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The demise of the dining room

PUBLISHED: 08:42 01 December 2015 | UPDATED: 09:27 02 December 2015

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Do you dine inside, or out…?

Open plan livingOpen plan living

It is inescapable: the Christmas countdown has begun. There are some who love the planning, the lists, designing the menu, putting up the decorations on 1st December - and they look forward to having their home bursting at the seams with family and friends. There are others to whom this might be considered purgatory…

The Christmas season of excess that we enjoy dates from Victorian times: from the size of tree to the piles of gifts under it, from the number of people we have round the table to the number of dishes on the table - how does this fit with the size of our homes of today?


According to the property ‘wish list’ from our Research Department, a walled garden is what most buyers crave when looking for a new home, then an outdoor sitting room/entertaining terrace (a bit chilly for Christmas Day), followed by a kitchen garden and orchard. Maybe one can assume from the wish list that ‘Living the Dream’ means providing as much as one can on the Christmas table from the walled and kitchen gardens: from the sprouts and parsnips, to the decorative sprig of holly right up to the turkey (our advice: don’t give it a name!) It is rare that potential purchasers put ‘separate dining room’ at the top of their wish list – unless it’s outside, with a pizza oven…

Open plan living is now considered the norm, with a kitchen/family room preferred to the ‘old fashioned’ kitchen-and-separate-dining-room combination. While it means you can probably fit more people into the space, it might well also herald a frenzy of tidying the family detritus away (how does Lego manage to creep so far?) The days of the formal dining room seem to have all but gone: in fact if you believe everything you read in the press, just getting a family to all eat together round any table, let alone a dining table, seems to be a chore!

Dining RoomDining Room

The property hunters that come into our office are distinctively in two camps: those under 50 who want open plan living-dining, and those over 50 who would prefer a dining room. Is it purely a ‘generation thing’? Though some of the properties on our books do have a dining room, it is often heard while showing potential purchasers round: ‘This will make a great family room’.

The fact seems to be that more people would now like a pantry in their home rather than a dining room: great for all the Christmas essentials, but it doesn’t give you the extra space for seating the in-laws.

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