share post

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

by | Jan 18, 2016 | Decorating Inspiration, My Dining Room, My Kitchen, My Seattle House

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining SpaceBanquette inspiration photo: BHG

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend! Last week I shared a new idea for our kitchen that I’m pretty intrigued with! If you missed the post, you can find the inspiration photos and thoughts here.

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

Our current kitchen is tucked into the small back corner of the house, with the sink below a small window overlooking our neighbor’s new house and our side-yard, which is currently getting a fun makeover of its own (see that project here).

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

My plan is for this door to become a Dutch Door, no matter what. I’m going to try to make it happen soon, in conjunction with our side-yard makeover! Right now I’m on the hunt for the right door and getting the contractor on board with my visions :). You can find some inspiration photos for what I envision, here.

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

As I mentioned in my last post about the kitchen, right now I’m picturing moving the kitchen to the dining room so the sink can be oriented to face the backyard to take advantage of the view. The stove and fridge could be on the opposite wall (behind that wall is our basement staircase, so moving that wall would create more complications).

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

One possibility would be to open up the wall between the current kitchen and the dining room to create more flow between those two spaces. We could add the arch we originally envisioned (remember our painter’s tape archway?) for the dining room, or for a more wide open layout, we could actually take the entire wall out.

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

If the kitchen was going to remain where it is, that wall was needed for the stove so removing it wasn’t ideal, but if we move the stove to the dining room, that in-between wall could be opened up to make the two rooms feel more like one space (although the kitchen actually extends beyond that wall towards our fridge and the outside door, I’ll have to draw out the room floor plan so you can visualize better).

There are several possible dining room options, including the possibility of creating one bigger eat-in kitchen with the outer perimeter of the space lined with counters and the dining table across from the sink.

There are definitely pros and cons to that plan (as there is for every configuration so far, but that’s often how it goes unless you are going to rip the roof off and expand the house! It seems you always have to get creative with the space available to you!). I can share inspiration photos and do a floor plan for that full ‘eat in kitchen’ soon so you can see how that could look.

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

But the idea I thought I’d show today is the possibility of creating a dining banquette (one way or another I feel like I’m determined to find a space for a banquette!) right in this corner.

It would still essentially be an “eat-in kitchen” but the table could be nestled comfortably into one corner of the room, rather than out in the open workspace (with a bench along the wall under the corner window and around where the sink and dishwasher currently are). Paired with a narrow movable farm table and chairs, I think it would be very a intimate and inviting space without feeling too crowded or confining.

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining SpaceBanquette inspiration photo: Amber Interiors via My Domaine photography by Tessa Neustadt

Now, I realize with a corner banquette that you will have a couple of seats in the middle that require you to scoot to get in and out, but the view from the bench would be worth it. You could see right out the back window to the view in the day or into the new kitchen and through to the living space. Plus, banquettes are just so charming and space saving, that it would be worth the extra scoot. If you didn’t want to scoot or couldn’t scoot, there would be chairs! Our bench wouldn’t be that long anyway, so I’m not really worried about it. There wouldn’t be enough room for a full table with chairs all around it, anyway, so the built in seating would be the best solution in this small-space situation.

We would have to give up a formal separate dining room but we would be gaining a bigger remodeled kitchen with a view. I can live with that! I think the updates we would make would appeal to future buyers, too. The more casual and open but very charming dining space would be great for the way many people live and entertain these days. And if we (or future owners) wanted a separate formal dining room down the road, a nearby bedroom could be easily converted to a dining room.

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

We could add built-in dish storage cabinets and even a serving buffet on the back wall of the existing kitchen, where the fridge is currently located, to give it a charming dining room vibe. With the stove wall removed on the right of this photo above, there would be room to pass through the kitchen out to the Dutch door as well as to get around the table even if people were sitting there.

There is also another entrance to this space (to the right of the existing fridge) from the hallway so guests could enter and exit the dining area without going through the kitchen! It’s nice to have a floor plan that flows well so you don’t have bottlenecks.

So, that’s pretty much what I’m thinking, at least for the moment! You never know what idea might pop into my head next (I can’t help it!!), but so far this is the idea we feel the most comfortable with and seems to make the most sense both financially and space-wise. Now that we’ve lived here for a few months, I really feel like I’m becoming more certain of what works and doesn’t work and what would be the best improvements for this house.

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

I love the idea of making the most of our water, mountain, sky and sunset views, so doing dishes while looking outside seems pretty much like a dream to me!

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space

We love the generous size of our current living room so we don’t want to cut it up to expand the kitchen or dining room into that space at all. We definitely have some plans to update that room so it will all feel cohesive, though.

My Kitchen Remodel: Visualizing a New Dining Space
Dining nook inspiration via BHG

It’s fun to reimagine a space, isn’t it?

