Whether you have the luxury of a separate room just for dining and want a relaxed kitchen diner for family mealtimes, or you have opted for open-plan living and its your only dining space, most modern homes require an area in the kitchen for eating.

This obviously needs thinking about and factoring in when you embark on your kitchen design, so it's worth considering your lifestyle – how often you will use the space and what's the number of people you'd like to be able to comfortably seat? Would you like easy access to the garden or would a nice view of it suffice?

Need extra space for a dining area? See these cleverkitchen extensions.

Will you be using the kitchen diner just for meal times or would you like somewhere the kids can do their homework or sit quietly colouring while you're cooking? If you're intending to use the space every day, it may be convenient to have some storage nearby, so anything you need to set the table is to hand, or there's a cupboard or drawer where the children can store art implements or ipads.

Rather than chairs, a bench or banquet will provide the flexibility to accommodate extra people when you're entertaining friends and family. (Just add some stylish cushions if you like to sit and chew the fat over a bottle of wine or two).

Once you've considered how you will use the space, the room layout can take shape.

The look and style of your kitchen will obviously influence an adjacent dining area too, so when you've decided on the materials and colours you'd like on the walls, floor and cabinetry, ideas for the dining table, chairs and other furniture will emerge.

Check out these timber kitchens.

The kitchen diner ideas ahead show a number of styles to choose from and some of the kitchens that inspired them.

 

got the bottle

got the bottle

This room has become the heart of the home and where the family spend most of their time. The dining area is playful, with witty touches like the milk bottle pendant hanging over the table and chalkboard wall. Get the look The table is a Herman Miller conference model. Find similar at 1stdibs.com. The wire dining chair is from Modernica. The banquette was custom built. Davison Highley specialises in similar seating. The Milk Bottle lamp is by Droog. The vase is by American potter Robert Maxwell. Jonathan Adler sells similar ceramics.

in the raw

in the raw

Smart budgeting was a high priority with this apartment, so designer Amelie von Celsing had to decide where it was worth spending more and where she needed to be creative. She went to the marble warehouse to buy slabs of stone and marble and turn them into tables, at half the price of some of the store versions. Get the look The marble table is bespoke. Wishbone chairs are by Hans Wegner. The pendant lights are from Buster + Punch.

blue sky thinking

blue sky thinking

A long dining table extends from the work surface, surrounded by Hans J Wegner chairs in uplifting sky blue. Paired with a wood dresser, the effect is like a designer take on dungarees – country style with a knowing edge. Get the look The cabinetry and dining table were designed by Ofist. For a similar kitchen, try John Lewis of Hungerford. Go to Benchmark for a large dining table like this. These are Wishbone chairs by Hans J Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn. The Non Random pendants are by Bertjan Pot for Moooi.

step change

step change

The couple who live here admit to quite different tastes. Much of this home's dynamism stems from contrasts, whether brights against pale shades or traditional vs modern materials. Get the look The chairs were reupholstered in Butterfly Parade by Christian Lacroix for Designers Guild. The table is vintage. The pink skull ornament is from Graham and Green.

lighten up

lighten up

The key here was to create a calm, plain space and then add layers of texture. The sliding doors open up the house to the garden, blurring the distinction between inside and out. Get the Look This is a CH20 Elbow chair by Hans J Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn. The table is from Bulthaup. The bespoke bench from thefrenchhouse. co.uk is upholstered in an Alma leather. The willow swallows are by Lizzie Farey. The painting by Gemma Fripp is from Wimbledon Art Studios.

material world

material world

This dining space is now part of the new open-plan kitchen. The owners had originally bought dark wood furniture for the flat, but their interior designer suggested painting the table to give it a lighter, more contemporary finish, which also works well with the lime render on the walls. Get the look The chairs are vintage pavilion designs. Find similar at Habitat. The table is from Lombok; for a similar paint colour to that used on the legs, use Storm super eggshell by Fired Earth.

glam factor

glam factor

In this dining area, once-white walls are clad in a parquetry pattern made from reclaimed timber, scrubbed and stained for a driftwood effect. Get the look The Drizzle chandelier is by Ochre. The kitchen is by Martin Moore. The dining chairs are Italian antiques and the bespoke table is by David Carter.

on the panel

on the panel

Timber panelling painted black in the dining space makes a stylish backdrop for dining. Get the look The panelling is painted in Off-Black estate eggshell by Farrow & Ball. The dining table was bought at an antiques fair. The all-wood chair is vintage Ercol. Find the Eames DSW chair for Vitra at The Conran Shop.

small and beautiful

small and beautiful

Vintage tin ceiling tiles add a layer of decorative texture. To up the glam factor, a trio of Lee Broom crystal lights hang over the bijou dining area. Get the look The lights are Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb and Pendants. The table is an eBay find and the banquette was made by Christophe Clement at The Ugly Room. The cabinetry, which houses the fridge and freezer, is by British Standard by Plain English.

cool contrast

cool contrast

Despite its contemporary feel, the kitchen is filled with touchstones that add a note of history and tradition. The white china was a gift from the owner’s mother-in-law, who runs a cookery school, while the pendant light was brought back from a trip to France. Get the look For a reclaimed kitchen table and bench, try Pacha Design. Find a light like this at Hector Finch. The kitchen units were designed by Melbourne architect Stephen Akehurst. Try Plain English for similar. The rug is from Behruz Studio in Melbourne. Find similar at Luke Irwin.

cool contrast

cool contrast

Despite its contemporary feel, the kitchen is filled with touchstones that add a note of history and tradition. The white china was a gift from the owner’s mother-in-law, who runs a cookery school, while the pendant light was brought back from a trip to France. Get the look For a reclaimed kitchen table and bench, try Pacha Design. Find a light like this at Hector Finch. The kitchen units were designed by Melbourne architect Stephen Akehurst. Try Plain English for similar. The rug is from Behruz Studio in Melbourne. Find similar at Luke Irwin.

neutral tones

neutral tones

The kitchen floor has bandsaw markings on it, which age really well. As it gets more worn, it becomes more beautiful. A narrow vintage wooden dining table fits neatly into the space and complements the flooring. Get the look The cabinetry is painted in BTWN Dog & Wolf architects eggshell, by Paint & Paper Library. For similar flooring, try The New & Reclaimed Flooring Company. Pamono has vintage dining tables like this.

let there be light

let there be light

The double-height glass windows at the rear are the most dramatic expression of the owner's love of light. The house faces northwest at the back, so there is no direct sun through them. She would not have installed the huge windows if there was as it would have been too hot. Get the look Table, Tablemakers. These are Series 7 chairs by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen. This is a Twiggy floor lamp and Twiggy pendants by Marc Sadler for Foscarini. The Flora low-back lounge chairs are by Camerich.