Dining rooms and dining spaces are one of my favourite to furnish and decorate for.

It’s the one space where conviviality, great company, great food, laughter, family debating, putting the world to rights, bon appetite, can all be enjoyed together.

Depending on the proportions of your dining space, a ROUND TABLE will always encourage multi-way conversation. Our family has at least 4 conversations going at once when we all get together!

I also tend to favour the fabulous 150CM SQUARE TABLES which seat 8 people, 2 on each of the 4 sides. There is plenty of room for lots of food, settings and glassware, and one doesn’t have to be left out of conversation going on at the opposite end of a traditional rectangular table, but rather be a part of it.

Try to calculate the SPACE YOU NEED ! Allow a 60cm width for each setting and at least half that in depth.

All too often I see tables and chairs cramped into too tight a space so my advice is also to ALLOW 60CM TO PULL BACK A CHAIR.

When buying chairs, you may only have room for six but GET TWO MORE anyway. Keep those in a study or bedroom and bring them out to supplement the seating as needed.

Bench seats are good space-savers in small apartments – just push them under the table when not in use. Better than the way I always seem to find myself dragging out the old double piano stool for seating the extras (full of music & weighs a ton!)

Think about SCALE, too. Don’t put a delicate dining table in a huge room. Don’t pair heavy antique chairs with it either!

What I do enjoy, however, is mixing chair styles. If I have a client who wants something very eclectic, then I say, “It’s the mix not the match” and you don’t have to have all matching chairs. Be prepared for a bit of fun, loosen up on the rigidity of the formal matching 6 chair look and let your individuality speak up!

We talk of “Musical Chairs” but how about considering rearranging an open-plan living space for summer and winter use?
In fine weather when you often use the barbecue, position the table near the outside access. At the moment we can only hope for fine, warm weather to indulge such delights.

Posted by Robin Drake