Dining out has slowed down, and enjoying more meals at home has become popular lately. Whether it is dinner for two or six, having a dining room (or dining space) that inspires your meal preparation, celebrates the diners and showcases the beauty of your home and its content can make dining at home just as exciting as eating out at a fancy restaurant. Here are unique ways to reconsider your dining spaces.
Start with the Basics- Where to Dine & Theme
Many of us are rediscovering family mealtime. Suddenly there are no excuses for anyone to miss dinner. Finding new dining spaces to have your meals can remind you of all your home has to offer.
The Formal Dining Room
No longer must the formal dining room be for entertaining guests on holidays. Since most dining rooms are right off the kitchen, they are functional for serving, and they can fit large groups at your home. To dress down a formal space consider:
Finding festive silverware or using your daily settings will help make this room less formal.
Adding a neutral stain and water-resistant table cloth will protect your furniture and keep stress levels low. Then create pops of color with placemats and napkins. Consider adding some solids and prints that you can mix and match to create multiple unique place settings.
Using white dishes is an excellent basic that can be dressed up or down for any occasion.
House plants. Instead of worrying about where to buy fresh flowers as a centerpiece, consider using one of your favorite, small indoor plants. You can also challenge your family to cut rosemary from the yard, or maybe a small blooming tree branch for decoration.
The Kitchen Dine-in Area
A dine-in bar is an excellent place for morning coffee, homework, or visitors to sit while you prepare food. Reconsider using this space for a special meal. Food Network chefs have turned their kitchens into studios, and breakfast bars into tasting stations and a place for the crew (usually their family) to film their shows. Take this casual space and dress it up. Consider having an intimate weekend meal with your family at the kitchen bar.
Remember your formal china that may make an appearance a couple of times a year? Use your best silverware, formal place settings, and glassware as the base for a family meal. Set the dine-in bar early, then ask everyone to show up 30 minutes before dinner is ready to watch you cook, learn some tips, and share about their day.
With a smaller group, this is a fun way to share the story about your treasured formal place setting, the history of where it came from, or why it was chosen. This is an opportunity to start a conversation for all generations sitting down for the meal.
Make it special with dessert. Consider baking earlier in the day with anyone interested or look online to order a unique dessert. New York’s famous Milk Bar Bakery has figured out how to ship their cult-favorite sweets anywhere in the USA.
The Living Room Floor Can Be the Newest Dining Space
Picnics are fun, but the heat and insects can put a damper on alfresco dining. Staying indoors in a rarely used space can lead to an entertaining night.
Consider throwing down one (or more) water-resistant tablecloths, some throw pillows to sit on and have a family picnic indoors.
Food can come from the grill or even be delivered. There is no need to fuss over the menu. The real focus of this meal is the entertainment.
An indoor picnic invites a family game night. Start with snacks while setting things up, then once everyone is ready to play, serve the meal. If you need inspiration, the Spruce has named their “12 Best Family Board Games of 2020.”
These ideas can create memorable evenings, but they may have you rethinking how you use your home.
Creating New Spaces
Remodeling may have been on your radar. Now that you are enjoying more family time at home opening the kitchen to the living room, or even bringing more light into your recently used spaces with picture windows can be projects you may want to consider.
Improving Existing Spaces
Maybe the cooking has moved outdoors, or the need for more transitional indoor/outdoor space gives you additional room for day-to-day living. Opening up your home to the backyard with expansive sliding glass doors may be a project worth planning.
Utilizing what you already have or making some small investments will allow you to create unique, fun experiences for those nights you dine at home. By spending more time at home, it is possible to discover a new love for spaces that were once ignored or find ideas for ways to improve existing rooms. No matter the night, having memorable experiences that bring everyone under the same roof is an evening to be cherished.