How to design a dining area

Make space for everyone and get the practicalities right with this ultimate guide

By Sophie Vening | 16 April 2021

Every home needs a comfortable dining area. A breakfast bar or island unit with stools to perch on, a dedicated space with a table or even a separate room. If you’re self-building or extending, take into account both your everyday and special-occasion dining requirements. This will help you identify the best set up from the outset of the planning process. The advice of an architect or kitchen designer will be invaluable at this point. Renovators restricted to working within the building’s footprint may be able to knock down or put up internal walls to reconfigure the layout.

Planning the layout

A well-organised place to eat that has an efficient connection to the cooking area is essential to ensure mealtimes are as relaxed, comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Ease of accessibility is particularly important. A kitchen and dining space on different floors, for instance, makes cooking and eating highly impractical for use on a daily basis.

Open plan layouts prevent whoever’s cooking from feeling isolated from family and guests when preparing meals. This type of scheme also provides access to the dining table, creating a relaxed setting and makes serving meals easier. Also, incorporating the kitchen, dining and living areas into one big room will create a spacious, airy and light-filled space. But, if you prefer to have some separation between the three areas, consider designing a broken plan arrangement.

This involves incorporating design ideas and architectural elements such as different ceiling heights or floor levels, half-height walls or an L-shaped layout to signify different zones. You’ll find more tips below.