Should you put a couch in the kitchen? Interior designers weigh in on whether it's a good idea to create a 'living kitchen'

Dining chairs and bar stools can only do so much in creating a comfortable lounge spot. But what do interior designers think about moving a couch into the kitchen

should you have a couch in your kitchen
(Image credit: Neptune / Gilded Hearth / Charlotte Lea / Studio Duggan)

A phrase that is perhaps a little overused in interior design is that the kitchen is the "heart of your home". But while a little corny, it's certainly true. As the hub in which we all naturally gravitate, the kitchen is typically the biggest, warmest, and most inviting room of the home. So while it feels a little unorthodox, should we all be making room for a couch in the kitchen?

Barstools, banquettes, and dining sets have all had their time in the limelight as the most popular kitchen seating ideas, so placing a sofa in your cooking space seems like an indulgent but natural next step. 

While some swear by the cozy charm it adds, others question its practicality and whether it disrupts the traditional flow of culinary spaces. To shed light on this divisive kitchen trend, we've spoken with the experts to find out how they really feel about having a couch in the kitchen.

Should You Move The Couch Into Your Kitchen?

cream kitchen with a green couch

(Image credit: Neptune)

After plenty of Pinterest scrolling and speaking with interior designers, the answer is a little complicated. The simple answer is: yes – if you have the space, why not? The longer answer is: consider all the options first, weigh up how and if you'll use it, and don't forget to stain-proof your kitchen couch. 

Perhaps a side effect of open-plan living, where the kitchen now also moonlights as a dining space, living room, and occasional office, our kitchens are now so much more informal. This more free-flowing, multi-functional way of living has opened us up to a more sociable and comfortable 'living kitchen' movement where the couch feels right at home.

Or, maybe it's just an excuse to have a sit down while dinner cooks. Whether you’re relaxing on the sofa, preparing dinner, or hosting friends, having everyone able to gather in the same space creates a sense of unity and comfort that’s so important in a family home.

pink gallery kitchen with a fluted sink and a seating area at the end with a comfy couch

(Image credit: Davonport)

A kitchen with room to lounge is not only a privileged concept, but one that represents an attitude to cooking, hosting, and living that prioritizes comfort and togetherness more than ever before.

Impractical as it may seem, a sofa in the kitchen is much more suited to a sociable home than you might think. Kitchen island aside, your kitchen couch is the perfect spot for you to catch up with guests while still monitoring the oven, without you all being separated by closed concept rooms. And let's face it, a couch is a far more welcoming prospect than wooden bar stools.

So what do you need to consider before hauling the couch into the kitchen? Here, interior designers weigh in.

Create a separate lounge spot with a couch

kitchen with living room space with a navy couch and colorful accessories

(Image credit: Gilded Hearth / Photography Charlotte Lea)

If you're intrigued by the comfort of a couch in the kitchen but still want to preserve the functional integrity of the space, creating a separate lounge spot is a good compromise. Designating a specific area within the kitchen for lounging allows for the integration of a couch without encroaching on cooking zones. Sofas are a clever way to create zones, after all, and banquettes and couches can create an instant dining nook where no built-in exists.

'A couch in the kitchen is not just a good idea... it is a GREAT idea,' says Alexandra Azat, founder of interior design firm Plaster & Patina. 'With the kitchen becoming more of a gathering place than ever before, we think that any way to make the space cozier is a great idea, and what could be cozier than a couch?'

Consider factors such as traffic flow, sightlines, and proportions. By carefully positioning the couch relative to other elements in the kitchen, such as islands or dining tables, you can strike a good balance between functionality and aesthetics,  enhancing the comfort of the space.

Consider reducing counter space to fit a couch

devol founder's kitchen with black and white marble floor tiles and a velvet couch

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

From morning coffee corner rituals to casual meals, a kitchen couch offers a versatile seating option that maximizes the utility of the space. In some kitchen designs, especially those with limited square footage, the option to integrate a couch may necessitate sacrificing some storage and counter space.

While for some, this might seem like a significant drawback, in some smaller homes, a kitchen couch will allow for a seamless transition between cooking, dining, and lounging areas, ensuring every inch of space is utilized efficiently. Reducing cooking space to accommodate a couch requires careful consideration of the kitchen's layout and your priorities. 

'Having a sofa in a kitchen can be a good idea – if you've got the space,' says designer Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs. 'The kitchen has truly become one of the spaces where people love to not only eat but lounge as well. So, having a sofa in the kitchen can give you just that. You just need to be aware of how much space you have and what other items will be in play with it such as a table or other chairs. Sofas take up more space than a chair, so checking the width and depth is really important,' she advises.

