Get your dining area into shape — see our 5 tips

How big should a dining table be, and the carpet underneath? Follow these tips to create a functional dining area in your kitchen, or a living-room nook.

Marimekko Oiva dishware
A rectangular table will accommodate an additional seat if needed. This table is set with Marimekko's Oiva tableware and glasses from the Socks rolled down collection.

1. Clarify how much space you need

Where will the table go and how many people should fit around it? A rectangular table will fit almost any space. On the other hand, diners can see each other at a round table, which is ideal by bay windows, for example. Reserve at least 60 centimeters for each diner i.e. a table for six people should be at least 180 cm long. Also leave enough space for moving around and behind the table.

Artek 69 chairs
Artek's classic 69 chairs are perfect for the dining table.

2. Invest in chairs

A good chair will support your back and enable comfortable sitting for long periods. Test how well the chairs and table fit together, as the seating height of chairs can vary. A bench has room for several diners, but can be uncomfortable to sit on for long periods. If you lack space, buy folding or stackable spare chairs, such as Artek's 60 stools, in case of guests.

Muuto 70/70 table
Two Fluid pendant lights have been hung above the 70/70 table. Both are by Muuto. The opal glass shade creates a smooth and soft light.

3. Suitable lighting

A pendant lamp is suitable above a dining table. Hang it around 60 to 70 centimeters above the table. If the lamp is too high, the light may dazzle diners. If it is too low, your guests won’t be able to see each other. You may need several lamps for a long table. Candles and spotlights create an atmosphere in a dining space.

Woodnotes San Francisco carpet
The San Francisco carpet, designed by Ritva Puotila for Woodnotes, comes in array of colours and sizes.

4. Opt for a large enough rug

If your dining table is in your living room or a large open kitchen, you can use a kitchen island, an open shelf or large green houseplants to separate different functions. A rug can also bring diners together. Your mat is large enough when your table and chairs fit onto it comfortably – leave around half a meter behind the chairs. Choose a smooth, lint-free rug that is easy to clean and move around.

&Tradition In Between chairs
A round table is ideal for bay windows. Products by &Tradition are shown in the picture: a Formakami pendant light and In Between chairs.

5. Use a mirror to create additional space

You can use light colors and reflective surfaces to open out a dining area. A glass table and slender furniture add lightness. If there is no window, hang a large mirror next to the table, to conjure up extra light and square meters.

String System folding table
The folding table from the String System shelving collection is ideal for saving space in small dining areas.

Worth remembering:

• An extendable table is a good choice if you occasionally need extra space. You can also buy two identical small tables which can be placed next to each other, if necessary: one can act as a desktop outside festive occasions.

• Opt for slightly non-matching furniture to add life to your soiree. Why not combine beautiful, decorative chairs — or the same chair design in different colors – with a simple table?

• Use place mats made of cork or wool felt to muffle the distracting clatter of dishes. You can enhance your room’s acoustics with an acoustic panel or a thick rug mounted on the wall.

Dining room favourites

Table 81B
Tie rug
Eames DSR chair
Louis Poulsen
PH 5 pendant
Tilt Top table
Ferm Living
Merge rug
Masters chair
Secto Design
Octo Small pendant

See also:

• All dining tables at Finnish Design Shop >

Text: Virpi Kanto Photos: Manufacturers

This story was originally published in the Avotakka magazine.

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