Family Friendly Small Dining Room Ideas
Where do you eat your evening family meal? Do you manage to gather together around the dinner table? If not, what gets in your way? Is it a simple matter of time commitments keeping you out of the house at mealtimes? Maybe you like to multi-task and watch TV while you eat? Or do you simply find it difficult to squeeze into your dinky dining room? If it’s the latter, this post is for you!
According to YouGov research, 82% of children in the UK have tea at the table with a third eating their evening meal in front of the TV, but the table in question isn’t necessarily in the dining room. In recent decades the trend for open plan living has eaten away at dining space, with downstairs areas being given over to play or used as an extension of the living room instead. However, even in homes where there is dining space to spare, it’s not always being put to use. An interesting US survey reveals that formal dining rooms are being under used thanks to a practice of saving them ‘for best’. If you had a grand dining room, would you be hosting dinner parties regularly? Why wait? Here’s how you make the most of a small dining room and make room for family meals.
Colour and light
Dark paint shades may be the in thing but they’re not going to make your dining room look any larger. The best way to bring lots of light into a space and to make it appear bigger is to do away with colour altogether and paint the walls white. This stops the eye being caught by any changes in tone or colour, which can break up the room further. Neutrals, pastels and lighter blues and greens can also appear light and airy, though if you simply can’t decorate without colour you could choose to introduce some with your room’s furnishings and accessories instead.
Light is a useful tool when it comes to growing a small room and for setting the mood for social occasions too. Fitting external bi-fold doors in dining rooms continues to be a huge trend for this reason, though if you’re not blessed with a dining room that backs onto the garden there are other tricks you can try. Avoid low hanging chandeliers and wall lights that can make it appear as though the walls are closing in. Instead, consider fitting multiple ceiling lights and using dimmer switches so it’s easier to control the ambience of the room.
Furniture that fits
When a dining room is small, it’s oh-so-tempting to use every square inch available so that the area literally hosts a dining table and not much else. This isn’t really a savvy use of space, particularly in family homes. Selecting a less traditional table design such as a round table complete with armless chairs or an extendable table with benches that slot underneath can give you more space to play with. You could even choose a folding table that comes out from the wall along with stacking chairs. Better still; a multi-functional table that’s suitable for activities like studying or play as well as dining is a great family friendly choice. Even awkward corners and window spaces can be turned into useful dining areas with built in booths and benches.
Where floor space is seriously at a premium – old school food and drinks trolleys are a really cool way of serving things up without rendering a room manoeuvrable. Let’s be honest, in small dining rooms, controlling the flow of bodies in and out and around the table can be pretty darn tricky at times, even before you get out any emergency chairs! With this in mind, it’s absolutely critical that you measure furniture for your space ahead of purchase to get a good idea of just how much floor is going to be left underfoot.
Style it sensibly
By selecting furniture to fit the space, you give yourself more scope to dress it accordingly. Vases with flowers, floor lamps and brightly patterned place mats can all add pops of colour to brighten a room and they’re easy to update or remove from a space when you need something less fussy. On the walls, a custom canvas print can be a conversation starter when you have guests to visit or a reminder of fun times for the family as you dine. Flooring can admittedly be tricky to get right in a cramped dining space. If yours is a kitchen diner or living room diner, sticking with the same type of flooring throughout will help the space to appear less disjointed and larger as a result. Even if your dining space is separate you may want to consider using the same or similar flooring to adjacent rooms to improve the sense of flow.
Do you have a small dining room? Do you steer clear of eating in the room as a result or have you found your own creative ways to make the most of the space?