Dining rooms are one of the most important rooms in a house; a room where technology is non existent & families come together to eat & catch up on each others days. It’s simple manors to not use your phone at the dining table which turns it in to one of the only places that people are forced to step away from social media & in to the ‘real world’.
So why is it that dining rooms are on the decline? Many new build houses don’t have dining rooms & many people are choosing to turn their once dining room in to an extra bedroom, lounge, playroom or it just becomes a bit of a dumping ground. In the UK, space is of the essence so property sizes are kept small & extra rooms are vital, but it seems such a shame that the once traditional space is on the way out.
We are also busier than ever so sitting down & focusing on eating rather than multitasking with catching up TV, texting a friend, sending an email or checking social media has taken a backseat.
The trend in open plan living has also meant that many opt for a kitchen island/breakfast bar to eat at rather than the traditional formal table & chairs.
Up until about 6 months ago, we’d rarely sit at our dining room table to eat. We’d typically feed Elsa & Rory at the kitchen island around 5.30pm then Joe & I would eat at about 7.30pm once they’d gone to bed, usually sat on the sofa catching up on TV & unwinding.
Now, I make sure to prepare meals in advance (if you don’t have a slow cooker then honestly, it’ll change your life) so that I can have dinner ready for 6pm when Joe gets home so we can eat as a family. Now the kids are getting older it’s easier to drag dinner time back slightly without them acting like they haven’t eaten in three weeks by 4.30pm (plus a biscuit bribe definitely helps…).
So what are my tips for a great dining room?
Go for an extendable table – the main use of this room is to seat people so go for a table with additional leafs to extend it when needed. Round tables will fit more people but do take up more space & can be hard in smaller rooms.
Include an area rug – this will make the room look large & fancy. Go for one that’s bigger than your table & chairs for real oppulance but do take into consideration the people that’ll be sat around the table aka if they are small & like chucking food around occasionally then go for something that is going to be easy to clean & definitely not too pale.
Don’t go for high back chairs – if you’re lacking space, you want to make the room look as big as possible so don’t go for high back chairs as this will instantly make it look smaller.
Use different forms of lighting – pendant lighting over the table to create a focal point & then use alternative light sources such as a table or floor lamp for mood lighting.
Don’t overload the room – in a dining room you need a table & chairs, a sideboard or dresser & not much else. Don’t cram loads of big furniture in or turn it into a dumping ground of forgotten/unwanted/to sort items. You won’t want to feast & unwind in a room that resembles something from Britain’s Biggest Hoarders.
The dining room is a place to gather, to socialise, to entertain…NOT to be used a handful of times a year (Christmas & the odd Sunday roast). So tonight, lay the table, turn the TV off, put your phone down & talk to your family.
Thank you for this post Charlotte! You’ve inspired me to clear the dining table and start to use it. We don’t have a dining room and ours is in the lounge but we’ll now use it to catch up on the day, turn off phones and tv and just spend quality time together.
Where did you get your table runner please?
Your home is truly beautiful and I just love looking through your photos.
We are about to have our kitchen/dining room decorated using a light and bright scheme (whites, silvers and greys)
We have a set of patio doors by the table and I’m wondering if there are any alternatives to curtains (they make the room feel smaller) and verticals blinds (too ‘office-y’). I have a three year old so those tassel curtains are a no-go too. Any tips or ideas would be very much appreciated 🙂
Sorry, grammar Nazi here. Second line down, ‘manners’ not manors’. Don’t kill me lol x
Love your dining table – where did you get your table runner???
It was from Marks & Spencers a couple of years ago – not sure if they still sell it x
I’m in a bit of a panic – the house my husband has bought has no dining room or any place to sit down to eat. The previous owners seem to have stuck their table in the middle of what is supposed to be the den, and have turned the original dining room into some weird bedroom/workout area.
I don’t know what to do, the entire house is a mess. Maybe I’ll just repurpose the original area back to what it should have always been, and take down the door that divides the den/room? The previous owners seem to have been really bad DIY folks. Nothing in this house makes any sense.