Big Family Eat In Kitchen: Two Dining Tables in One Room

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We needed an eat in kitchen solution that was flexible and worked for our family with 5 kids. That’s when I got the idea to put two dining tables in one room, rather than one big one. Here’s how it went!

One of the reasons I fell in love with my current home was the fact that it had a separate dining room that opened into the living room via beautiful french doors. I had dreams of decorating that space and having big family dinners in there. Or maybe entertaining (I love to party) friends at dinner. I felt like a dining room at the very least would be the big family dining table solution of my dreams.

Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan. Since I work from home, the dining room initially became my office. Originally my office was downstairs in the basement, mind you, but after multiple spider attacks (I have severe arachnophobia) I couldn’t take it anymore and moved upstairs.

My Unique Two Tables in One Room Big Family Dining Solution

This arrangement fixes a lot of our problems at home but still leaves me with one issues: no dining room. Our kitchen is large enough for a kitchen table, and we did have a large, old table that was left here by the previous homeowners in that space. It just hasn’t been working for us, though.

With 5 kids at home the kitchen is truly the heart of our home. A major problem we have is when someone is doing something, say homework, at the table and someone else is having something to eat it can become a bit chaotic. We’re constantly in each other’s space.

I’ve been desperate for a new kitchen set but couldn’t find something that I loved and that would fit in the space. It’s long and narrow.

Restaurant Style Dining at Home to the Rescue

We actually got the idea while watching TV. Instead of doing a big table, do two smaller tables with a bench on one side. Genius! It was the perfect solution for our big family. Plus the price of the two tables, 4 chairs, and 2 IKEA Kallax shelves to act as benches were cheaper than a larger dining set.

Since we went with the shelves as benches they also have plenty of storage for less used kitchen items like cookie cutters or different baking pans. We just tossed a couple of inexpensive pillows on the benches but will eventually make a cushion to put on there.

Everyday Seating For 8, Room for More

There’s 7 of us in the family so we need the space on a daily basis. With our old table the family could barely sit around the whole table, but now we can all sit comfortably and have space.

For everyday, we will leave the tables apart. A lot of the time we don’t get to eat nice, sit down meals together because I’m always having to get up and do things for the kids or we are busy with evening activities.

When it comes to family meals, it’s no trouble to push the tables together. We can easily get extra family members (like grandma) around the table too, but we also have a few folding tables if we ever need some extra space in the kitchen too.

Get the Look – Budget Shopping List

These were very cheap tables from IKEA! All prices are as of today (June, 2022) in Canadian dollars.

ItemPrice (each)Qty
Kallax shelves$69.99 CAD2
Melltorp table$89.00 CAD2
Teodores chairs$29.00* CAD4
Turill cushion$4.99 CAD4
Mittbit table runner$11.99 CAD2
Total cost for our two table dining room$477.92 CAD + tax

A dining table and chairs with comparable seating will easily cost more than this, if not double or more. Even when picking cheaper options!

* The Teodores chairs we bought were now or never on sale. Their current price is $55.00 CAD ea. They’re also now or never. You could also get a cheap look by going with the Adde chair that’s only $20 CAD each. Or shop elsewhere!

Pros and Cons of Using Two Dining Tables in One Room

Pros

  • Lots of space for everyone
  • Kids can get some separation
  • 2 activities can happen at once without overlap
  • Smaller tables are narrower and fit in our space better
  • Tables can be moved around as needed

Cons

  • These tables aren’t as wide for bigger family dinners
  • Bench seating only good for kids, not as comfy for adults
  • Have to move the furniture for family dinners

Update: 2 Years Later

Since writing this post, we’ve since moved one of the dining tables out of the kitchen area. When we originally set up our dining area, we were using the formal dining room as a home office. Now we’ve since finished our basement and moved rooms around so we have separate offices, meaning the dining room is back for… Well, dining!

We opted to keep one of the dining tables in the kitchen as a breakfast nook, though. We find that the kids prefer to spread out when we’re not eating as a family.

I’m happy to report the IKEA Kallax shelf has held up! Even after over 2 years of use, it hasn’t broken yet. There is some sagging between the squares, but even us adults can sit on it and not feel like it’s about to break.

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