Incorporate some of these welcoming elements to make your kitchen the place to be.

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Islands make a natural gathering spot. The generous proportions of this one in designer Mia Widlake’s Jo’burg home means there’s plenty of workspace. It can also accommodate at least four people for casual meals. “I need a big area for food prep and I like having guests around the island while I’m cooking. Bar stools fit snugly beneath an overhang on one side, while cupboards provide ample storage for my appliances.” Mia designed the dark navy cabinets which she combined with light marble countertops and white metro tiles. Sheepskin seat covers add warmth to the powder-coated bar stools from Chair Crazy.

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In an open-plan living room and kitchen, a dining table helps to demarcate the different areas. It also provides a surface for food preparation, quick breakfasts, a place where children can do their homework and is ideal for casual entertaining. Encourage guests to linger by including comfortable upholstered chairs.

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“I loved the window seat in the kitchen of our small flat, so when we renovated our new house, we were determined to incorporate one,” explains Claire Bodill, who shares her Durban home with her husband, Justin and son, James. “Our guests love to sit here, which makes the kitchen so much more sociable. And there are drawers underneath, providing ample storage space.”


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To make a kitchen more comfortable and less clinical, bring in furniture like a wingback and a sofa, where guests can relax while the cook is busy. Kitchen by Silverbirch Fine Kitchens and Furniture.


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There’s nothing like a fireplace in the kitchen to make it a cosy gathering spot. In this Jo’burg kitchen, a wood-burning stove from Morsø Fireplaces fits neatly into a facebrick-clad chimney breast. “We love to gather around the fire and really enjoy the atmosphere it creates. It’s wonderful in winter, as it heats up the whole house,” says homeowner Robyn Campbell.


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“As our clients love to entertain and wanted a social atmosphere in their kitchen, we decided to include a wine bar in the open-plan design and it connects the dining area with the cooking section. These days, there’s a big move towards including wine and coffee bars in kitchens,” says designer Gavin Cronje of Easylife Kitchens. “We used a combination of white satin sheen and aluminium finishes with Technistone Crystal Diamond countertops throughout for continuity.”

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