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Dining room trends and design

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05 Dec 2012

Eating together is an integral part of home life – whether it is eating your daily meals with your partner and kids or catching up over a Sunday lunch with your extended family.

Houses these days rarely have a separate dining area, as open plan designs tend to use the room as a study and a dining room, to save space.

A well designed dining area can make any meal a treat and bring friends and family together for some well deserved quality time.

The dining area in a home is arguably one of the most important areas for everyday life as it provides a communal space where family and friends can get together and chat over a delicious meal.

Anton Odendaal from Rochester Furniture says although a casual approach has become more popular for family meals, a formal dining area provides a place where the family can enjoy dinner together, elegantly entertain friends and have holiday celebrations.

Although any well respected home in the past would have had a separate formal dining room, modern homes have changed. With the increased popularity of eat-in kitchens, covered outdoor patios, and the open-plan design of many modern living areas, formal dining rooms are not as sought after.

Performing a double act

A lack of storage in what would be a dining room/study is the main problem homeowners face. This three drawer mahogany sidetable from Rochester Furniture is the perfect solution.

Homes are getting smaller, and as a result, residential space is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity. As such, dining areas are often expected to serve a dual purpose – becoming a stand-in study when not being used.

Therefore, it is important to decide if your dining room will serve as a study before buying furniture. Odendaal suggests choosing dining chairs that are upholstered in hard-wearing fabric in dark colours, or leather, as light coloured upholstery will probably not stand up to the increased traffic they will need to contend with if your dining room serves as a study as well.

He says that it is also pivotal that there is ample storage space to hide away the office equipment when it is not being used. Corner units or tall, thin armoires are ideal for hiding away papers and laptops for when the room has to become a dining room in a hurry.

Tips for choosing furniture for your dining area

Be adventurous when choosing the covering of your dining chairs. There is a variety of textured upholstery, such as velvets and rough canvas. Leather is also popular because it is easy to maintain, sturdy and goes with just about any décor style.

The first thing that should be considered when choosing furniture for your dining area is selecting a style. Odendaal says the style of furniture you choose should complement the architecture and décor of the home in which it is to be featured.

The furniture and colour schemes you choose should create a flow between the different rooms and areas. He says it is also important that the furniture fits in the specified space. “The furniture must be in proportion to the space in which it will be featured.

“An outline can help you determine whether a suite is suitable for a particular space," Odendaal suggests.  Measure the table and transfer the measurements onto the floor by laying down masking tape to help visualise if the table will fit.

Then add in the measurements of the chairs with masking tape and measure to see if there is enough space left behind the chairs to allow them to be pulled out. "Approximately 60cm is usually enough.”

Storage solutions

Lack of storage has to be one of the biggest problems when it comes to decorating dining areas, says Odendaal. He notes the traditional sideboard is a must-have piece of furniture.

“The sideboard offers up tons of space that can be used to conveniently store all your tablecloths and ‘good’ cutlery and crockery that you use for entertaining."

The sideboard also offers a surface on which you can place warmer trays, extra dishes and decorations.

Dining furniture trends

Odendaal says buying a dining suite can be a sizeable investment. He suggests quality dining furniture with classical lines that won’t date.

"Whether the style is contemporary or traditional, there is an appreciation for timeless design and furniture made from top-end materials that are as beautiful as they are durable."

Today's focus is on natural materials, mainly wood, for a more organic flavour.

He says you can be adventurous with the covering of dining chairs. Highly textured upholstery, such as velvets and rough canvas come in a wide range of exciting tones. Leather is also a popular choice, due to the fact that it complements almost any décor style and colour scheme and is long lasting and easy to maintain.

It makes no difference if you live in a townhouse or a spacious home; a well-planned and decorated dining area is an essential part of family life.

Odendaal says eating meals together is an integral part of South African culture, and in today’s digital age, where people are spending more time behind laptops, the face-to-face communication provided at a dinner table is important.

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