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From wall colour to tableware...
Dining room décor, from wall colour to tableware, can have a bigger impact on mealtimes than you realise. According to Rebecca Snowden, interior style advisor at Furniture and Choice, the way we decorate our dining rooms can impact what we eat — and how good it tastes overall.
Whether you have an open-plan space or a separate dining area, planning the right interior scheme is key to enjoying our favourite foods and creating the right atmosphere for hosting.
Give your dining room a sense of wellbeing and calm with the right hues. According to Rebecca, we should be choosing colours that won't hinder our taste experiences.
'Many of us choose paint colours and accessories that appeal to us, not always considering how it might affect the mood and tone of our homes,' says Rebecca. 'Colours can evoke powerful emotions and memories, therefore having a profound effect on mood, wellbeing and behaviour.'
When it comes to right colours, green and red are the best energising hues to choose. 'Our brains associate green shades with nature and healthy eating, which can in turn increase appetites and help us get more enjoyment from our food,' advises Rebecca. 'Red can also be a great colour for those who often play host, as it energises us and can increase social interaction, while also making people feel hungrier.'
From flush ceiling fittings to elegant shades, enhance meal times with the right lighting. Creating the perfect ambience for a dinner party can be easily achieved with natural light, as well as stylish fixtures.
Rebecca adds: 'Natural light is always best, but if that is not available, make sure the lighting is bright enough so people can see what they are about to enjoy; this stimulates the excitement of seeing the food itself and will make the experience of eating it that much more enjoyable.'
While scented candles look and smell great, they can actually affect the taste of your food — especially if they are overwhelming scents.
Instead of candles and diffusers, opt for a mildly scented cleaning product to banish any unwelcome odours. 'It can be as simple as just using antibacterial washing up liquid diluted in water. Using harshly scented cleaning products will cause that smell to linger, which isn't a bad thing in living areas, but in the dining room it can easily hamper the taste of your food,' continues Rebecca.
When choosing tableware, be careful not to overwhelm the senses. According to research, white plates tend to enhance sweet flavours in food, while black angular plates will bring out more savoury flavours. Patterned plates, on the other hand, will interfere with what your eyes are seeing, drawing you away from the food.
'Stick to plain crockery as to not overwhelm the senses,' advises Rebecca. 'Depending on if you have a sweet or savoury tooth, using plain white or black dinnerware is usually best and helps the food to really stand out on the plate.'
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This folding dining table and chair set is ideal for smaller kitchens or dining room spaces. Crafted from wood with a natural lacquered finish, it comes complete with four coordinating slatted chairs that can be stored conveniently. It also sits on castors so that you can simply move it around and adjust it to suit your needs.
Table: H75.7 cm x W32-132 cm x D85 cm
Constructed using sustainable wood, this table is great for compact spaces as it's extendable from 80cm to 160cm. It's finished with a low-sheen lacquer for extra durability.
Dimensions: H73 cm x W80 cm x D80 cm
This clever little table in an ash veneer with a soft blue interior acts as concealed storage – the interior shelves can hold your tableware and kitchen essentials. Come dinnertime, it folds to seat two people. It's multifunctional furniture at its best.
Dimensions: H78 cm x W56 cm x D17 cm
Look out for clever designs that have another use like this stylish oak dining table that converts into a console table! Even at full size – it seats 2-4 – it’s still perfect for smaller homes and it also comes in oak. This is a really practical choice and will look great with bright accessories.
Size: W45 cm x H75 cm x L120 cm
Neat and tidy, this contemporary white square table for two is perfect for small open plan spaces and it’s lightweight design will give you an uncluttered feel. The table is made from MDF with a lacquered finish and the black metal frame legs gives a stylish statement.
Dimensions: H73 cm x W70 cm x D70 cm
This is a great space-saving idea because the benches fit neatly underneath the table when not in use. Crafted from a combination of solid oak, oak veneer, pine and MDF, this is a good solid set that would be great for families. Debbie Drake, Head of Design at Dunelm, says: ‘Bench dining tables, whilst being both stylish and practical, are a great option for saving space in your kitchen or dining room. Opt for a square or rectangular table, which can be pushed flush against a wall and used as a side board when it’s not dinner time.'
Dimensions: H76 cm x W 135 cm x D80 cm
If you don’t want to choose between a coffee and dining table, this ultra-modern gloss-white finish table with powder coated black legs will offer you the best of both worlds. From a low-level coffee table, simply pull the table upward and extend come dinnertime.
Dimensions: H76 cm x W120 cm x D90 cm
It can be useful to have a table that does extend, so if you do move to a large space you can use it. This stylish Scandi-looking design with a white resin-based laminate top gives a light and airy feel and looks great against a white wall as it blends in, helping to create an illusion of space. The wood effect legs pair well with the contemporary top giving it a modern feel and it’s available as a set with four chairs.
Table: L.106-136 cm x W.80 cm x H.75 cm
Circular tables work brilliantly visually due to not having any edges. A top tip is to look out for styles that have cleverly placed legs so that you can easily tuck in chairs. Karen McLaughlin, Head of Category Furniture at Very, explains: 'If your dining area is small or limited a round table will help keep the space open rather than constricting you and will avoid protruding corners.
'Armless chairs can visually enhance the space and enable you to easily store them underneath the table. Keeping the tones light will allow the space to feel airy and bright.'
Dimensions: H74 cm x W120 cm x D120 cm
Made from solid American oak and oak veneers, this flip top table converts from a small four-seater square table to an eight-seater rectangular one in an instant.
Dimensions; W90 cm x H76 cm x D90 cm
With this neat and functional space-saving dining set, the chairs can be folded and stored inside the table, which can also be extended.
Overall table dimensions when fully extended: H120 cm x W80 cm
Perfect to use as a freestanding breakfast bar in the kitchen, this bar table creates an instant worktop and dining space. The two metal stools tuck under easily to make the most of your space.
Table size: H105 cm x W60 cm x L120cm
Perfect for smaller spaces, the high gloss finish and angular silhouette of this table reflects the light. The easy-wipe surfaces are also a dream to keep clean – win-win!
Table size: H76 cm x W80 cm x L80 cm
If space is at a premium, this circular dining set might just do the trick, thanks to a sturdy wooden construction and fabric covered bench chairs that neatly tuck underneath when not in use.
Table: H70 cm x W90 cm x D90 cm
Perfect for breakfast, this bistro table features an underneath shelf for magazines and newspapers. The compact design ensures less space is taken up and it's ideal in a kitchen.
Dimensions: L80.5 cm x W38 cm x H74 cm
A great space-saver, this compact table – made from MDF – is cleverly designed for the chairs to nest neatly within the table frame when not in use.
Dimensions: L90 cm x W47 cm x H 72.5cm
Small yet perfectly formed, this round solid hardwood dining table has two small leaves that mean you can pop it against the wall in a corner when not in use. It could also be used as desk outside meal times if you work from home.
Dimensions: H74 cm x W120 cm x D120 cm
The advantage of a glass topped table is that it allows light to flow through it, not only does this give a contemporary feel, it also makes it an ideal choice for small dining areas. The beech-look legs add a contrast. Choose dining chairs that have similar style to create a cohesive look.
Table size: H75 cm x W80 cm x L120 cm