Kitchen is the Heart of the Home

We all know that the kitchen is the heart of the home. The necessity for nourishment is complemented by our desire for companionship with family and friends as we eat. Victorian era home design reflected the greater formality of that age. The rooms in houses were smaller, often more numerous and were used for specific limited purposes. The kitchen was a distinctly separate part of the house as was the formal dining area. After World War II, designers began to favor the open kitchen concept for houses. Open designs permitted interaction and flow between the kitchen, dining area and living spaces. The “island,” with its informal seating for smaller groups or family has become a mainstay feature. Dining areas have also become less formal with many opening up to both the kitchen and living areas.


When family and friends come together, we tend to celebrate with our favorite and most elaborate cuisine. This tradition has its roots deep in the past, when community feasts often signified deliverance from times of scarcity. Feasts and harvest festivals announced and symbolized survival and prosperity. In ancient days, dining rooms of castles were often huge and far away from the kitchen due to the danger of kitchen fires. But many working-class people had no dining rooms at all. In Victorian times, formal dining areas became the norm for the well-to-do. This involved elaborate and beautiful dining furniture and dining ware, which was often left on display. Some people still enjoy this formality, while others tend toward the more casual, but still elegant, dining areas and furniture of modern design.

Family Activities

Many homes now feature bars or islands off an open kitchen, where smaller groups of the family can gather for comfortable, informal meals. These areas also offer barstools for additional seating capacity when special occasions arise. Islands have become favorite places for children and teenagers to study or play games. Before the coming of the mobile phone, these islands (and bars or peninsulas) were often the communication hub of the home, with access to kitchen and living areas and a phone strategically placed. In this way, whoever was busy preparing food could cook and socialize or supervise children at the same time. Before the open concept became fashionable, the cook was often isolated from family, friends, and entertainment.

Dining Furniture Trends

Along with the open concept, various dining furniture trends have appeared. To mention a few: Smaller, less formal, dinette sets are often used for breakfast nooks. Partial bench seating has become a useful dining room alternative to chairs. Dining decor has become less stuffy and more playful for many. Bolder colors and designs are more common. Mixed chairs and other combinations of modern, rustic and traditional dining furniture are being explored, although the traditional and formal are still viable choices. Whatever changes in dining and kitchen furniture design may lie ahead, however, it’s a very safe bet that the kitchen will always remain the heart of the home.

Dining Furniture Design Tips for Entertaining This Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, now is the perfect time to upgrade your dining room furniture. Shopping for dining furniture is more exciting than ever, too, with a host of new trends that will give your entertaining space a punch of excitement and vibrancy.

The best dining furniture is functional, comfortable, durable and aesthetically pleasing. Today’s dining furniture shoppers can find everything from timeless classics to the latest trends in furniture and decor. We’ve rounded up four of the trendiest dining room looks for 2019 and 2020, so you can get ready for a season of entertaining in style and comfort.

Dark wood to bring elegance and drama

Your dining room table is a focal point. Make a bold statement with dark wood but mix it up a bit with contrasting table legs or lighter shades for upholstery on the chairs. Dark wood such as oxidized oak, espresso brown and painted black adds warmth to a room and works well as a backdrop for bright whites and light creams in dinnerware, artwork, chairs and other pieces.

This look works well because the rich look of dark wood evokes older, more formal furniture styles but the contrast also fits well in modern design.

Mixed-up seating to add depth and variety

There are no rules with dining room chairs and no better example than how manufacturers have embraced offering different seating options for tables. Mixing blonde wood chairs with dramatic grey or black stained pieces can turn a simple table into a work of art.

In addition to different materials and contrasting tables with chairs, individual seats can also vary in a set. One fun and exciting way to make any dining room look fresh and inviting is to mix chairs with long benches. As a bonus, the benches can offer greater flexibility, letting more guests enjoy your entertaining.

Combining wood with metal

When it comes to mixing and matching materials, don’t forget that there are countless options for dining room furniture materials. A metal table can mix and match with wood or resin chairs and vice versa. Glass tables can include wood or metal framing, and your chairs can match or contrast for a modern yet classic vibe.

Keep in mind that the metal and wood mashup doesn’t have to stop at your dining room table. You can incorporate a combination of industrial and farmhouse styles with accent pieces and artwork, too.

Step away from modern and make an antique statement

After years of modern, mid-century style furniture filling showrooms and homes, the trend is to soften this look with a throwback to the past. Antique furniture can add a vivid touch to your dining room, but you don’t have to scour through antique shops, pay a fortune or risk wobbly chairs. Today, you can find pieces that evoke the design trends of the past but are constructed with modern materials and techniques.

For some more design inspiration that follows the latest furniture trends, check out We have everything to make your holiday entertaining, and everyday living, more vibrant and comfortable.


Home Bar Design Ideas for Game Day

Building a home bar can be a dream project for many homeowners, especially for gathering friends and family on big game days. Whether you want a full bar in the media and game room or just a standing bar near the kitchen, it all starts with a plan.

Work the Angles
Consider using a bar layout that is more than just a straight line. A favorite can be a 45-degree angle at two corners that gives some extra space for standing or sitting. If you have enough room for an L-shaped bar then you have enough room for this style.

Choose a Durable Bar Surface
You don’t want to skimp on the bar surface since it’s the most hardworking and visible part of your bar. Marble and granite are great choices to give your bar a top-tier appearance and will last forever. Beautifully dark grained wood can give you a warmer look and is more in line with the traditional pub atmosphere.

Match Bar Stools to the Bar Top
The typical bar top stands about 31 to 43 inches from the floor. This means that bar stools need to be about 29 to 32 inches in order to accommodate most people. If the bar is taller, then the bar stools also need to be taller. It helps to have bar stools that have a back for some support. With so many styles at California Stools Bars Dinettes, you’re sure to find ones that work for your bar. If you’re having a difficult time deciding on a style, then selecting classic wood bar stools are always a good option as they complement any type of décor.

Use Pub Tables
To create a bar with little space and still have a great place to enjoy the game, consider using pub tables. Pub tables are generally taller than most dining tables but usually take up less space than a dining or kitchen set.

Use Pendant Lighting with Recessed Lights
Pendant lighting hanging from the ceiling is a traditional way to light up the bar. A home bar looks good with a cluster of pendant lights, but you may want to consider recessed lighting. The drink prep area will need good lighting. Under cabinet lighting can also work well in many bar areas.

Use Your Walls
Take a look at the space where you plan to put the bar and see if the walls nearby can become a part of the bar. It’s not just about the design because you can use the walls as part of the overall theme. Install shelves to hold bottles or a rack for your favorite glasses. Another option is to build open cabinets to store and display bottles.

Add a Mirror
Many public bars also have mirrors on the wall behind the bar — adding a mirror can be a good way to reflect light and expand the space. The right mirror becomes an important design element.

Consider an Outdoor Bar
If the weather is nice enough most of the year then an outdoor bar can be a unique choice. Outdoor bars should be built close to the home for easier access to amenities and you’ll want to make sure the bar gets plenty of shade.