenette into your kitchen will cause visual clutter, follow the lead of Douglas C. Wright Architects in this Central Park apartment and strictly limit your color palette to two primary hues—in this case red and blue. A tight edit on the palette can make all the difference.

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Photo courtesy of Pappas Miron

Suspended globe pendants hung in different configurations both unite the dining room and kitchen in this holistic space designed by Pappas Miron, and lend each area its own individual character.  

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Photo by Anthony Barcelo

Designer Michelle Ruben put rectangles on repeat in this contemporary Swedish-inspired dining room and kitchen to stunning effect, while a wide array of contrasting materials, ranging from concrete to reclaimed wood to leather, drum up drama.

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Photo courtesy of Steven Gambrel

In a Flatiron District apartment, NYC designer Steven Gambrel showcases the virtues of using the same chair design for both the kitchen counter and the dining table. In both areas, a carefully chosen cantilever seat imparts just the right balance of uncoventional cool and machinist marvel.

Photo by Nick Johnson

New York designer Matthew Caughy leveraged the power of a partition for this combined kitchen/ dining room/ breakfast nook. Gridded glass allows sight between the two spaces, while a block of built-in cabinetry mimics the look of a casual credenza.

Lead image courtesy of Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design

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February 28, 2021

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