Room by room essentials 5 - dining rooms

Today's room is the dining room where we eat, drink and be merry! Dining rooms can be solely for the aforementioned purpose or they may be an extension of the kitchen. Larger families will often find the convenience of a dining table and chairs for other activities such as helping children with homework or those all important family meetings.

Depending on how you use your dining space, you may require some extras that are not on our essentials list such as items for at-home offices - just check with the other posts in this series to complete your individual lists. Dining Table - The all important dining table; often placed by the window or central to the room - it is usually the largest and most used piece of furniture in the dining room. There are many styles of dining tables and some of you may even be dining at a bar top within the kitchen. It should be bought at the size you need - plus extra room for two guests.

If you entertain often and with big crowds, you may prefer a table that can be extended or a second table that can be pushed up next to the other one when needed. Café style tables will be better for small spaces or small households. Dining Chairs - If you are dining at a kitchen island unit or bar top then you will need stools that are an appropriate height; you can buy them in a million and one different styles but we recommend those with backs for added comfort.

Stackable chairs are a good choice for those limited on dining space or whose dining area is with the lounge for example; the chairs are easier to store when stacked and will free up floor space. Another option for seating is a bench seat which also helps to get the most out of your available space and helps to squeeze all the children at the table! Do upholster benches or place cushions down to prevent numb bums.

Dining Storage - A glass fronted cabinet is very elegant in a dining room and great for showing off your best set of dinnerware or collections. Sideboards are popular and come in a range of styles to compliment both traditional or contemporary décor. If you really love entertaining and like to have everything close to hand - a buffet unit has space for everything, with drawers, shelves and glass fronted cabinets.

Accessories & Textiles - It is always a good idea to have a few essentials for entertaining guests or just to have some textiles that make the dining room more homely and welcoming. Your choice of accessories and textiles will also help to finish off a certain style or theme.

Ready made eyelet curtains come in a range of colours and can bring some drama or sophistication to your dining experience. Other items to consider include chair pads/cheap cushion covers, colourful or patterned napkins, place mats, table runners along with a neutral coloured brown and beige dining room rug placed under the table for added comfort for bare feet!

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