What’s best for you, a casual or formal dining area?

wooden dining table with grey fabric dining chairs

Dining rooms have been used for all sorts of things this last year or so and maybe you want to give yours a bit of a freshen up or revamp it a little – this is the time to decide whether you will opt for a formal or informal dining space.

Informal dining space

This has become very much more popular of late, largely due to us preferring to live in more open-plan spaces. Many a kitchen extension has been built in the last 10 – 15 years that merges the dining room and kitchen…often with a TV and seating area thus creating a family ‘all in one living space’. This has made the dining table a lot more accessible, a place where people sit down more frequently whether it’s to do homework, work, flick through a book or have a cup of coffee. Have a think about what style of table suits your lifestyle best – a round wood dining table is great for family board games, it’s also great for entertaining as you can see everyone around the table. However, if you entertain a lot you may be better off with a wooden extendable dining table.

reclaimed wood dining table with white painted trestle legs and matching wooden bench

Here are a few tips on how to style your dining table to suit an informal space.

As the table is more used it should not be set with a crisp white table cloth and fancy silver candlesticks. Instead, don’t put a table cloth on unless you are setting it for a more formal occasion. Add wicker coasters and placemats for people to use to put their drinks or food dishes on. You may prefer to put your dining table centrepieces more in the corner of the table so people can put stuff on it – these will also be less formal in style – a fruit bowl or a house plant.

Choose seating that is a more relaxed style, mix and match chairs for a more funky look – and a wooden dining bench Is just perfect for an informal dining space. A bold colour dining chair like green or blue velvet dining chairs will give a neutral room a nice pop of colour.

Open plan living and dining room with wooden dining table and green velvet dining chairs

Formal dining space

The formal dining space is more suited to big occasions and celebratory dinners. This will most likely be in a separate dining room with a large statement dining table. For a more formal look you should have a crisp white cotton table cloth and crisp cotton napkins at the ready – as well as grand centrepieces for your table. Fresh cut flower arrangements are perfect at the centre of the table – or if your table is particularly large you can opt for two or three smaller ones, mix in some candles to create the perfect dinner party ambience. A silver wine bucket is also a perfect table adornment.

Formal dining room with reclaimed wood dining table and fabric dining chairs

When it comes to seating then you can go for really sumptuous and luxurious dining chairs with classic stud or button detailing – something like the Bladon in a sophisticated pale grey velvet. Serving dinner will be a more formal affair most likely with the dishes being brought through to the dining room. An elegant solid wood sideboard will ensure you have plenty of additional space to set things down on and keep tableware tucked away out of sight, but readily available when needed. A pendant light suspended over the table will add the final finishing touch to the formal dining room.

grey upholstered dining chair with button studded back and black wooden legs