This room is so important to get right when designing and decorating. It could be that you have an open plan dining space that needs to work in with your kitchen and lounge room. Or perhaps you have a separate dining room and want to ensure it’s not an afterthought or just sits and never gets used. You may be a busy family that uses this space everyday for family meals, or perhaps you’re a big entertainer so your dining area is the space that guests will always be spending time in, so function and aesthetics are so important.
So often I see people struggling with defining this space, what will work or even fit? What if I want to entertain for 10, what size table do I need? What will work for everyday use but when needed provide the versatility to seat more? So many things to consider and I realised I hadn’t written about dining spaces on the blog before. So here are my starting points, things to consider along the way and also what delivers an amazing space to be enjoyed by all.
Not only table size but room size matters. So if you’re working with an Architect, Designer or Draftsperson and working out your floor plans don’t forget to consider your dining area. How many do you regularly need to seat in this space? This is dictate table size. And then think about flow around your table, I like to leave 1meter all the way around, and if you want to add a buffet or console add space for this too.
If you’re working with a pre-existing room then take your dimensions and from there you can work out what size table your space will comfortably hold. If you have a square room then maybe a round table is the way to go? Also don’t be afraid to get something custom made to fit perfectly. If it’s a rectangular table I like it to be at least 900mm width, ideally 1 meter, but I had a table made for a long narrow space that was 750mm width (this is unusual but it worked). We used a bench seat on one side to save even more space.
This is a great diagram to help with sizing and seating:
Don’t forget the chairs
Again if you are an entertainer long lunches are on the menu. Make sure your chairs are super comfy to sit in for 3-4 hours. If space is limited you want those chairs to be able to push all the way under the table, some don’t so watch the arms! If you’ve got space for many to be seated, say 10 or 12 I like to choose chairs with simple lines, nothing with a slatted back because when you multiply that by 12 all of a sudden the space can feel very busy.
Materials and versatility
When it comes to versatility you might want to think about an extension table. There are some really great options on the market the store the extra table top leaves underneath the table making for an easy extension. This will allow for entertaining those larger groups when needed.
Materials wise when it comes to tables and chairs I really think about daily use. If you have children you want to source easy clean chairs that you aren’t going to be worried about them using. Or bring in their own chairs for the early years. Also table top is important, choosing something timber, raw and natural will stain easily. I would recommend if timber making sure it’s polished or lacquered for an easy wipe surface.
Decorating around the main event
If I have space I do like to include a console or buffet. A console it a great space for preparing drinks, displaying decorative pieces, or to place platters on if you run out of room on your table. The same can be said for a good sized buffet but of course you have added storage in these which can be invaluable for those large platters, vases, bowls. I also like to add at least accent lighting in terms of a floor light and/or table lights. If are choosing a feature pendant for above the table then consider ceiling heights, scale of room and also size of table. General rule is that the light should be no bigger than half to two thirds of the shortest side of your table), and hang it around 900mm above your table top.
I hope these ideas and tips help you get the most out of your dining rooms. And that you enjoy family gatherings and entertaining for many years to come in these spaces.