More inspiration: My Lifelong Dream of a Banquette


  1. Stacey

    Sounds like you have wonderful ideas to me! I would love to do dishes with that view.:)

  2. Katie

    I am excited for you with this plan! Those windows and views are amazing and peaceful, so who cares if you don’t have a formal dining space? Plus, as your family expands, a big cozy table will bring everyone together more than a formal dining room. You don’t strike me as a formal person- and the freedom to be who you are is more pronounced these days and it carries into the home!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you, I agree! We are not formal at all so it makes sense. I have a feeling we will use a cozy corner table all the time and be very happy with it.

  3. Kathleen W.

    We have a large eat-in kitchen, no formal dining room. My dad built us nice a nice bench for seating and bonus, the lid is hinged and I have storage in the bench for platters, etc. Our kids love the bench and it is a great way to get everone around the table when we host. I think the idea for moving your kitchen is a great idea. Having a nice view while at the sink is the best ! My view from the sink is a pasture with horses, it makes doing the dishes quite nice! Looking forward to seeing your progress with the kitchen.

  4. Erin @ The Impatient Gardener

    This exact setup we have in our kitchen. We put in the L-shaped banquette 6 years ago and it continues to be one of the best decisions we’ve made in this house. It created a lot more room in the kitchen, allowed us to put in a table that seats 7 (or 8 if kids are involved) vs. the four-seater we had before and it just fits out casual lifestyle so much better. Yes, you have the pickle in the middle, but that corner spot is fought over and for those who don’t want to ootch, there are 3 chairs to sit in. We went with4-inch thick cushions, which is super comfortable and raises the seating height on that side of the table to 19 inches, which most people seem to prefer. Just remember to get a trestle or pedestal table: regular tables don’t work with banquettes.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      It’s very encouraging to know you have this set up and it’s works well. I’m extra excited about it now! Thank you for the tips, too, great advice!

  5. Laura

    Sounds charming and fun and inspiring, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you decide to do!

  6. Vee

    Itt is interesting to watch from the sidelines as you make your way through the options. Whatever you decide upon, you will create a beautiful home. Concerning the Dutch door (a charming idea), will you make the current door into a Dutch door or will a new door be purchased?

  7. Jody

    I love your new idea. Moving the kitchen to the center of the house seems like the right decision. Otherwise you are kind of sequestered to the back of the house on your own. The dining space is virtually a big hallway so turning that space into a kitchen is genius.

    Cant wait to see it all come together…

  8. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

    Melissa, we don’t have a formal dining room either, and I don’t miss it at all. I’m still loving your idea of moving the kitchen to where the dining room is now, and I always love a good banquette too!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you, Jann! I am sure I’ll feel the same, it just makes more sense to really use and enjoy the limited space we have!

  9. laura {not a trophy wife}

    OMG! you are my remodel soul sister! I have almost the identical visions. My family is going nuts over my plans! So similar it’s crazy! laura

  10. Jo Jo

    I love your ideas! I think it will suit your home perfectly. We are building a new home and purposely designed it without any formal areas. Kitchen and dining area are one, but large and the open concept extends to the living room. People congregate in kitchens, the true heart of the home…no need for a closed off, separate dining room. Formality is for days gone by! lol. Hav fun dreaming, planning and executing your kitchen remodel. I know it’ll be beautiful!

  11. Shawna

    I love the idea of moving the kitchen into the dining room space. I vote for tearing down the wall between the new and old kitchen. And, I think the banquette idea is brilliant. Good to sit on ideas and let them simmer. I also loved the idea of having the sink flush with the windows. I really does look beautiful!

  12. sandyc

    First things first, Melissa. You realize, don’t you, that what makes your first inspiration pic from BHG absolutely perfect is the orange kitty cuddled on the banquette cushion? Have you discussed this with Jack and Lily?

    I think this plan is the best yet. You’re going to have the wonderful banquette you’ve dreamed of having, you’re going to have another dream kitchen, and when you’re done, I expect you’re going to have a unique take on “open plan”. As Jody mentioned, you’re dining room currently is just a huge open hallway from the LR to the kitchen and begs to be renamed and repurposed. I’ll be excited to see your vision of the whole new area viewed from the LR in. Thanks for all the additional kitchen pics to help us visualize.

    Of interest, your inspiration pix show three different window setups: The Amber Interiors with the wonderful equal cornering large windows, the first BHG pic with one large window and one wall, and the second BHG pic with one large window cornering with one small one, similar to your setup now. They are all three super lovely!

    So eager to turn the page to the next chapter.


    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Ha, I don’t know that Jack & Lily would be too thrilled about a kitty on the banquette but they may think that was just splendid, you never know! Thank you for your encouragement and excitement over this new idea. I’m glad you like it! I’m so happy to have the chance to share the ideas as they are developing! I do think I’m going to fall madly in love with this house, it is really starting to take shape, in my mind anyway, ha!