Designer Tom Rutt, of TR Studios, agrees. 'Of course, if your kitchen is limited in space, then you really would need to weigh up the balance of worktop and appliances over a clear space for seating. After all, the kitchen is a very hardworking space so there are limits you will need to be comfortable with.' It's a delicate balance between optimizing comfort capacity and maintaining essential work surfaces for food prep. 

You could try two armchairs instead

two navy blue armchairs in a kitchen

(Image credit: Bethany Adams)

In lieu of a traditional 2-3 seater couch, setting down some squashy armchairs presents an alternative approach that doesn't take up quite as much space. This offers increased flexibility in your kitchen seating arrangements, allowing you to reconfigure to suit various spatial constraints and ensuring that the kitchen remains adaptable to our evolving lifestyles.

This kitchen nook above, created by interior designer Bethany Adams (who has been advocating for comfortable seating in kitchens for years) was designed as its own intimate cafe corner nestled between the walk-in pantry and kitchen island. The perfect spot for fostering conversation and connection.

'When designing your kitchen avoid the urge to add cabinetry to every available wall (I promise you'll have enough!),' says Bethany. 'Instead, leave some breathing room and add comfortable seating in the form of a built-in banquette for casual dining and gathering, or fabulous lounge chairs perfect for an afternoon coffee and book,' she suggests.

Alternatively, a banquette or bench offers more practicality

upholstered bench banquette seat in a kitchen with a table and chairs with a separate couch area

(Image credit: Studio Duggan)

Kitchens are inherently high-traffic areas prone to spills and stains, making fabric-upholstered couches a potential nightmare. So, you can do one of two things. Ensure you choose a couch made of wipeable materials like leather and be quite strict about placing it outside of the splash zone. Or, you could choose to build a banquette seat out of clever, stain-resistant fabric in its own area dedicated to both dining and relaxing.

'I'm all for creating a lounge area in the kitchen if you have the space for it, but I might advise using your extra space for a small cafe table and bistro chairs, or a long wooden bench, instead of a full-fledged sofa,' suggests renowned interior designer Kathy Kuo. 'In general, I like to avoid too much upholstered furniture in the kitchen just because there's so much potential for splatters and spills and no one wants to spend all their time cleaning an extra sofa.'

'The beauty of wooden or woven benches and chairs is that they're easier to clean and can be found in all styles and sizes, making it so easy to create a stylish and functional lounge area in your kitchen,' she suggests. A bench design not only maximizes seating comfort, just like a couch would but also promotes a clutter-free environment if you can conceal some clever storage beneath.

Be sure to include a table and comfy throw pillows

white kitchen with yellow kitchen island and vintage brown leather couch

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

Of course, just like any living room sofa or kitchen coffee nook, you want to place importance on the art of sitting down with a hot drink, a glass of wine, or curling up with a book. And what do all those things require? Comfort and somewhere to set down your mug.

A couch on its own could look a little bit like you've just dumped it in any empty corner, so be sure to style her up with plenty of throw pillows, a blanket, and perhaps a rug to help zone the seating area. When considering fabrics, again, you want to ensure they're left stain-free so try wipeable materials or indoor/outdoor items that are a little more resistant to water and food spills. 

Additionally, pull up a small side table or a low coffee table to encourage people to stay a little longer. Don't forget to include some ambient lighting with a table lamp or wall sconce that can be dimmed for when those leisurely conversations last well into the evening.

'Open plan living has changed how we use our kitchens to be more than a functional room; they are now the heart of the home and often the room where families congregate and a lot of entertaining happens,' says Richard Davonport, managing director of Davonport. 'This alone has fuelled the rise of informal seating areas so it is now pretty normal and common to see a sofa in the same room.'

'There is no reason why you can’t have a sofa in your kitchen, as long as the room is big enough and doesn’t interfere with the practical aspect of the kitchen - the prepping and cooking of food. You don’t want to try and squish in a sofa that then ends up making the space feel cramped,' concludes Richard.

Whether you opt for a traditional couch, a banquette, or a pair of cozy armchairs, it's never a bad idea to dial up the comfort in your kitchen – if you have the space. From a spot to sit and monitor dinner to a more casual coffee corner for your guests, try moving a couch into your kitchen and see how much it transforms the space. 

Charlotte Olby
Content Editor

Charlotte is content editor at Homes and Gardens, having joined the team the week before Christmas 2023. Following a 5 year career in Fashion, she found herself working at many women's glossy magazines including: Grazia, Stylist and Hello and most recently working as Interiors Editor for British heritage department store Liberty. Her role at H&G fuses her love of style with Charlotte's passion for interior design, and she is currently undergoing her second home renovation in Surrey - you can follow her journey over on @olbyhome