Eating is straightforward, but dining is always special. Whether a mid-week supper or a more formal affair, there are few finer ways to make a home stand out than an inviting and attractive space for those who eat there.
Yet, for all the challenges that arise across a home in interior design, no use of space brings with it more variables than dining. There is the need to ensure the space is stylish certainly, functional undoubtedly, but thereafter adaptable.
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A mealtime space that allows you to enjoy within it the food and moments of great significance, while also serving as fit for purposes of those nights you aspire only for something quick and simple to eat;
A dining area that remains stylish, but one that at its core provides for a ease, accessibility, and enjoyment; a space that brings with it the chance to truly enjoy the meals you have within it; and the people you have them with.
Our top ideas for laid-back dining
By using good lighting you can evoke a laid back mood. Some spaces may call for LED lights and a modern look, but we love the slightly quirky, artisanal feel of these pendants with chain, ceiling rose and black cotton flex. For all they’re called Warehouse lights, we think they’d look lovely over a dining table.
Best of all, as distinct from a chandelier_ or more formal choice, these hand-crafted pendants conveys a more casual tone the space, providing a relaxed ambiance throughout the room.
While when working or in a formal setting a hard chair can be appropriate, when it comes to laid back dining padding seating is preferable. By making use of leather chairs that provide extra comfort at the base and throughout the back, diners are able to sit back and relax with ease. We love these Padded Leather Chairs from Multiyork for example. Also important is to ensure there are no armchairs to inhibit movement. While in a formal setting carvery chairs can be appropriate, in an informal setting ensuring diners can easily turn to face one another in conversation takes away their utility and appeal
Staying with upholstered dining chairs, we also love these Hoverton dining chairs from Made. They come in three different shades of grey and something they call orchid (which to us is more of a mauve), have classic-style turned legs, beech frames and contrast piping which we think give them a continental touch. We can picture these in an elegant Parisian hotel, for example. One thing to note is they come in pairs — so you can mix and match the colours, but it will be at least two of each … but since we’re talking about planning for dinners, it was going to be.
Not sure how many are going to drop in on your midweek supper? This extending dining table has the flexibility to accommodate extra guests if your son’s girlfriend drops round again. Handcrafted from seasoned oak, it has a beautiful combination of modernity and solidity, bringing an honest rustic feel to any dining room or kitchen and, being from a range, it is something you can add pieces to over time.
OK, let's be clear here. While nobody is suggesting the use of oversized utensils should be deployed here, instead it need be said: if your guests are struggling with a salad fork or have a knife too small to cut their steak or fish that is going to put a dimmer on the evening. If guests approach the table with trepidation due to long-stemmed glasses, or fragile dinnerplates, think again. Such irritations may be tolerated at a ball and tuxedo affair; but it can go along way to spoiling the mood of a Friday night meal with your friends.
Making use of informal utensils and glassware when having a casual meal can help easier eating and ensure conversation goes uninterrupted. Accordingly, a cutlery set that has a solid weight, a silver or earthy hue, and rounded contours convey a casual and accessible feel with use. Co-ordinating tableware in warm colours add to the welcome.
Laidback dining does mean doing away with chandeliers, artisan centrepiece, and other finery. You want friends and family to relax, not stand on ceremony. Yet, you can certainly still have a fun centrepiece to promote conversation, convey a fun vibe, and induce relaxation.
This cute terrarium caught our eye. With its hexagon casing, vibrant greenery, and minimalist presence, it is the perfect centrepiece to enhance and add to the table without being a distraction.
If you are on the lookout for a new table and fancy something a little more rustic than a formal dining set, we love this hardwood table with cast iron legs from Oli and Grace. It can seat 6-8 and would look fab with some mismatched Tolix style chairs.