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When it comes to parties, there is one place where everyone seems to gravitate; the spot where all good gossip is created and shared. It’s not the dance floor, the patio or even the poolside, the eye of the storm is always in the kitchen. No matter where the party is set, the kitchen is always the room to be in.
With many of us living in older houses that were built with a traditional lounge, dining room and small kitchen, more and more families are getting out the graph paper and working out the best way to make the most of the living space. Dining rooms are quickly becoming obsolete, with walls being knocked through to create larger kitchen diners. It’s no surprise because, in most cases, dining rooms are the most under-used room in the house. More often than not, they end up being a bit of a dumping ground for furniture that can’t find a home, not to mention the clothes drier and in some cases, a bike! In the middle of the room sits the lonely table, gathering dust whilst families choose to perch at a smaller kitchen table or even eat in front of the TV.
Not only is the new trend for maximising your kitchen space a great way to create a more user friendly room that will actually get used, it is also a brilliant way of bringing the family together (without the teenagers realising!). It isn’t unusual to have a big squashy sofa in the kitchen, along with the dining table and breakfast bar or island, creating stations for different members of the family to utilise as they will, whether it be for homework, browsing online or for the simple art of chatting. Just like in the good old Aga-sagas, once again, the kitchen really is the hub of the home, where everyone congregates. Stories are told and secrets shared whether that‘s over a cuppa in the day or a glass or two of plonk at night.
Thanks to Jamie and Nigella, dinner parties are much more informal these days and anything goes in terms of etiquette. It’s more than acceptable to shake up the menu, serving champagne with shepherds pie, which you help yourself to out of the huge bowl in the centre of the table. Eating is much more social, and bigger living spaces naturally lend themselves to inviting pals round for kitchen suppers. Staying in is the new going out, the food and drink flows readily, the playlist is bespoke and there are no last orders at the bar.
One of the best things about the kitchen is that it isn’t a seasonal room. In the colder months, it becomes a cosy den, filled with rich cooking smells from warming comfort food. In the summer, it is great to open up the doors and use the garden as an extension to your living space. So whatever the time of year, if you’re wanting to snuggle up or chill out, chances are that you will be doing it in the kitchen.
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