In praise of kitchen tables – plus a new photo gallery


A kitchen island can be fantastic, for seating and especially for expanding useful prep space. But in my mind, there is nothin’ more cozy, comfy, homey than a kitchen table set close at hand. There’s just something… egalitarian and *grounded*… about sitting together around that most basic piece of furniture. Mid-century America was boom times for kitchen dinettes. It seems there were a gazillion possibilities to love — and in my mind, the quirkier, the better. I’ve been grabbing screenshots from ebay for the past several months, now collected into a gallery of 46 examples.

In my 1963 aquamarine kitchen, we have the Crate & Barrel Saarinen tulip table knock-off. It’s everyone’s favorite place, and I can’t imagine the room without it. The chairs, which I bought from a place selling replicas via ebay, are not holding up well, by the way. I recommend: Hold out for something built in the period — if it’s lasted this long, it’ll last through your family, too. And it is SO FUN to search.

The kitchen table: Humble, like our houses. Do you have a wonderful dinette? I’d love to see it and share it with other readers. Email me photos at: retrorenovation [at] gmail [dot] com.

Note: Click on the first image — it will enlarge — and then you can use the arrows to proceed through the slide show. Enjoy!

  1. Sara stidham says:

    I just bought a dining set today and I’ve been searching all day for a similar one. and finally i found it, Do you know the brand name of the black and white set you have pictured?

  2. joyces jane says:

    Funny how when u are just relaxing and browsing, after decades of wondering what the perfect room divider/ storage cabinet would look like, you find it and cry out into the dark and lonely night, “Eureka, I have searched far and wide and here, in your simple splendor, you present yourself like a wise pearl from the deep”
    Perfection is always simple and unencumbered.

    1. pam kueber says:

      if you are patient and humble, the retro decorating gods will send you what you need, all in good time…

  3. erin says:

    I have almost exact to # 8 except chairs are black, and I would love to get it to someone that would appreciate

  4. MbS says:

    Oh my!!!!!! the last booster seat is amazing AND exactly like the one at the Rainbow Hotel in Great Falls, MT between 1964 and 70. My baby sibs sat in it, with me sometimes lifting them up!!!

  5. Becky says:

    I’ve got two–and room barely for one!–dinettes: a small red Daystrom from the very late ’40’s and a gorgeous yellow number from the other major manufacturer (forget their name) which I really love because the legs curve in to form a double tiered “cage” (two horizontal chrome bars encircle the legs) before splaying back out, again. 3 of the 4 chairs need new seats, and they’re awaiting my getting up the time, and the nerve, to do this: http://www.pinkofperfection.com/2006/09/the-hot-seat/

      1. Becky says:

        I just crawled around in the dog hair and found it on the bottom: ARVIN! 🙂 I’ll be sure and send pics once the seats are recovered. I’ve never seen table legs done quite like this…

  6. windylou says:

    THAT was the motivation I needed to finish re-covering the chairs to my awesome dinette set. Now I can’t wait to show y’all the before and after!


  7. Tikimama says:

    What a treat! I have never seen this amazing variety in these sets before.

    I am absolutely lusting after the table with the teapot and cup! It would make my Atomic Tea Party utter perfection! Sigh….

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