  13. Melinda Young

    I can see it and I love it! What a cozy corner spot too. It could be a cozy or intimate spot or for several guests to gather at too.
    Another bonus is the island in the kitchen. If it accommodates a few stools to sit at, another view opportunity. Sitting there while you work in the kitchen and being able to have the view out the kitchen sink window. How wonderful!

  14. Allie Freeman

    I noticed you have a HVAC vent under the window where you plan to put the dining banquette. Make sure your contractor extends a boot all the way out to the vent opening itself. We had a duct that emptied under ours without a boot, and hot or cold air filled up the whole cavity under the built-in. However, this caused the wood in our built-in to get condensation on it during a particularly hot muggy period with the cold A/C blowing in summer. Then we had mold. :( Best to avoid having ducts end anywhere except to the actual vent opening.

  15. Cathy

    I love your idea of a corner nook! Who needs a formal dining room when the kitchen is nice?

  16. Joanne

    Love your ideas and I think it will be gorgeous and super functional when you’re done! Perhaps a small mud room inside that back door might be an idea as well. We in the northeast always need a place for those coats and boots and shoes…
    Can’t wait to see the progress!

  17. Julie

    When you add banquette seating under a window, what happens to the heat vent that was located under the window? Does it need to vent out of the banquette somehow? I’ve looked at many pictures and have never been able to figure that out!

    • Allie Freeman

      See my response on this a few comments above. We had a real problem with this when it wasn’t done correctly.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      They would extend the vent out through the base of the cabinet into the room. We had a vent under our kitchen sink in our old house, it was so nice to have warm toes! :)

  18. Maggie

    Ok well now I see it!! Loving the banquette idea and the gorgeous views out that window will all be worth it.. Dutch doors are dreamy.. Can’t wait to see it all!!

  19. Mary

    15 years ago we turned our formal dining room into an office, just off the front entry. We enlarged our kitchen and just have the informal eating space with nearly floor to ceiling windows on 3 sides of a large round table. Have LOTS of windows in the kitchen to take advantage of the view. Very few upper cabinets, just on the inside wall in between the pantry and the refrigerator. This past fall while we spruced up the first floor we painted the kitchen cabinets white, switched out the backsplash and got Cambria Quartz black counters. Floor plan works like a dream, so no need to make any changes there. Enjoy your new home, it sounds wonderful.

  20. Carol

    I always love your ideas and posts? So excited for you and your remodel.

  21. Debbie from MountainMamaOnline

    That last inspiration photo is my favorite!! What a cool idea – and you could do built in storage under the seats, of course!

  22. AmandaH

    This sounds like a WONDERFUL idea! I think casual open kitchen and dining table seems much more desired these days as far as resale goes. Would you have an island with stools too? Sharing a floor plan would be nice. Design it how you and your family would use it and love it and I’m sure any future buyer would too!

  23. Adrienne

    Sounds like a really cool out-of-the-box idea! I can really imagine the banquette over by the kitchen windows, especially with that inspiration photo with the blue pillows, ooh la la!

  24. Lori

    I know you love coming up with ideas yourself, but the best thing we ever did in our home was to hire a designer. He had been a former contractor so could see the construction possibilities/issues with each design idea that he drew out. He also used a computer program that allowed us to actually see in photograph form of our actual house what each different design configuration would look like, giving us several different choices for our kitchen space. Needless to say, we never would have thought some of these ideas were possible in our space, and the plan that we used has been wonderful! It was worth the money, which was reasonable, and we have no regrets.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      I have definitely thought about it. Even though we can imagine it in our minds and do photo-shop mockups, it would be so nice to have the added vision and extra expertise! I just might do that!

  25. Molly

    It is so much fun to be along for the ride. Thank you for sharing your process with us! I love the ideas you have so far: I can totally envision the banquet table in that corner, the kitchen sink in the current dining room window, the charming Dutch door. I am really excited to watch how it comes together, bit by bit. You encourage me to think outside the box!!

  26. Jenny

    I love the idea of the banquette and am looking forward to seeing more of your ideas ! We are currently remodeling our kitchen and enclosing a connecting screened in porch. Trying to decide to make it a sunroom or open up for a bigger kitchen/dining area. I just started reading your book and it’s gotten me really thinking about what suits our family more than what is trendy or has better resale value. Thanks for getting me excited about my home again!!

  27. Laura Schmitt

    To make it easier to get to the banquette seating without having to “scoot” as much, opt for two smaller tables that can be pushed together when needed.

