Turning the tables in your kitchen

The kitchen table used to be a place for the family to congregate for breakfast, dinner and for a Sunday roast - times have certainly changed!

But while few families sit down together to eat, the kitchen table is far from redundant and still remains the hub of family life.

A study by insurer Legal & General entitled The Changing Face of British Homes reveals the extent to which eating regularly round the kitchen table has become a minority activity.

Only 11 per cent of families have time to sit down for breakfast together before leaving the house and only 30 per cent have dinner together each evening. The traditional Sunday dinner remains a highlight of the week for a mere 17 per cent of people.

Ruth Wilkins, head of communications at Legal & General, says: "Our research shows that fewer than one in four (24 per cent) of British households is what is viewed as the traditional 2.4 family and that our homes are changing to meet our different lifestyles".

So what's happening at the kitchen table? The study asked over 4,000 people how they spend their time at the kitchen table. It may not host as many family dinners as it used to, but - surprisingly, perhaps - it still remains very much at the heart of the home.

The kitchen table is commonly used as a study zone for both children and parents, with 40 per cent of children using it do their homework and 22 per cent of parents joining them to catch up with home admin and paperwork. However, the kitchen may also act as a distraction to serious study, with one in five family members (19 per cent) playing games around the table.

Perhaps not being able to afford a home with a separate study, dual-income young couples with no children are most likely to work remotely from their kitchen table, with 18 per cent using it as an internet café, browsing the web and checking emails.

Older couples whose children have left home enjoy the odd tipple at the kitchen table. These older couples, along with the retired and multi-generational families, are the people most likely to be boozing around the table, with almost one in five (17 per cent) having heart-to-hearts over a glass of wine.

For these older couples, it is also enjoyed as a quiet zone, where 42 per cent like to read the newspaper - this is now the kitchen table's primary use - and 13 per cent using it to write letters.

The survey also found that nine per cent of adults use the kitchen table to make love, proving that the kitchen table is the most multi-functional item in the home. Where else can you surf the net, pay your bills, have a glass of wine, read a paper, write a letter, occasionally eat something and make love?


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