After years of open-plan living, dining rooms are coming into their own again

Amberley round dining table in bay window

The Amberley weathered oak dining table is a statement piece and, being round, lends itself perfectly to this curved bay window dining room setting.


So, you thought the dining room had had its day and open-plan was here to stay? Well, it seems the tables are turning … and separation could once again be the route to domestic bliss.

Bright, sprawling open-plan kitchen, living and dining areas, inspired by popular TV shows like Grand Designs, are a modern obsession – the number of kitchen-diners rose by around 50% in the first decade of this century alone. In 2020, separate dining rooms are the exception rather than the norm, spaces you might fondly associate with Sunday roast chez the grandparents, followed by trifle. Aaah the nostalgia…

But those who refused to kowtow to the cult of wall-removal are now on trend. The separate dining room is becoming desirable again, offering an oasis of calm away from the hustle, bustle and cooking cacophony of the kitchen-diner. It’s a room set aside for the sole purpose of sitting down around a table to feast convivially without distractions like the TV or the whirr of the dishwasher.

Reclaiming some privacy

It seems some cooks have had their fill of guests, children, pets and detritus around the kitchen island and being on show when dessert goes pear-shaped. For them, having everyone comfortably seated in a separate dining room means they can reclaim their kitchens and a degree of privacy when an emergency culinary resus is required.

Another driving force behind the resurgence of the dining room is a move away from stark interiors to more personal, eclectic décor. You can go to town when styling an individual room in a way that’s difficult when co-ordinating a large open-plan space. 

Being at home during lockdown has also made us think about the importance of sitting down to eat and enjoying each other’s company, rather than simply grabbing a bite at the breakfast bar or having dinner in front of the TV.

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have both an open-plan kitchen-diner and a dining room, that’s a win-win. The diner’s great for easy-going get-togethers and the dining room, which doesn’t have to be formal per se, can be a fabulous entertaining space dedicated to coming together with friends and family. 

Top tables

Taking centre stage in your dining room of course, is the table. Here, size IS definitely an issue, because you need enough space to pull out chairs and move freely around them. 

According to LRI co-founder, Sarah, round tables are great for small spaces. “Because they don’t have hard corners, they’re a bit more forgiving in tight quarters. Pedestal tables also give the illusion of more space and it’s easier to squeeze in an extra seat because there aren’t table legs in the way,” she says.

“Our round Amberley weathered oak dining table is a real statement piece for any dining room. It has a fabulous urn-shaped pedestal and dining chairs can be easily slotted in around it.”

Other round tables with pedestals include the Belmont and the Wolsey.

The round Wolsey dining table has a shapely central pedestal, making it easy to manoeuvre chairs around without worrying about legs.

“For a dining room that’s longer but perhaps not so wide, an oval table might be the way to go. With an oval table, you don’t get the hard corners either – giving a bit more leeway around the edges. Our Belmont weathered oak oval table seats up to 10 guests and has a softly curved pedestal leg at each end, giving you plenty of room for chair manoeuvring. 

Or you could opt for a smaller rectangular table – our Belvedere weathered oak table comes in a 6-seater size, which is perfect for smaller gatherings.”

“For larger rooms, our beautiful rectangular tables – both the Montague and the larger Belvedere – are designed to make a stylish impact as well as to be practical, as are all our tables. Both seat up to 10 guests and the large Belvedere has a dining bench that goes with it which not only looks impressive but saves on space if you’ve another large item of furniture, such as a sideboard, behind it,” adds Sarah.

 Belvedere weathered oak dining table with bench
The large Belvedere weathered oak dining table is ideal for spacious dining rooms, seating up to 10 guests. There's a stylish and practical bench that goes with it too. A smaller 6-seater version is also available. These are among our most popular tables and are due back in stock next month.

Sitting comfortably

Well… seeing as you’ll be spending many long happy memorable hours in your dining room, comfort AND style are of the utmost importance when choosing a dining chair. 

Sarah adds: “Our dining chairs are all upholstered in the finest fabrics, luxuriously padded, and with designer detail such as buttoning and studding that makes them stand out from the crowd. The great thing about a separate dining room is that it’s not such a high-traffic area so people worry less about wear and tear on upholstery.”

You can take a look at our dining chair collection by clicking here.

Happy and stylish dining…

May 07, 2020

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