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  • Writer's pictureFreestone Design-Build

Out of the Kitchen and Into the "Social Zone"

Updated: Sep 19, 2018

September 19, 2018

Ebby Haliday Realtors. Credit: Shoot 2 Sell Photography. Featured on

Anyone who has been to a party has probably witnessed the great phenomenon of all guests congregating in the kitchen. Why is this? Is it because of hunger and that’s where the food is located? No, not usually.

The kitchen is the heart of the home. In real estate, we often hear that “kitchens and bathrooms sell the house.” This is because these rooms are intimate spaces and the kitchen, in particular, is where meals and memories are created. Many of today’s kitchen’s offer multi-purpose living space, including large islands with seating, breakfast nooks, and even sitting areas with soft furnishings, to blend an element of seating into the room besides stools and traditional table and chair set up.

So what are we to do when our home is flooded with friends and relatives, ready to celebrate the holidays with us? If our kitchen isn’t large enough to hold all the guests, where do we put them? The answer is actually quite simple. Beyond adding onto your house, you can easily create what are referred to as “social zones,” simply by adding a focal point element to each of your main rooms.

Weston Residence: Traditional Kitchen designed by SLC Interiors: Interior Designers & Decorators. Featured on:

An example of this is to add a fireplace to your living room or a bar to your family room. When you do this, you take seating and gathering beyond just the main sofa/loveseat/chair seating. With a fireplace, you can add small ottoman type poufs or a bench that makes it inviting to cozy up to the fire.

L to R:, Image by ML Interior Designs /, featured pouf by / photo feature.

Some homes allow for a built-in shelf to be added that is sturdy and strong enough for seating. Additionally, a bar with simple stools can expand your family room options beyond a large sectional. By putting a bar with a few stools in the corner, for instance, you move additional traffic from the sofa and tv area and set up a conversation zone in another area of the room.

Custom window seat bench with storage, designed by

Lakeview project, Chicago, by Molly McGinness Interior Design, as featured on

Another option is to add window seating if possible. There are many types of benches that can easily be built under your larger windows and these can include hinged lids to open up to storage for pillows, blankets, games, etc. Adding cushions atop the benches allows for comfort, but also another opportunity to add texture and color to a room.

Look at your rooms, one by one, and imagine going beyond the kitchen, beyond the traditional seating. Find that little corner area, the spot by the window, the cozy station by the fireplace and begin to add simple, basic elements to make your guests comfortable and at ease.

September 19, 2018 by Dawn Duncan

Dawn Duncan is the owner of Yellowbright, Inc., a writing/editing/social media firm located in Fort Collins, CO. 970.980.6399,

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