What’s become of the dining room? As Australians, we’ve embraced open-plan indoor-outdoor home design, and with that dining rooms have shifted and evolved.
In Australia, we’ve progressed the concept of the ‘dining room’ to mix and merge with various areas in the home, and the outdoors.
Here, interior stylist Adam Powell shares 10 shining examples of modern-day dining rooms, as well as his tips to get each look.
1. Conveniently placed
These days, it’s important for a dining table to not be too far from a kitchen area.
Purely from a functional point of view, it helps get food to fork quicker, and proximity to dining areas also make the kitchen feel like a more inclusive environment; not just the cook’s domain!
For Adam, placement of the dining table is extremely important as it “helps to zone out your area and define specific areas for dining or relaxing”. Here we see designers take extra steps to ensure diners remain toasty on wintry evenings by positioning the table next to a fireplace too.
2. Space to spread
Making big spaces appear even bigger, open-plan living design really comes into its own in a large home – as seen here in this expansive family abode.
If you’ve got the space, help to fill it with a statement dining table.
“A solid table can help centre a space,” Adam says. “It’s also robust enough to fit lots of family and friends around, with the option of pulling in extra seating.
3. Alfresco appeal
As Australians we are lucky to have (mostly) great weather for a large chunk of the year.
“To position your dining area close to the outdoor area means you can open up the space on warmer days to capture that alfresco way of dining, but have the ability to close up and be cosy when needed,” Adam explains.
4. Glassy and classy
The great strength of open plan design is its ability to make spaces appear to flow into each other – living space with dining and kitchen areas. Keep that sense of flow uninterrupted with a glass table.
“Glass dining tables are great when you want to give the illusion of the space being minimalist and clutter-free,” Adam says.
“Having a transparent surface opens up your space allowing light and the eye to travel through.”
Island benchtops have become the casual dining table for many Australians, and we love it.
“The kitchen is the heart of the home,” Adam says, “So it’s no wonder that the trend towards island benches with adequate seating is booming.”
“The knock-on effect of the ‘island bench boom’ is the abundance of bar seating and stools we’re seeing with great levels of comfort and design,” Adam says.
6. A splash of colour
This island bench gets our nod of approval with an underside of baby pink adding interest in an all-white space. In a vast open-plan kitchen-dining area, a lick of contrasting paint could be just the thing to help zone out the space.
Replica Eames stools complete the Scandi look seen here.
7. Mid-century sleek
While during the ’50s the kitchen was still relegated to the back of the house, away from the dining area, in the ’60s and ’70s we saw kitchens become a more central point in the home.
Perhaps that’s why mid-century style and furniture has endured through the centuries, and still looks the part in the modern kitchen-dining areas of today.
“Mid-century style in the home is far more than a trend these days, it’s a staple style we see all across Australia,” Adam says. “The earthy mid-tone timbers are the key to look out for here.”
8. Suitably separate
Open-plan dining areas don’t have to feel like one big room with a bunch of mutually exclusive furniture thrown in.
As seen here, you can carve out the space for dining simply by choosing a nice nook (perhaps under a window) to place your table and zoning the space carefully with a rug.
“Anchoring a dining area with a rug is by far the easiest way to zone out a space in an open-plan home.”
9. Hip to be square
This button-cute dining area still functions without taking up too much space.
In smaller open-plan spaces, square tables are great as there’s no ‘dead space’ between seats.
To take the transitional open-plan theme even further, Adam says, “don’t be afraid to push a dining table against a wall. You can then style it like a hall table or console [when not dining] or even use it as a study desk.”
10. Then there was light
“A low-hanging pendant above the table is also a great way to define the space, and when lit at night it can create a mood and intimacy similar to dining at a nice restaurant,” Adam says.
We love this modern open-plan space, where an ultra contemporary pendant does the heavy lifting to designate the space for dining. Bring on the fancy dinner parties!