Dining room interior design ideas: french country

This week we're going to focus our attentions on dining rooms. It wasn't that many years ago when every home had a dining room or a table at which the family would gather everyday for their meal. Then many of us went through a phase of eating our dinner perched on our laps while watching television – as the age of fast food and informal eating had arrived into our homes.

Today we see the return of the dining room or at least a table at which to sit down and eat as dieticians, health experts, behaviourists and psychologists have re-affirmed the need to spend quality time sharing our meal times with family in the old traditional ways. As such, many homes now have reinstated their dining room to the purpose for which is was included in our homes and those without a specific room allocated for dining are including a table and chairs in their kitchens or lounges.

As with any interior design style of a home the room allocated for dining should reflect the rest of the interior, so we begin with a look at a timeless classic of a French country dining room. As we know the French adore their food and most wouldn't dream of eating food on their laps in front of the TV! Classical French country dining rooms are typically ivory or creamy colours.

The focal point is the table which nine times out of ten will have a large vase of seasonal flowers as the centre piece. The room takes on a relaxed and yet formal style with full length curtains and large rugs placed under the dining room table to help protect floors, provide a touch of intimacy for feet as well as helping to ground the colour scheme. You don't have to spend excessive amounts of money to get the look. Cheap ready made curtains in ivory along with a large rug and plenty of comfortable dining room chairs will do the trick.

In many ways this interior design style verges of Shabby Chic, which means you'll be able to have an eclectic mix of furniture and soft furnishings and get away with it. The key is to remember the chic French ways of coordinating soft, gentle colours with understated elegance. The room shouldn't be cluttered, however it shouldn't be staid and starchy – the French love their food, but perhaps more importantly love sharing it with family and friends – they think nothing of spending an entire evening eating and drinking!

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