The Evolution of the Kitchen Table

The standard family kitchen table has long been revered as a place to gather with your loved ones. Children can be working on homework while Mom is cooking up dinner, guests can chat with the host while she prepares food and drinks, and the family can all catch up together over a nice meal and discuss their day. However, this wasn’t always the case. The purpose and use of the kitchen table has changed over time, across countries, and in differing economic situations. Let’s take a look at the evolution of the kitchen table and how it gets used today.

A Historical Look at the Kitchen Table

Have you ever read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? Then you’re familiar with the concept of one room homes. Because of these, homesteaders such as the Ingalls’ would have a large table in the middle of the room where meals were prepared, sewing was done, and children’s schoolwork was completed. It was the main gathering space in the home. In wealthier families, there would have been a separate dining room that had the table in it, but it was only used for dining, not for any other purpose.

In more modern times, a kitchen table will be near the kitchen and will be the most used area in the home. Modern families of all classes will be more likely to gather around the kitchen table for a variety of activities. Some homes may also have a dining room for more formal events such as Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas dinner but it is less frequently used.

Kitchen Table Design Styles Through History

As mentioned above, homesteading or working-class families of the 1800s would have been more likely to have a large piece of wood with four wooden legs as their kitchen table. Wealthier families of the same time period would have used wood as well, but it would contain more elaborate carvings and likely be heavier and larger than that of the working class.

Over time, additional materials have been used to create kitchen tables with style. Wrought iron legs and frames with glass tabletops were very common in the 1990s, and they still are frequently used for outdoor settings because they are more durable than wood against Mother Nature. Today’s style also tends to be more minimalist, with slim frames, legs, and tabletops. We also are more likely to see plastic and enamel tables than in previous generations.

Shop for Your Perfect Kitchen Table Today!

At California Stools, Bars and Dinettes, we have a variety of kitchen table options to suit your family’s needs. You can opt for the classic wood kitchen table, go a bit more modern with glass, choose something durable like laminate, or try a versatile expandable kitchen table. Whatever you need, we’ve got it in one of our two locations. Shop with us today in either San Jose or Pleasant Hill for the perfect kitchen table for your family.