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How to: get the most from a small dining area

It’s a startling fact that many families and households don’t eat together. 78% of Brits in fact admit they don’t sit down to a dinner table meal daily, and up to 23 of their evening meals, per month, are eaten on the sofa in front of the television.

This is something we think is a crying shame, commensality — The practice of social groups eating together (our new favourite overly specific word), Is a vital part of daily life in France and other countries, it allows households to decompress, spend quality time together and unwind at the end of each day. So, why are us Brits losing our love of communal dining?

Well, there are a few staunch practical considerations that perhaps prevent us from enjoying eating together. Work, exercise classes, socialising and other commitments are all things that keep households finding a time suitable for all schedules to come together and enjoy a meal with one another.

But, there’s also the fact that many of us don’t feel like our dining area is a particularly nice place to eat, particularly if it is a cramped pushed aside spot, in the kitchen or dining room, strewn with bills and letters and other items which are so easily thrown to the side on the journey from the entry hall to the kitchen. It doesn’t have to be this way however, check out these top tips for getting the most from your dining area.

 Round industrial style table, by TrendlessHandmade , £429 from Etsy .

1. Go for a round table

For a small dining room, or compact dining space in a kitchen or living room more often than not a round table is the best choice. As they offer the best ratio of space to fit people and their plates around their outers, with plenty of space in the middle for a centrepiece as well as places for dishes and trays, when serving food ‘family style’.

Dining-room interior. Country style. 3d render.

2. Benches and banquettes

Bulky, and sometimes awkward to manoeuvre, you may think that a benches and banquette are the last thing you want to put in an already cramped space. But they can actually save a considerable amount of space, and allow you to fit more people around the table, most notably if your dining table is pushed into a corner or window bay.

3. Stick to a limited colour palette

Going for light neutral colours can make the space seem bright and airier where as dark and deeper colours will create a cosier more intimate feeling in your dining space. It really comes down to personal preference what you go for. However, try not to use too many different colours as this can make a small space seem too ‘busy’ and claustrophobic, use one or two colours for your principle colour scheme and one more as an accenting colour if you wish.

4. Put up a mirror

It’s a cliche we know, but putting a mirror on the wall really will make the space seem roomier, as well as making it seem brighter and more welcoming. It doesn’t matter if you go for a colossal, ornate antique or a more contemporary option, all will help to give the area a greater feeling of depth and space.

5. Go for low profile pendant lighting

Putting a pendant light or two above the dining table, this centres the table and particularly in open plan areas, breaks up the room. Separate ambient dining light clearly defines that area as the ‘eating space’. Interior designers recommend that you hang these kinds of lights slightly lower than you would normally, so that they hover just slightly above the heads of people sat at the table.

On the downside installing these kinds of dining lights mean you can’t really just change the location of the dining table on a whim. So, consider the perfect location carefully before committing.

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