As much as I have blogged about formal dining rooms, I have barely mentioned a room that is used many times on a daily basis: the breakfast room (or casual dining area) that is usually found within or adjacent to the kitchen. I might have mentioned breakfast rooms in the context of an architectural feature, or maybe as a sidekick to a kitchen post, but I have never really focused much on breakfast rooms. I wonder why? Is it because the breakfast room can seem somewhat ordinary given its everyday use? Or maybe because my own breakfast room is shamefully neglected from a decor perspective. It could be that breakfast rooms are often lumped together with kitchens. Whatever the case may be, the homes that I have visited recently have given me a new appreciation for the function of the casual dining area, the different possibilities of its placement in a home, and the beauty that can be created in this area.
When I first thought of casual dining areas, I thought about the breakfast room of designer Michael Smith. The room is architecturally unique with its lovely octagonal shape and beautiful wood floors. I also love the lantern hanging above the table; casual dining areas allow for more casual lighting, which opens up a whole new realm of options. It is clear to me that this is not the breakfast room of a family, though; too elegant! I like that the expanse of windows is someone broken up with the curtains; it makes the room feel less exposed, but the doors can still be opened right into the back yard.
This photo shows the breakfast room in relation to the kitchen.
A styled picture of a casual dining area from the Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair catalog – I love the artful arrangement of plates, mirrors, books, and bowls of fruit. And, of course, Kasler’s signature Eiffel Tower – I have read that she has quite a collection of Eiffel Towers.
One of the breakfast rooms that inspired this post…it seems so logical to have the table set between the kitchen and the family room, in its own area. There are doors on either side, one of which leads to a courtyard, one of which leads to the parking court.
This farmhouse kitchen featured in Design Inc was created by Sarah Richardson. I like a kitchen and casual dining area that is completely open to the family room like this; it truly becomes the heart of the house. Even better is when the room opens up to a walk out backyard like this one does.
I have featured this beautiful kitchen and casual dining area many times on my blog! This time, the focus is on the sophisticated casual dining area. It is right in between the kitchen and the family room; the kitchen, casual dining area, and family room are in one big room that spans the back of the house. I love the set up of this table with its wing chairs, such an unusual choice in a casual dining area. The owner used outdoor fabric so that spills clean up right away; this is important as young children live in this house!
This Atlanta house, designed by Suzanne Kasler and featured in House Beautiful, has a true eat-in kitchen. I was surprised by this given that the house is 10,000 square feet.
Another conservatory style breakfast room. The French doors are stunning; I can imagine throwing them open and enjoying a meal inside but feeling as if I were outside. A chandelier would be more beautiful in this space, but a ceiling fan is probably more practical if this room is used in an indoor/outdoor way.
Another kitchen where the casual dining area gets the light and windows, and the kitchen is interior. Image from an Atlanta real estate listing.
One of my favorite images, from Traditional Home. I love the idea of a cozy dining nook with a big window and a lantern. Alas, this concept would never work with my three young kids – this might be an idea to save until the family dinner is no longer such a messy production.
When I saw this photo in Traditional Home (the picture in the magazine was wider, and more of the casual dining table could be seen), I immediately thought that the design of the kitchen, family room, and casual dining area flowed beautifully together. I also love it when there is a back stairs off the kitchen.
It is interesting to see how many different variations of casual dining areas are possible, most of which are dependent on the architecture and design of the home. Although I would generally say that I prefer for the light and windows to be part of the kitchen itself, some of my favorite images in this post have casual dining areas that have the light and window focus on the casual dining area, with the kitchens on the interior. The last few pictures in this post are perhaps my favorite; the kitchen has its own light and windows, and the casual dining area is surrounded by windows, yet still part of the family room/kitchen/break set up (and, interesting to note that the Michael Smith breakfast room that began this post has these characteristics).
Beautiful framed intaglios, available here:
Unique architectural renderings, available here:
Original paintings, as seen in top design magazines, available here: