Taste Test

Editor Lynn Stewart serves up a few of her favourite ideas for dining spaces.

Interior spaces constantly evolve, but one of the biggest changes over the last decade or so must be in the way we eat at home.

Super-formal dining spaces are, in general, a thing of the past and dining areas are often part of a kitchen or an area of the living space. Regardless of where your dining area is, it should be a space that lends itself to ease of use and comfort.

Ideally, any dining table you buy should be in keeping with the rest of your interior style, to add to the sense of flow throughout your home. Extendable tables are a great option for seating extra guests when need be, while tables with sides that fold down work well for compact spaces. The popularity of today’s casual tapas-style sharing meals, as opposed to more formal dinner parties, lends itself to a combination of bench seating and chairs – ideal for squeezing extra guests in around a table.
Pair of Natterbox Chairs in Easy Blue, £250, Loaf (www.loaf.com)

If you are on a budget, consider upcycling a secondhand piece of furniture. Old wooden tables sanded down and given a couple of coats of chalk paint can transform a bargain buy into a great-looking piece. Painted tables work particularly well for Scandi-style interiors and French country looks, but will look good in any light, airy space.

Low-hung ceiling lights over a table create a sense of intimacy – have them on a dimmer switch though as they can be too bright for diners otherwise.
Hopkins table, £450, Hopkins bench, £195, Maddy stackable dining chairs, £150, Wilma ceiling light, £65, all Habitat (www.habitat.co.uk)

Look for tableware that adds personality, and feel free to mix and match patterned plates with plain. Rowen & Wren has some lovely vintage-style barware – that works beautifully indoors and out – and Finnish design house Marimekko has a gorgeous range of plates to add a pop of pattern. Scottish ceramicist Myer Halliday makes beautiful handmade shot cups that are ideal for that post-dinner espresso.
Monochrome Bamboo Plates, set of 6, £29.95, Audenza (www.audenza.com)

Dress your table with slim vases filled with single seasonal stems, or fill kiln jars with foliage for a lovely rustic feel. I always add candles, even in the height of summer, as I love the mood it creates around a table.

Whatever style you choose, the aim is for a happy, relaxed space – perfect for shared meals, laughter and, hopefully, good food.
Shot cup, £14, Myer Halliday Design (www.myerhalliday.co.uk)
Aran Cuffed Carafe & Glasses, from £16, Rowen & Wren (www.rowenandwren.co.uk)
Sophie Conran for Portmeirion Dinnerware Set, £136, available from John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com)
Published: July 2018