Planning your Dining Room1
Planning your Dining Room
The traditional British dining room has been having an identity crisis of late. No longer is it the place for serving up meals thrice daily as it was thirty years ago - now it plays host to hobbies, homework, office work and, predictably, storage. Yet, as the room that’s dedicated to entertaining without a TV in sight, it's a valuable commodity and one which does that rare thing: guarantees quality time together. A planning challenge it may be, but one that’s certainly worth it.
- Under-usage is a crime. A chaise longue with soft lighting will make your dining room a perfect place to relax.
- Kiddy-proof your table with a chic oilcloth.
- Make your dining room a pet-free zone. Pet food bowls and, god forbid, litter trays are strictly verboten.
- Schedule a dining room declutter every few months. It's amazing how quickly undesirables can accumulate.
- If space is limited invest in folding chairs and drop-leaf tables. Keep the table at its smallest to make the room look bigger.
Function & form
Consider whether your dining room will be used solely for entertaining or whether it will double up as a study/office or play space. If it has a dual function destiny keep the emphasis squarely on the dining and minimise the peripherals. House computer workstations within discreet storage systems or behind a contemporary screen and be utterly ruthless with paperwork (approximately 40% of all filing is outdated, so get shredding!) Pare down toy collections and pile them into matching baskets, chest or ottoman.
Sunday roast for eight means dishes that are hot and heavy so plan your dining room with quick and easy access to the table. Make sure the doors and drawers of dressers and sideboards can open easily – there’s nothing worse than having to move a dining table to reach a wine glass! And if your dining room is a reasonable distance from your kitchen consider splitting your crockery and cutlery collections so a set is always close to hand.
Insufficient storage, bane of the 21st century home, is a classic dining room faux pas. It’s easy to underestimate the capacity you’ll need for glassware, serveware, cutlery and linen, so if in doubt, go large. The traditional sideboard not only offers up tons of space but a handy surface for your iPod speakers, San Pellegrino, flowers and candles. If space is an issue, consider a corner unit or a slimline armoire.
Dining Room Table
All the action happens at the dining room table so it needs to be the focal point of the room. The key decider here is size. If you love entertaining you’ll want maximum bums on seats but your table mustn’t be so big that your guests can’t push their chairs back. Drop leaf and gate leg designs offer the greatest flexibility but tend to be restricted to wood. If it’s contemporary steel, glass or stone you’re after, the capacity is fixed unless you create a larger table top specifically for entertaining.
Shine a light
The single overhead 60W bulb will do your dining room no favours. For subtle bistro-chic hang pendants and chandeliers 30 inches above the table to cast soft pools of illumination. Dimmer switches are an essential, particularly if the room is used for play and work as well as entertaining. Clusters of candles grouped together on table, sideboard or console table will add to the intimate atmosphere.