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John Binder recently gave a presentation on Urban Design Trends and Challenges at a Young Leaders event for ULI.  During his presentation, one of the many topics explored was dining spaces.  This topic is important because as architects and designers when we are working on floorplans and space planning, one of the critical questions we have to answer is, “How many dining spaces should there be?”

During John’s presentation, this topic spurred a lively debate about where people really eat in their homes and how they use their spaces.  We thought that it would be fun to bring this topic back to the office and poll everyone on where they dine and what their preferences are.  Below are the results of our informal poll of the KEPHART team.

  1. Which Demographic do you belong to?
    1. Boomer – 4%
    2. Gen X – 28%
    3. Millennial – 68%
  1. How many people live in your home?
    1. 1 – 19%
    2. 2 – 45%
    3. 3 – 17%
    4. 4 – 15%
    5. 5+ – 4%
  1. How many dining spaces do you have in your home? (Only count true designated areas)
    1. 1 – 63%
    2. 2 – 33%
    3. 3 – 2%
  1. Where did you eat dinner last night?
    1. Dining room table – 23%
    2. Kitchen island/counter – 23%
    3. Sofa – 36%
    4. Restaurant or other venue – 11%
    5. Home of friend or family member – 0%
    6. Other – 7%
  2. Where do you most often eat dinner?
    1. Dining room table – 21%
    2. Kitchen island/counter – 21%
    3. Couch – 49%
    4. Restaurant or other venue – 0%
    5. Home of friend or family member – 0%
    6. Other – 9%
  1. Which dining space do you prefer?
    1. A – 66%
    2. B – 34%

Floor Plan

The last question regarding which floor plan option people prefer provoked a larger discussion about lifestyle and trade-offs.  The consensus was that most people like the flexibility of having a space to eat at a kitchen island or counter while also having extra room for a dining table.  However, if it meant having to pay more money for square footage for a dining table, some people said they would be willing to give up that space while others deemed it necessary based on their lifestyle – they have children or they love to entertain, so a dining space is necessary.

What this discussion surprisingly concluded is that most of us eat on our living room sofas.  Beyond that, it is clear that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dining spaces.  We need to provide options and flexibility.  Just because an apartment is located in the city and being marketed toward Millennials does not automatically mean that a dining space beyond the kitchen island is not necessary.  To provide the best design, we need to further explore and understand the lifestyle preferences of the people who will be living there and offer choices.

Now it’s your turn to join the conversation, where do you eat dinner most often?


This is the philosophy that drives KEPHART to create thoughtful homes and communities that positively change people’s lives.

KEPHART is a nationally recognized, award-winning architectural design and planning firm with 50 years of housing expertise. Our passion for designing well-designed places to live, work, and play has driven us to create more than 500,000 homes across the country, ranging from single and multifamily homes to workforce housing, senior living, LIHTC communities, and everything in between. We have a deep bench of talented staff to design and deliver innovative and practical solutions to meet the unique requirements of every project.