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Let's face it. No matter how nice your family room, living room or dining room are, guests seem to always gather in the kitchen. Some kitchen layout designs are now accommodating this trend by offering large seating areas, counter stools, additional counter space for serving and other layout strategies. But, for many reasons -- including having a small kitchen layout -- you may want to discourage this trend without seeming to be offensive to guests.
For example, if you change an open U-shaped kitchen layout or an I-shaped kitchen layout into a closed-C shaped kitchen, you will encourage traffic flow away from the kitchen and into adjoining rooms. But, by allowing a pass-through space, you won't close off guests from the cook and you can quickly carry food to them. In other words, with careful planning, you can re-design kitchen space to keep guests out of the cooking space but not too far away.
Many homeowners who choose this design option can still have an everyday dining table or banquette space just outside the kitchen. If you decide to keep your kitchen space relatively small to allow for these design ideas, you can pick cabinetry that maximizes your cooking space such as custom cabinets that go all the way to the floor, or a pantry-style cabinet next to the stove for convenient food preparation.