Mary Berry, the former judge of The Great British Bake Off, has courted controversy by publicly declaring she has ‘ditched the formal dining room’. Whilst many have thrown their hands up in horror, it is easy to understand why.
But, we need to dig a little deeper because whilst Mary – and others, it has to be said – have rejoiced in the demise of the formal dining room, they are not suggesting we all invest in lap-top trays and eat dinner, hunched over our plates whilst watching the TV.
So, who is right? Should the formal dining room be consigned to the history books or is there still merit in a separate room?
The Jury is Out…
We did a quick straw pool on Instagram and we found that 50% ate at the kitchen table and 50% of our audience ate in the dining room. It is not so much that people are against the ‘formal’ dining room, maybe it is the perceived notion of how this space should be used that concerns people.
The dining room style and use has changed of late and for busy families, eating together in the kitchen has advantages. But is there merit to still having a separate room?
Not just for formal occasions…
People surveyed by us through Houzz said that they only used their dining room when there was a formal occasion such as a dinner party or Christmas dinner. Rather than seeing the dining room as hallowed ground, wrest control back and make it a fun space.
The dining table doesn’t have to be a large, dusty expanse of coldness: warm the dining table with brightly coloured upholstered dining chairs, perfect for adding texture and warmth to a space.
The seating can also be far less formal than the straight-backed dining chairs or overly-ornate wooden dining chairs that many of us grew up with. Kitchen chairs are sturdy practical simple yet have enough style to make them pleasant items to have in the dining room.
Size is not always important either, with a small kitchen table being just the right size and space for the family to re-connect after a long day at the office and at school.
Be practical in your choice of dining table too. We all remember the fear of placing something on the dining table that would cause a scratch mark or a water ring that would forever destroy its veneer! Modern day wood dining tables are perfect for any home as they have a much better resistance to heat and moisture, a far better and more practical option.
Soften the edges further with stylish salt and pepper pots, as well as pretty accessories that make eating in the dining room a pleasant affair, such as the gentle flicker of candles in lanterns.
And don’t forget, the dining room doesn’t just have to be a place to eat. It can be the place that homework is done, a best-selling novel is written, friends gather...
Tell us about your dining room and how you use it. Do you use it just for formal occasions or is it the extra room that you need for other activities?