The traditional British dining room has been having an identity crisis of late. No longer is it the place for serving up meals thrice everyday as it was thirty years ago – now it plays host to hobbies, homework, office work and, predictably, storage. Yet, as the space thats dedicated to entertaining with out a TV in sight, it’s a valuable commodity and a single which does that rare thing: guarantees quality time together. A planning challenge it may perhaps be, but a single thats certainly worth it. Planning tips Under-usage is a crime. A chaise longue with soft lighting will make your dining room a ideal spot to relax. Kidd-proof your table having a chic oilcloth. Make your dining space a pet-free zone. Pet food bowls and, god forbid, litter trays are strictly verboten.
Schedule a dining area declutter every few months. It is amazing how swiftly undesirables can accumulate. If room or space is limited invest in folding chairs and drop-leaf tables. Maintain the table at its smallest to make the space look larger.
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 place. If it has a dual function destiny keep the emphasis squarely on the dining and minimize 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systems or behind a contemporary screen and be utterly ruthless with paperwork (approximately 40% of all filing is outdated, so get shredding!)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 space with quick and easy access to the table. Make sure the doors and drawers of dressers and sideboards can open easily C theirs nothing worse than having to move a table to reach a wine glass! And if your dining space 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 space faux pas. Its easy to underestimate the capacity you will need for glassware, serve ware, cutlery and linen, so if in doubt, go large. The conventional sideboard not only offers up tons of place but a handy surface for your iPod speakers, San Pellegrino, flowers and candles. If room or space is an issue, consider a corner unit or a slimline armorer.
All the action happens at the table so it needs to be the focal point of the space. The key decider here is size. If you love entertaining you will want maximum bums on seats but your table must not be so big that your guests cant push their chairs back. Drop leaf and gate leg designs offer the greatest flexibility but tend to be restricted to wood. If its contemporary steel, glass or stone your after, the capacity is fixed unless you create a larger table top specifically for entertaining. A large sheet of MDF or plywood can be covered having a tablecloth once in suit and stored in the garage when not in use.
Shine a light
The single overhead 60W bulb will do your dining space 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 area 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.