Published on November 14, 2020

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Photography by Laure Joliet; Styling by Kate Berry

The kitchen may seem an unusual spot for a sofa, but, really, why should the living room get all of the sumptuous seating in the house? Nestling a cozy couch up to your dining room table encourages guests to relax and linger during long dinner parties, provides a comfy spot to sip a cup of coffee, and can fit more people than individual chairs. 

It’s also an economical choice. A sofa for dining is basically just a step up from a restaurant banquette, and isn’t the kitchen where everyone hangs out anyway? Plus you’ll save on the custom construction (and headaches) needed for a complicated built-in. 

We know what you’re thinking: stains. But performance fabrics have come a long way in the past several years, offering superior resistance against spills and incredible softness. (Seriously! Knock over a glass of red wine on solution-dyed acrylic and watch it bead up and roll off.) Performance fabrics are also bacteria resistant and come in a broad range of styles and colors. One last piece of advice: We suggest a single cushion for a cleaner, more modern look—and less little nooks for crumbs to fall into. 

Still, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a kitchen sofa. Here’s what you need to consider before buying. 

Seat Height

Most dining table heights average around 30 inches, so to sit comfortably (without your knees hitting the surface or feeling like you’re a too-small kid at the too-big grown-up table), you’ll want the sofa seat height to be around 18 inches, though anything between 17 and 20 inches should work. 

Seat Depth

Because  you’ll want to sit upright to eat, look for a sofa with a seat depth around 20 to 22 inches. This gives enough back support—though you could always add in a few throw pillows, too. 

Sofa Length

You have a couple of options here. You could pair a round table with a sofa about 3 feet longer than the table’s circumference, which will still let you slide in and out easily on either side. Or, if you’re tight on space, opt for an armless sofa and couple it with a rectangular table about the same length. 

Ready to reconsider your kitchen seating? Here are 10 favorite sofa options. 

Tailored yet modern, the Riga is designer Eric Jourdan’s softened, streamlined take on a Voltaire chair, with removable covers thanks to zippers in the back. 

The curved shape of this sofa would work beautifully with an oval table, such as a black Saarinen Tulip table. It’s not stain resistant, but we love Vectra, a fabric protector designers swear by. 

Contrast piping creates a timeless, tailored look. But it’s the easy-care slipcoversjust toss them in the washing machine—that make it a success for kitchen seating.  

Perfect for a Connecticut country kitchen reality (or fantasy!), the oversize gingham upholstery on this wingback sofa is 100 percent solution-dyed acrylicso it stands up to pets, parties, craft projects, and anything else you throw its way. 

Frilly, flouncy, and a little moody, this skirted sofaslipcovered in a durable performance microsuedeis also armless, which makes getting in and out a cinch. 

This curvilinear option is upholstered in a textural black fabric that easily hides stains. 

A firm sofa with a single bench cushion (read: no food trapped between cushions), this leather beauty adds luxurious warmth to a cool kitchen.

This versatile pick comes in three sizes, two cushion types, and dozens of performance fabrics, which means it’s perfect for almost any space. The proportions are well suited for dining, and the slipcover makes cleaning spots a breeze. 

With retro-inspired channel tufting and performance velvet upholstery, this sofa is made for glam kitchens gleaming with brass fixtures. And you can spot-clean any spills. 

You can’t go wrong with an outdoor sofa. This one’s durable enough to withstand any type of weather, which means it can also hold up to even the messiest guests. It’s plenty stylish, too.  

Our Fall Style issue has arrived! Subscribe now to get an exclusive first look at Ayesha Curry’s Bay Area home—and discover how design can shape our world.

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