While most of us are lucky to have one, the dining room – once a potent symbol of the well-to-do and socially mobile – is adapting to suit twenty-first-century living.
Busy working lives, televisions and fast-food apps have all encouraged an eat-as-you-go dining culture – leaving the traditional dining room to play catch-up. We commissioned a survey which shows a hefty 65% of Brits with a dining room still use it primarily to dine in – with a sizeable 63% of these respondents using it at least once a day. However, nearly one in six Brits now use the room primarily for storage, while one in ten has converted theirs into a children’s play area. The rise in flexible working has also seen nearly one in ten dining rooms turned into office space.
The underuse of our dining rooms feeds into wider trends. One of which is the hectic pace of modern life where time is a luxury and multi-tasking is a fact of life. After a long day, most people would be forgiven for wanting to eat in front of the box or on the go. On this note, our survey reveals 19% of respondents would use their dining room more if they had more time to prepare food and 36% of us would use the dining room more if they hosted guests more frequently.
Still, these findings underline the continuing allure of the dining room – after all, a whopping three-quarters of home buyers value the importance of it when purchasing a property. However, the statistics show how dining room use is not what it used to be.
So how do you make the most of the dining room? Well, a few simple ideas will go a long way towards revitalising your dining space. Firstly, try high-calibre furniture. Nothing showcases your room more than a beautifully crafted table, corresponding chairs and a well-decorated sideboard. And if the room looks inviting, you’ll naturally want to spend more time in it. Secondly, make the room a versatile all-rounder. There’s no rule saying you can’t use the space for a variety of purposes. Why not inject a new lease of life by adding a cosy reading area, install bookshelves to create a library or bring in comfy seating?
Although we tend to avoid hosting dinner parties due to lack of time, when we do go to the trouble, we tend to stay at the table for much longer than we normally would. The average British person spends only about 10 minutes consuming a meal, but dinner parties usually see guests stay at the table for an hour and 40 minutes. Over half of our respondents said that when they do sit at the dining table they enjoy more conversation and find out more about their loves ones than at any other time.
Dinner parties are not only delicious – they bring people together. Follow our simple tips to take the hassle out of entertaining and get your friends and family back into the dining room:
- Keep it simple. Stick to dishes you’ve cooked before and that are simple to put together and resist the urge to impress – tasty doesn’t always equal complicated.
- Make sure you ask about your guests’ dietary requirements before you start planning the food to avoid embarrassment.
- Plan your space and time – don’t try and cook four dishes that all require the oven at the same time!
- Select dishes you can prepare ahead of time like stews, curries and soups. These meals generally taste better day after you cook them.
- Clean as you go – so you don’t end up with every dish in the kitchen dirty by the end of the night. And start with an empty dishwasher too.
- Cut back on cooking and give yourself a break by buying some ready-made elements – dessert could be a bought cake or throw-together cheese board, for example.
- Set the table the night before. It’s one less thing to think about on the day – and means you’re not scrambling if someone shows up early. There’s always one!
- You don’t need a room redesign to impress – sometimes you can transform the look of a room with one simple, striking item. How about a conversation piece like a Friendship Bench Sculpture?
- Low lights set a relaxed mood and make everyone look better too. Consider turning off the main room lights and employing lamps such as this Dubai Floor Lamp. To set the ambiance even further why not try candles and even fairy lights.
- A centrepiece can transform a table but it doesn’t have to be finnicky. Simply fill a glass bowl with water and float some flowers in it for a stunning yet economical way to dress the table.
Now you’re prepped to become a dinner party pro, why not take a look at our dining room store online or in-store today. You’ll find plenty of inspiration to create your perfect hosting space, from extendable dining table sets to seat your guests with ease, to showstopping dining tables that are sure to impress.