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.

White and wood farmhouse kitchen and dining area features aqua accents and an array of mounted animals.
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.

This modern farmhouse kitchen and dining area balances the medium wood ceiling beams and large dining table with the black bistro-style chairs and cabinets.
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.

The bright orange dining chairs and ornate yellow side table add a pop of color to this kitchen with its white cabinets and neutral floor.
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.

This mid-century inspired kitchen features dark wood cabinets, woven bar stools, and natural wood and weave dining chairs.
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.

The aqua tile backsplash in this kitchen adds color to the otherwise neutral tones of the cabinets, natural wood dining table, and medium wood dining chairs.
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.

The mint green cabinets work well with the dark wood round dining table, rattan dining chairs, and wood counter tops in this kitchen-dining combo room.
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.

The sleek, modern white cabinets with blue accents brings a good contrast to the traditional upholstered dining chairs.
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.

The blue cabinets in this traditional kitchen compliment the wood accents in the open shelving, floor, and island, while the metal stools add an industrial element.
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.

The mid-century inspired wood chairs balance the wood ceiling beams in this all-wood kitchen.
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.

The metal, industrial cabinets in this minimalist kitchen is balanced with a traditional barristers bookcase and wood classroom-inspired chair.
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.

This bright kitchen and dining area balances traditional upholstered barstools, bar area, and wooden table with fun orange and wired dining chairs.
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. 

The yellow backsplash and futuristic red chairs add color to this bright, mostly white space.
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.

The colorful mid-century inspired dining chairs, sculptural side tables, and modern art piece become the focal point in this minimalist kitchen.
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. 

The blue, white, and brown wall tiles serve as a color palate for the rest of this kitchen with its wood accents, white tulip table and blue Wolf oven.
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.

This beachy kitchen features baby blue cabinets, light wood farmhouse-style dining table and chairs, and ocean-inspired features throughout.
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.

This modern kitchen features upholstered dining chairs, a glass-top dining table, white cabinets, and an iridescent backsplash.
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.

This minimalist kitchen features a completely black and white design with sleek pendant lights and futuristic bar stools.
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.

The brick fireplace becomes the centerpiece in this classic kitchen with a wood pedestal table and classic black dining chairs.
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.

This industrial kitchen features black cabinets and modern black dining chairs with wood details in the credenza and open shelving.
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.

The sleek white cabinets in this kitchen balance the traditional wood dining table, dining tables, and upholstered accent chairs.
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.

The woven counter stools and light wood dining chairs add warmth to this sleek, modern kitchen with a tulip dining table.
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.

The large dining table and woven dining chairs sit beneath large, industrial-inspired chandeliers in this airy room.
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.

This classic kitchen feels cozy with its warm rug, wood accents, and upholstered bench.
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.

White walls and beam ceiling balance this mint kitchen with a tall wooden table and rolling antique-style bar stools perfect for a small space.
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.  

This traditional white kitchen features a baby blue tile backsplash, rectangular tulip table, lime green couch seating and vibrant blue Eero Saarinen dining chairs.
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. 

This white kitchen features traditional details like Parisian-inspired bar stools and Louis-style mint dining chairs.
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.

Black leather benches and dining chairs match the black elements throughout the kitchen with sage green-cabinets.
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.

This kitchen features industrial-style dining chairs on top of a classic black and white tiled floor.
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.

This kitchen mixes traditional elements like white cabinetry and pendant lighting with a colorful, artistic backsplash and modern yellow chairs.
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.

Minimalist kitchen with wooden table, bar, upholstered chairs, and crinkle-effect walls.
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. 

Kitchen with subway tiles, blue floors, a tulip table, and red industrial-style chairs.
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.

Minimalist kitchen with sleek cabinets, raw-edge dining table, and spherical light fixtures throughout.
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.  

Minimalist white kitchen with light wood farmhouse table and benches.
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.

Modern kitchen with metal accents, dark wood floors, and Knoll Cesca-style dining chairs.
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.

Modern dining area with large wood table, classic upholstered dining chair.
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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