After a decade of open plan living which incorporated all aspects of home living in one big box, the dining room had been all but forgotten. Being able to cook and eat without missing any of our favourite T.V. shows was proving too much of an allure. Recent trends in interior design show that the separate dining is once again becoming popular. This is partly through the recent explosion in retro inspired furniture. Sideboards, lunch trolleys and floating shelving have all been part of a mid 20th century resurgence.

It is easy to understand the dining room revival, with more and more people doing their socialising from home, a separate room just for that very purpose increases the sense of occasion. On a practical level, having a dining room means you can have a much bigger table and should you make a bit of a mess, you don’t have to sit in it watching television the next day.

The most crucial part of a successful dining room is not actually the table or the cutlery, it is the lighting. Lighting is the key element in creating atmosphere (the people you invite also makes a big difference but I’m afraid that is a topic for another forum entirely). Your lighting should offer you options in terms of mood. A ceiling light set directly above the table is a must; if it is anywhere else your room will lose its focus. The light should be on an extendable cord to allow you to switch from formal to intimate. With the lighting level dropped the room will feel snugger, putting your guests at ease.

No matter what your taste, a solid wood table is always your best option. Wood being a natural material, it is instantly comforting and thereby creates a warmer atmosphere. Whether you have a country barn or minimal city pad, all you need to alter is the style and finish of the table.

Adding a sideboard and some shelving on which to store your favourite glasses is not only practical but indicates the rooms use. Filling your sideboard with cutlery and dishes will eliminate the danger of dropping plates as you make the trip from the kitchen. You should also put a C.D. player in there so the room stays clutter free and therefore more relaxing. Having a few of your favourite C.D.s close to hand also means you can get the party going much quicker.

As a dining room is generally used only sparingly you can afford to be a little more adventurous here than you might be in the living room. It is a room for the big occasion so do not fear in creating some Victorian splendour through period wallpaper and a chandelier for example. The Victorians understood the importance of staging a dinner party in the correct way so this would be an apt era from which to take influence.

Although you want your dinning room to have an ambient air, it is best to stick to harder materials such as tiles or wood in terms flooring. With the drinks in full flow, a spill is inevitable so a thick cream carpet, however luxurious, is probably best avoided. Wooden and tiled floors can make a room feel slightly hard, s to avoid a tinny sound to the sound and replace the comfort lost through getting rid of the carpet, a nice richly coloured rug should be placed beneath the table. A rug will add comfort to the space whilst also placing greater importance on the main area.