When you think of “family dinner” what comes to mind? Sixty years ago you would have instantly thought of the average family of four sitting comfortably around a dining room table with an eloquent setting eating properly prepared meals.
But today when people think “family dinner” they probably think of microwavable meals eaten on TV trays while sitting around the tube on the sofa. Formal dining has gone the way of the Dodo bird these days.
It may be a regrettable change for some, moving dinner from the dining room to the living room, but many are caught in a sort of transitional limbo. Some families don’t make it all the way to the living room to eat; some just get stuck in the kitchen and find it an adequate location for family mealtime. They may not get the whole dining experience that a dining room setting will bring but at least they are making an effort to converse and enjoy each other’s company without the aide of the television.
The kitchen table is often the most utilized in the house. The average family of four will use their kitchen table for every meal of the day, even if they have a formal dining room table, the kids will use it as a makeshift desk for homework and Facebook, it is a place for board game night, and if the mood strikes it can even make a great fort. A formal dining room generates the feeling of professionalism and fine dining. You will often find armoires with expensive China and silverware on display and the table will be dressed up with candles, doilies, and fancy napkins. It can be tons of fun to sit and eat in a formal setting during special occasions, holidays, and family gatherings but when you are just trying to have a bowl of cereal for breakfast it can be a little overbearing.
The kitchen table is such a common area because of its general proximity to the comfortable places in the house: the kitchen and the living room. In most homes you will find a round kitchen table dividing the kitchen area from the rest of the house unless walls and doors already divide the kitchen. In a house with an open layout, where minimal doors are used to separate space, it is a good idea to set up furniture in certain places so that each room has its own unique feel and space. As media consumption expands you find that more people are likely to eat in front of their television or computer rather than at a traditional dining area. However, if the family places a kitchen table somewhere close to the television set you can still get the best of both worlds. Dining doesn’t have to be proper and refined to be enjoyed. When you eat around a small round kitchen table it is more comfortable and relaxed. You can eat and enjoy the company of your family without putting the sofa cushions in danger and you can have more casual meals that don’t require formal etiquette.