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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Designing A dining room

Dining rooms - traditionally very formal in style - are changing. Now anything goes, from grandiose elegance to modern minimalism, retro retreats to reminders of our travels to far away climes. But there are still a few rules to follow for first-time success.

Layout & Open-Plan Living

With living space at such a premium, the area where you eat may also be used for hobbies, homework or as an office, and increasingly dining areas are open plan or linked directly to the kitchen.


This needs to allow for easy access when carrying hot dishes. Where will the table work best and what else do you plan to use the room for? Decide all the things that you want to use the dining area for and then you can decide on where to put your table and what size and shape will work best. You also need to decide which kind of table best suits your needs.

A round table works best for informal dinners, as there's no head of the table. But if you'll frequently seat more than 6, avoid large circles as they will take up far more space and it's harder to converse across the table. Similarly, square tables really only work for four people. Buy one that extends to a rectangle for coping with larger numbers.

Whatever shape you choose, you need to check that there's enough space to pull out the chairs and to move around it comfortably. If space is very limited, use a corner table or a small table that fits into a bay window or a recess. Gate leg tables are very useful or you could create a narrow bar or counter top at right angles to the walls that can fold away. When it comes to the surface remember that glass topped tables will increase the feeling of space.

Wood needs looking after and protecting from heat to stay beautiful.

Designing A dining room

Open Plan Living

In any open plan area you have to think how best to use and divide the space for different functions. 
As lifestyle trends go, open plan living has been one of the biggest departures from the norm in recent times. It's an aspirational, lifestyle choice that sets you out from the crowd.

Done in the right way, it can be an exciting, sociable and rewarding way to live because when you haven't got walls, you're free of the conventions limiting most people's design choices, and you can style your open space in any way you like! It's a fun way to live, and part of the fun is solving the design issues that this particular way of life throws up. 

Ventilation - avoid drifting smells and fit a decent extractor fan or failing that, keep your kitchen as far away as possible from your living area.

Noise - choose flooring for its soundproofing qualities. Also, maximizing soft furnishings and minimizing hard surfaces can reduce noise levels. A large sofa can work as an acoustic buffer. And, unless you live alone, it's often wise to partition areas to create zones of peace and quiet.

Storage - with fewer walls there's less storage space. To stop an open plan area becoming cluttered, you must design in fifty per cent more storage space than you think you'll need.

Think laterally and use every available opportunity for storage to maximize storage but retain the minimalist look, the rule is to keep walls, ceilings and cupboards the same colour. Co-ordinating the colour of the furniture and the walls will unify the room making it look less cluttered and more spacious.

Privacy - Forget your open plan principles and opt for a conventional enclosed bedroom - or go for a compromise and choose a mezzanine sleeping area - the best of both worlds.

In summary, if you think open plan is the lifestyle for you, you'll have to address the four main considerations ventilation, sound proofing, storage and privacy. Look at each one separately and have fun with it.

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