The art of the family dinner has fallen by the wayside in many homes. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t prioritize eating meals together.  In fact, studies show that families who eat dinner together are often in better moods.  Why wouldn’t they be—enjoying some family time in a comfortable dining area is something to look forward to at the end of the day.  An inviting space only adds to the benefits of a family dinner.  To create that inviting space, you need the right set up.  Here are some tips on how to do so.

Mix Styles and Be a Bit Eclectic

Don’t be stuffy or too formal. In today’s society, that can be a turn off for most people. Mix styles of your dining area: have a rustic, reclaimed long wooden table in your otherwise industrial themed kitchen. Mix the types of chairs around your table: have some that have high backs and some that have low backs. Mix and match colors or fabrics on the chairs. One popular idea is to have all the chairs on the long side of the table match, and then the end chairs are a different pop of color.

Have an Open Floor Plan

If your house has an open floor plan, take advantage of it. Don’t try to create invisible walls between the living room, dining area, and kitchen. Allow a flow through them to make one great room. This way, it promotes togetherness and bonding. When your children are working on homework at the kitchen table, you can be preparing dinner at the kitchen counter while your husband finishes the football game and you’re all doing it together. This is also a great way to hold large get-togethers. If there’s no more space at the table or counter to eat, family members can eat on the couch but not feel left out.

Take Advantage of the Counter

Breakfast bars and kitchen counters are perfect for more than just extra storage and room to prepare and cook. Add seating to them with bar stools such as the high back leather bar stool. Allow your children to have a quick breakfast at the counter in the morning while you pack their lunch. By implementing your counter as an eating area, your kitchen becomes a family gathering area. When you use bar stools in your kitchen, you allow more people to join in the conversation or the meal when there aren’t enough seats at the table.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Natural light has a lot of advantages more than just being aesthetically pleasing. When a kitchen has plenty of natural light, you and your family are more willing to stay in the kitchen, rather than just quickly gulp down your meal. The softer light is easier on your eyes and body than fluorescent lights. It will also allow you to create a layering and mixture of light sources that will change the atmosphere of the kitchen throughout the day, making it more inviting. If you have a breakfast nook, keep the windows around it open, especially in the morning. The nook will be a cozy spot to have a sip of tea or coffee and listen to your children’s plans for the day.

Be Minimalistic

A big fad in interior decorating today is a more simplistic, minimalistic touch. Use neutral colors on the wall and in the furniture. The calmer your dining area looks, the more inviting it becomes. Be intentional with decorations. Remember, less is more when trying to feel inviting. White is always a nice base to use for a few simple pops of color.


You definitely want a distinguished place for gathering and eating, or you and your family and guests may end up eating every meal on the couch in front of the TV! However, you aren’t your grandmother, nor do you want her stuffy, overly filled and formal house with crystal and china and expensive wood in a separate dining room. You want an area that is welcoming, that invites your family and guests in to gather, socialize, and bond over more than just meals.