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How To Design A Dining Room For Hosting

Gracie Watkins
If you enjoy hosting guests for dinner parties and reunions, an appropriate space for socialising is crucial. Whether it's a cosy sitting room, a spacious backyard, or a well-appointed kitchen area, the right environment can make all the difference in creating pleasant and memorable experiences for your guests.
A comfortable, inviting, practical dining space sets the stage for the ultimate gathering spot. Here are some suggestions to help you craft a dining area that is perfectly suited for hosting guests. 

Look For Inspiration

When it comes to styling any room of the home, gathering inspiration from various sources is an excellent place to start. Rather than diving headfirst into your project without a definite vision of the desired end result, it's beneficial to create a mood board to guide you and keep you focused along the way. You can make a mood board by cutting photos from magazines and arranging them scrapbook-style on a cork board along with paint swatches, wallpaper samples and notes. Alternatively, you could use a digital platform like Pinterest. 

Consider Your Colour Palette

Different colour palettes have different connotations. When designing a social space, it is worth contemplating the profound impact that colour can have in shaping the desired mood and ambience. For instance, bright, cheerful colours like yellow and orange evoke feelings of happiness, vitality and hope, whereas cooler tones of blue and sage green represent calmness, wisdom and stability. You may wish to keep your colour palette relatively neutral and straightforward - this way, you can add pops of colour and texture in the form of artwork, rugs and furniture. Alternatively, you may want to create a fun, lively environment inspired by maximalism, with contrasting hues and delightfully clashing patterns. 

The Importance Of Lighting

The lighting of a room can make or break the atmosphere. During the day, you can maximise natural lighting by incorporating reflective surfaces and keeping your windows clean. However, avoid relying on harsh overhead lighting to illuminate your dining area once the sun sets. Instead, take inspiration from the Danish concept of Hygge, in which lighting is a significant element. According to Hygge, the best way to create a relaxing and inviting environment for guests is to illuminate the space softly with numerous pools of light, i.e. candles, floor lamps and open fireplaces. 

Opt For A Practical Layout

When selecting and arranging furniture for your dining area, it is essential to prioritise practicality. Ensuring there is ample space for guests to sit comfortably and move around without issue is vital to guarantee a welcoming and functional dining space. Suppose you will be entering and exiting your dining space with hot plates of food and beverages. In that case, you will want to ensure the traffic flow of your dining area is optimised for safety and functionality. 
Work with the space you have, not the space you want. In other words, you may not be fortunate enough to have a large dining room, and squeezing a 10 seater dining table into a bijou space will only make the room unusable. That said, there are ways of maximising your limited space. For example, you could purchase an extendable dining table or build vertical storage solutions.

Create A Bar

If you enjoy hosting late-night dinner parties with friends and family, a bar can be an excellent addition to your dining environment. A dining room bar means you can refresh your guests’ drinks without having to excuse yourself from the party to go to the kitchen. Your bar can be as straight or extravagant as you like - a simple drinks trolley with a few select bottles and decanters or a fully-stocked liquor cabinet complete with glasses, cocktail-making tools and a selection of fine wines - even a mini fridge! 

Comfortable Seating

Any social area of the home should feature comfortable seating. When selecting your dining chairs, along with style and durability, comfort should be a top priority. A depth of at least 20 to 24 inches is typically considered sufficient for dining chairs. Opt for fabric chairs with plush cushioning for a casual, cosy dining area. However, if your seating arrangement consists of benches or pews, it would be wise to keep some extra cushions on hand, particularly when hosting guests. These additional cushions can provide support and comfort, ensuring everyone enjoys a pleasant dining experience.