Isn’t it strange that people often select their home with very little consideration paid to the size and amount of the furniture they have? Or if they do, they usually make allowances for furniture that will go into their bedrooms and living room, and little else. Most new homeowners don’t even know the dimensions of the dining room they had in their old home if they ever had one, so it’s little wonder that the average size of a dining room would put someone into a quandary as much as it might to ask who is buried in Grant’s Tomb. If that messes you up, the answer is nobody, since Grant and his wife, Julia, are not buried, but entombed in twin sarcophagi.
Historical trivia aside, the average size of a dining room in the US is 14 x 16 feet. Dining rooms that most would consider “generous” are 14 x 18 feet to allow for a formal table, chairs and a hutch. Homewyse.com defines the typical dining room as 200 square feet.
Why a Dining Room?
With as little time as most Americans have to entertain, why, pray tell, would anyone need a dining room? The truth is that whether your average American family really has the time, most like to think that if the circumstances present themselves that Chuck and Camilla might ring to let you know they are on their way, they have a room that is kept especially clean and neat for guests. This, of course, discounts the possibility that Junior needs a large open space to assemble a science project for class due the next day, but it’s the thought that counts.
Even if your dining room isn’t the size of the Queen’s formal reception room at Buckingham Palace, having even a small room available will work well for having guests over. Even if it’s just family members who have the time and inclination to sit down together in the evenings, especially to share the events of their day in a space that is designated for dining, having a room that is furnished in a neat and uncluttered way can work wonders. It doesn’t matter whether what makes that room especially charming is artwork, flowers, and other decor items, all it really needs to do is to appeal to your senses to help you enjoy using the area.
Breaking It Down
If all of this isn’t difficult enough to swallow, consider this: some homes don’t even have a separate dining room. Some homes have a dining area that is tucked away inside of another room. These rooms are often as small as eight feet square, for example, but if it does the trick, so be it. The good news in situations like this is that these folks are often able to expand their dining area into the host room, or even a hall area if that is needed. As long as the furniture you need fits and it’s still visually appealing is that matters. In cases like this, you can also take down a wall that adjoins a dining area. This approach will give you more room but keeps the traffic flow in the house the same.
Make It With Mirrors and Windows
If you just don’t have a room that is big enough, you can also make your dining room a visual trick with windows and mirrors. Just build a wall of windows around your dining area. And if this doesn’t work, move your dining area close to a wall of windows that already exists. This will make space seem considerably larger, and you haven’t done a thing except using some creativity. Regardless of what you do, just store some extra chairs in a kitchen or family area for when friends come over, and voila! You have a dining room, and it really doesn’t matter how big or small it really is. Mirrors on one wall will also give the illusion of a larger room when there is none.
Add a Little of the Outdoors
If you have a porch or a deck that adjoins your dining room, especially if you have French doors, you can open them up during a meal and make your dining area seem much larger, If French doors don’t exist, or even a porch or deck, why not build one? You could build a wall of French doors and create a porch or patio to open an area. You could even become the envy of your friends and neighbors by building a BBQ on the patio for when the weather is good.
If you simply don’t have room to go out, go up with vaulted ceilings. Not only will this create the illusion of a much larger room, but it will also add a more elegant touch. Rooms with vaulted ceilings are always considered a little fancier, and your dining room will be no less. And if you really want to dress up a room with a vaulted ceiling, put up a nice chandelier. The Queen will love it, and it will remind her of home.
Room to Breathe In
A home’s dining area is unique in that it is often rarely occupied until there’s a special occasion, during which time it must be considered comfortable, regardless of the people involved. Take that nice dinner with Chuck and Camilla, who don’t bring the boys anymore, but when they do, you have to make allowances for Kate and Megan too. And now with their children, you should have at least 30 inches from the table to any nearby obstruction such as another piece of furniture or a wall.
Even 30 inches might seem a little tight for anyone who needs to get up for whatever reason, but it’s a start. A more comfortable distance is 48 inches, which will allow people to move from the table and looks more elegant too. Just remember that if you want to add a rug underneath the table, that it’s at least 30 inches larger than the table on each side that you want to have chairs.
Small, Medium and Large
If you are still confused over what size you have or want, here are a few general ideas.
If your dining room is about 11′ x 11″ or smaller you have what is generally considered to be a small dining room. A small dining room will seat four people comfortably, with a small amount of space to move around in. No dancing will be allowed.
A medium dining room will measure about 11′ x 14′, which will give you room for six people to be seated comfortably. This will give you room for a table, chairs, and a small buffet or dumb waiter. Dancing will be difficult in a room this size unless it’s off the pole variety. A dining room this size allows people to get around very comfortably with a little wiggle room (no pun intended).
A large dining room, which will measure at least 11′ x 16″ will seat 8 or more people comfortably. The nice thing about having a dining room this large or larger is that it will restrict most of the things you want to have in your room very little. Making this for a room this large even better is the fact that a room this large usually has an open-end arrangement on one side with a wall of windows on the opposite side, and even a fireplace, which will really dress up a dining area.
Regardless of the size of your dining room, you need to make sure you are careful with centering things, or everything will look crowded which, you have learned by now is one of the worst things you can do in any room. Making people comfortable, so that they can enjoy a meal together as well as the fellowship is one of the most important goals you can attain for a dining room. Besides this, who could care less what that pesky Camilla thinks anyway?