The dining room is dead, long live the kitchen!
Do dining rooms even exist anymore? In black and white TV days the dining table lived in a formal dining room and its use came with a sense of occasion.
Today life has changed massively. More of us eat in the kitchen (if we gather round a table at all) so I’m wondering, what are the rules of modern dining style?
The multi-functional dining table.
First off, the table. Many of us don’t have space in our homes for a permanent dining table, let alone a dedicated room. Tables capable of multiple uses are a great solution:
- Castors make tables easy to move
- A cleared kitchen island with stools is a great informal table
- Tables with extra leaves are miraculous! I’ve inherited a wonderful antique table that folds out to about 3 times its original length. Quite amazing…
- There are some great tables out there that fold away fully when not in use
Foldable or stackable chairs are a great solution too when space is tight, and there are lots of very stylish options out there.
Upholstery no more?
I’m a huge upholstery fan (see our beautiful Teacake Armchair at Bobbin & Fleck) but traditional high backed dining chairs can be a bit stuffy.
I love chairs that work in more than one setting and carefully mixed and matched chairs round a table can look unique and really cool. There are so many modern or vintage options available that its easy to create a really stylish look pretty cheaply.
Crockery: to match, or to clash?
Has modern living ended the role of the matching dinner set? Crockery aficionado Emma Bridgewater certainly thinks so. The famous ceramicist told The Telegraph she has noticed matching dinner sets dropping in popularity. Instead, she says, people opt for items they like.
I completely agree; building an eclectic collection of crockery which reflects your lifestyle is a welcome trend. And lets face it, the cost of buying a complete dinner service is tricky for lots of us too. It’s much more fun (and less of a strain on the monthly cash-flow) to be able to pick up wee gems here and there when you spot them. I love a statement plate ! But hey, I’m a magpie at heart.
Setting the table (scene)
Runners add a splash of stylish colour, and whilst I’m not a big fan of tablecloths for everyday, a crisp white table cloth looks beautiful if you’re feeling fancy, or are out to impress.
Placemats and coasters are a cool, inexpensive and low maintenance solution to protecting your table, I’ve designed a selection in sturdy melamine, but there are endless options out there in slate, glass, wood etc. – choose them to suit your mood and style.
Napkins are always a nice touch when entertaining. And, although traditionalists would have you starching yours, I think colourful paper napkins are great. Let’s face it, who has time to be washing and ironing napkins, really?
Our top styling tips
- An ironed white table cloth equals luxury!
- Choose a colour (or three) and become a crazy magpie with it. I’m a big fan of choosing items that you absolutely LOVE! If you need a dining set, pick colours and patterns you like – you could choose 6 different plates, 3 sets of 2 etc. Choosing items made from the same material e.g. glass or ceramic will also help pull your set together
- Make the effort and sit down together. Dining solo or with loads of family, it’s so nice to sit down to a table that’s been set with love and a bit of flair
- Put your phone away. I don’t mind a cheeky post at the start of a meal, but after that put the technology away and enjoy the company!
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