Today is THE DAY for dining rooms across the country: Thanksgiving! Table leaves will be added, chairs gathered and a feast delivered. The room will be readied for a place to share a meal with friends and family and say Thank You for the year that was and for the year to come.
As a residential architect, when designing a new home or renovating an existing home, dining room design is discussed in detail. Is a formal dining room for entertaining desired or maybe or a large kitchen with ample table space? Table space in the kitchen and table space in a dining room? Space at the kitchen island for eating and a breakfast table? Many questions and the answers are sometimes hard to figure out. It takes careful thought to figure out what works well for you and your family? There isn’t a right and wrong just what makes sense for you. If a dining room will be used than let’s build it! If the existing room hasn’t been used or is used once a year, then let’s figure out why. Too small? Not inviting? Not needed? Kitchen more comfortable?
When designing a great home on a tight budget I look at the square footage and see how to make the most out of it. One trick to make a smaller house feel spacious is to have a space for a dining table part of the kitchen. It can create more causal dining. Potentially it will be used more often. Families with young children enjoy having table space nearby for homework and projects or a place to sit and talk before a meal or while it is prepared.
Another trick is, if a dining room is the answer, make the room special by having it different than adjacent rooms. Make it a room to celebrate in! Candles and special dishes. It can be away from other rooms that tend to be open and flowing to contrast and feel contained, cozy but still adjacent to the kitchen. The contrast of the rooms will make a dining a special experience. In addition to special china that might used, I often have clients that have antique dining room furniture that they enjoy and want enough space to comfortably use. I always design the room size for all the tables leaves in! Even if it happens once or twice a year, plan for it to be comfortable. Also plan for table leaf and dish storage when they are not being used. Consider built-in cabinets if you don’t have the furniture yet.
A table by nature makes a room focused in the center. Lighting is centered on the table. The chairs around the table make the room function differently from a kitchen where all the walls are in play for cabinets and counters. Or a family room where the walls are used for fireplaces, furniture and TV’s. A dining room can have dish storage and display in breakfronts, china cabinets or hutches which will require wall space. A dining room can also have additional unused wall space that makes it the perfect place for windows. If a screen porch is desired, I will look at the dining area for a potential place to add doors to the porch. It makes entertaining even easier by having additional dining space on the porch. Often in Kansas City, we can sneak in another beautiful fall day before winter and have a sunny almost warm Thanksgiving Day. Today is the perfect day to say thanks, another sunny 65 degrees Thanksgiving Day! Happy Thanksgiving!