In This Small Kitchen: The Coffee Table Dinner Party

Eating at the Coffee Table

Alex and I just made the decision to stay in our apartment for one more year. While we wouldn’t say no to a little more square footage, we love our neighborhood and block so much we couldn’t leave. Since we’re staying, we’re attempting to do something very grown-up, something I’ve never done before: redecorate.

Out of nowhere, I’m checking One Kings Lane daily. I made a Pinterest board for furniture. I take out my measuring tape every night. It’s all very uncharacteristic.

We aim to calm the jumble of books, piles of cookbooks, fluttering papers and exploding file boxes that disrupt our living room. One of my other priorities is to add a dining table to the space. Right now, we have a wooden table in the kitchen where we never sit and a coffee table in the living room where we always do.

For as long as I’ve lived in New York, I’ve felt perfectly fine eating at the coffee table, whether by myself, with Alex, or with friends (as pictured above). The important parts of any dinner have always been the company and the food. That’s the BGSK way. So why do I suddenly crave a chair and a table of proper height (particularly this one)? Who knows.

Anyway, it’s made me curious: do you eat mainly at your coffee table? Swear by floor cushions? Or have any redecoration advice whereby a table will fit into a small space where no table has been placed before?

P.S. Since coffee table dining is sort of like picnicking, tips for packing the perfect picnic.

  • Taylor

    I completely agree. In fact, my wife and I have done away with chairs and simply use big pillows for our coffee table. She calls it “Asian-infusion.” Anyway, as long as you’re comfortable and in good spirits, C’est la vie

    • BGSK

      Comfortable and in good spirits it is! :)

  • Alexis

    Open kitchen/living room in Gowanus. We have a glass topped table that seats 3 that we rarely eat at (as in twice in the last year) We use the cafe table on the balcony about once or twice a week during the summer. Otherwise it’s couch and the trunk we use as a coffee table.

    Guests pile up on the couch and we drag the chairs around the living room. The dining table then functions as buffet bar.

    I just renewed my lease too, also in love with my neighborhood. I’ve also got the itch to do some (minor, crafty) redecorating… I’m used to the redecorating opportunities that came with moving apartment every year but I’m so happy to stay put.

    • BGSK

      A balcony! Well that’s reason enough to stay. There definitely is something unbeatably cozy about couch + coffee table, so I’m totally with you. Let me know if you happen upon some good DIY redecorating ideas!

  • Quyen Nguyen

    With my bad back, I don’t think I will be able to eat at the coffee table on a daily basis, but we do have dinners at the coffee table for special occasions: we have a Spanish picnic on Valentine’s Day or anniversaries with our favorite tapas from our study abroad in Madrid and homemade pizza and a movie night.

    • BGSK

      That’s an excellent point. I definitely don’t like having our parents over and forcing them to eat on the floor!

  • Mel

    We always eat at the coffee table, even though we have a dining table AND a kitchen table. When we moved from a small CT apt to a bigger GA townhouse, we actually got a bigger coffee table just for that reason! We use the dining table for crafts and projects, and only eat there for special occasions, like Thanksgiving. :)

    • BGSK

      Hilarious! It’s hard to break the NYC apartment-living ways I guess. Now I’m just picturing your dining table covered in fun craft projects – sounds pretty homey to me.

  • GoodRay

    Aaaah that table is BEAUTIFUL!! Now I want it too.. But round tables in small spaces are apparently a no-go. There are two of us living in 15 m2 (it’s like 60 sqf if I’m not mistaken), and we have that massive-wood ikea table that you can fold open on two sides. It has 6drawers and I fit seven people around it comfortably. When it is shut it’s 30 cm whide and 1m long. It’s not the most elegant solution but the wood is nice and so we can fit a visitor on the floor on a inflatable mattress! 😀
    But please, infect me with decoration-fever, we’re moving soon! (The table comes with us, we love it!)

    • BGSK

      Isn’t it so pretty?! I hadn’t heard about the round table in small space problem, but then I’m pretty new at this. Thank you for your comment!

  • jennifer schmittlin

    I had the exact same dilemma when I moved in my flat last year, in the end we stuck to the coffee table because we realised we’re more comfortable eating on the floor or on the sofa than at a proper dining table. I’m just not used to it anymore and can’t justify the space it takes.

    • BGSK

      Sigh. I guess it’s not such a bad solution after all.

  • Alexis

    I grew up eating at the table with a beautiful table set and proper silver and candles every night with linen tablecloths. My Mom taught me it was class and good manners to sit at the table and I have never eaten anywhere else then my own table however small. just spent 7 years in a studio cottage. I bought a café table and always had a beautiful table set where I ate. Now I live in a house and maintain the tradition of only eating at the table with proper placemats, candles, décor that matches and beautiful silver. I am horrified in my home when people suggest eating elsewhere and refuse. Its ok for many to eat in front of TV;s but I like the tradition, the beauty and the enjoyment of sitting down at a table to a proper table and meal. To me that is comfort and gives the meal you prepared special meaning.

    • BGSK

      This is really nice to hear – thanks for weighing in, Alexis!

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