Eating together is one of the most basic social bonding experiences there is, so taking the specific demands of communal eating into account is fairly essential when designing a dining space. Many families have dinner together each night around the table, and for those that do it may well be one of the most important times of the day, and the only time when every member of the family is together in one place. Even if your own tribe are more in the habit of snatching meals in front of the TV than sitting down for a three-course dining experience each night, eating is still one of the crucial modes of building a relationship with those outside the family. It’s safe to say most people will end up hosting a good few dinner parties over their lifetime, so making sure the area you eat in is optimally designed for socialising is important to making sure you get the most out of your home. Check out these simple tips and ideas for a relaxed, open and above all friendly dining area.
This is probably the single most important factor in getting your dinner party vibe just right. It doesn’t matter how perfectly arranged your seating is, how soothingly awesome your soundtrack, if the room is lit like a hospital hallway. Good lighting should add something t the room beyond just illumination, should look gorgeous even when it’s switched off (like the lamps in this picture would), and – most importantly of all – should be versatile. The lighting that worked well for that casual group dinner with friends might be less appropriate for a romantic dinner for two, so make sure your lighting offers you options. That can mean having multiple lights around the room, allowing you to choose how many to have on and what to draw attention to, or having just one key lighting piece with a dimmer switch.
If you are cooking multiple courses for your guests, it’s likely you’re going to be dashing off to the kitchen a lot. Having the kitchen and dining area in the same space, as seen here, means you can continue your conversation with them even while you’re preparing the next dish. The layout of this beautifully understated space means that you are partially shielded from view while cooking, preventing uncomfortable scrutiny of your work. The high back to the worktops also acts as a divider, seeming to separate one room into two.
Sitting in a circle is much more conducive to socialising than sitting in a square or rectangle. With this seating arrangement, everyone around the table can hear everyone else equally well, and no-one is left perched awkwardly far away from the other guests at the head or foot of the table.
Sometimes restaurants get things very right. This is the case here, where comfy, casual seating has been chosen over traditional upright dining chairs. Replicating this approach in your own home will lead to a more laid-back, informal, chatty atmosphere.
Filling your dining room with lots of interesting objects offers plenty of potential icebreakers for your guests. Place beautiful and unique art on and around your table and no-one will ever be at a loss for how to get that initial conversation going.