  28. Tracey Cross

    I have a narrow dining space that’s been patiently telling me for a very long time that it needs a banquette to really function at her best. Thanks for the reminder and the wonderful inspiration photos. Love your way of thinking outside the box ( or the kitchen as it may be) when it comes to your remodelling. So enjoying your posts and updates about the house. Looking forward to seeing the results.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you Tracey, I love sharing, so I’m really happy to know you enjoy being involved in the process, too!

  29. Melissa

    Thank you for continuing to share your thought process and vision with us! I’m loving being a part of it and I am realizing just how important living in a house, prior to making such decisions, can be. When I was looking at your Jan 12th entry, the third picture down, had the banquette in front of basically your dining room window. If you chose that layout, could you put your kitchen sink where you now are thinking of putting your banquette? You could still open up the sink, or have a half wall. . . It seems like the banquette there would offer a nice flow and you could still capitalize on the great view as you wash dishes? Whatever you decide on, I know that it will be lovely!

  30. susan maclean

    Over here (IK), separate dining rooms are steadily disappearing in ordinary folks’ homes – replaced by a large family space – cooking, dining, sitting. I really like your idea of the sink under the lovely big window, and the eating corner. Perhaps you could steal the fridge end of the kitchen for a utility area? Anyway, as I am sure I have said before (!) – I look forward to joining you in the redesign and the finished article!

  31. jc

    Why did banquets go out of style? They are versatile, offer hidden storage space, save space and are pretty!

  32. Cynthia

    When we built 11 years ago I wanted a dining room/kitchen combo. So, we built the house to include both a space large enough for the dining room table and hutch and the kitchen has a bay window eating nook. We have a small round pedestal in the kitchen with bench seating in the bay window and a large table in the dining room. The irony is that on any given family dinner we’ve sat 6+ around my small kitchen nook instead of spreading out to the dining room. I’m not quite sure why that is, other than it was my Mom’s favorite spot in the house when she visited. There is something about a cozy kitchen nook!

  33. Brenda

    That’s neat that you’re able to reimagine your space. My friend had that kind of kitchen seating growing up, and I always thought it was so fun to eat there at her house. A nice view would make doing the dishes more enjoyable. I wish I could change my view too, because it’s just of the neighbor’s house.

  34. Holly

    Gates are so charming! Beautiful post!

  35. Rachel

    One thing I continually find inspiring about how you approach decorating is how inspired you are to reimagine your space and how you really follow what you teach in your book– don’t be afraid of an empty room! I am seriously scared of empty spaces and am working hard on seeing possibility instead of feeling panic! Haha! I love your idea of adding a banquette! Thanks for the inspiration!

  36. moggie

    what happened to Jack’s blog? Clicking on the icon takes me back to your decorating blog…

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hmm that’s weird, thanks for letting me know! I’ll try to fix that when I have a moment, I’m not sure why it’s doing that!

  37. Susan

    I love your idea of moving the kitchen to the existing dining space. I would open up that wall between the dining and kitchen completely and definitely add that banquet in the corner. Take advantage of the beautiful view wherever you have the opportunity. Lots of good ideas Melissa. It will be beautiful when you are finished.

  38. Sally Durand

    I need some help! What color to paint a master bedroom with mid-morning light?. We have french doors and one window. We have marine blue lamps and dark wood furniture. The room is very cold – poor duct placement in it. We love blue, red and white. The master in our old house was white and we loved it, but the room was full of light. Our taste is elecletic but the furniture in this room is traditional. I have been back and forth between a warm white (which always turns yellow on me) and a blue. Thanks for your suggestions.

  39. Jennifer

    I find it kind of funny every time I see the reference to the Dutch door. I live in Holland, but I do not have a Dutch door. Actually, the vast majority of people here do not have them. I love the style, and I’d install one if I had the budget for it. They’ve fallen out of favor here, in exchange for frame doors with lots of glass. It helps make the narrow houses feel brighter, but it feels a little exposing when people approach the house.

  40. Amy

    Hm, I only just discovered this blog recently, and apparently I’m behind. When I got emails inviting me to check out ideas for swapping the kitchen and DR, I was surprised, because the stuff I’d just read was all about revealing a recent remodel on the kitchen!
    Whatever happened to that kitchen? Are you in a different house now? Are you a house remodeler and flipper, generally?

    Based on the floor plan sketch, the idea for the current space, to swap kitchen for dining area, makes a lot of sense. Of course if it’s not “to scale” it’s hard to tell, but looks like the house as it is has too much of its space devoted to the DR — or maybe I should say not enough to the kitchen. And separate dining rooms are totally not necessary these days, IMO. The kitchen window should take advantage of the backyard and view, as you say.

browse categories:

browse archives:

let’s stay connected!

Follow for daily
Home Inspiration:

get my free decorating guide

home decor inspiration, free downloads,
and more, straight to your inbox