4 Tips for an Inviting Dining Room


Dining rooms are the perfect place to get together as a family and with friends. Food and a comfortable seat lend themselves to catching up, great conversations and solving life's greatest problems.

To encourage the kind of conversations that make friendships and family life great, you'll want a comfortably placed and designed dining room, with enough lighting, space and atmosphere.

1 - Measure, measure, measure

Unlike a living room or bedroom, which can easily be shuffled around, the furniture in your dining room is likely to remain where you put it until you replace it or move house. Before committing yourself to a dining room set, make sure you have measured the room.

French Art Deco Dining Table by Gaston Poisson

French Art Deco Dining Table by Gaston Poisson

Next, while shopping, measure the table and the chairs - how much space they take up together. Lastly, take account of room to move. A good rule of thumb is to allow for between 36 and 48 inches between the edge of the table and the closest wall or other piece of furniture.

2 - Square pegs and round holes

Dining tables come in two basic shapes - square and round. Sure, square could be rectangle and round could be oval, but the basic stands. Choosing between these two depends on the size of your room and how many people you need to seat.

French Art Deco Round "Sunburst" Dining Table with Silver Hardware

French Art Deco Round "Sunburst" Dining Table with Silver Hardware

Round tables seat less people than similarly sized square ones, so the bigger your family or the more people you regularly entertain, the more you should tend towards a square table.

Be realistic when buying the table. If you dream of throwing lavish dinner parties for ten or more, but the reality is you won't have more than six at a time, don't overcrowd your dining room with a too-large table. 

At the same time, if your dining room is enormous and can easily accommodate a twelve- or fourteen-seater, don't let a tiny four-seater round table get lost in all the space... rather make a few more friends!

3 - The right piece in the right place

Unless you have a really tiny dining room with barely enough space for a two-seater round table, you'll probably consider a sideboard or a buffet to hold your dinner services and silverware. They are also very useful for serving the food.

French Art Deco Buffet with Portoro Marble Top

French Art Deco Buffet with Portoro Marble Top

Like I mentioned in point 1, you want enough space between the table and any other piece of furniture, so make sure you measure and account for the buffet.

Ideally, the buffet should be placed as close as possible to where the food will be carried in, so against the wall near the door that leads to the kitchen. This just makes for less heavy lifting, and less chance of spills.

4 - A light dinner

I've covered dining room lighting pretty comprehensively before, so take a look at the tips in this article to make the best out of lighting up your dining space.

For the TL;DR version - you need plenty of light, but not so much that it blinds anyone, don't place lamps that people can trip over, invest in sconces and a dimmer switch for those more atmospheric evenings, and don't make anyone bang their head on the chandelier.

Next time, we'll take a look at how to organize your bedroom. For now, enjoy your dinner!

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  • Matthew Pillet
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