Take 5…. Dining rooms


For celebrations and occasions, we look forward to having our homes bursting at the seams with family and friends. Historically, large homes in the town and country belonging to the wealthiest in society were designed with rooms for every eventuality – with opulent drawing rooms and dining rooms for formal entertaining only. Other houses had a dining table in any space where it might fit and - rather as today - the kitchen was a room for everything from cooking to ironing, schoolwork to washdays. So how does modern-day dining and entertaining happen now – and is a dining room on the ‘wish list’ for house hunters?

The design of the dining room emerged from history – as far back as the Greeks and Romans, on into the Middle Ages and then the opulence of the Victorian era. As families began to show off their wealth in the Industrial Revolution, the dining room was the perfect place to show their status – from the size of the room, to the delicate china, glassware, linen and silver.

Today, open plan living is probably considered the “norm”, with a kitchen/family room seemingly preferred to the old fashioned kitchen-and-separate-dining-room combination found in many older properties. But having a large open-plan kitchen might well also herald a frenzy of tidying the family detritus away when entertaining, as such rooms of course become very ‘multi-functional’.

So the sense of occasion that a formal dining room brings still has its place: a space to create the atmosphere for fun, friends and food – and a room on which you can just ‘shut the door’ and carry on with life elsewhere.

Below are some homes with delectable dining rooms, and not all from the expected period properties…

Grosvenor Crescent Mews, London SW1

This exquisite dining hall, in an outstanding new home in Belgravia, is on the lower ground floor, and has a 35ft ceiling height with a glass roof.

3 Westminster Avenue, Chester, Cheshire

A beautiful and very generously proportioned dining room in a wonderful townhouse in the historic city of Chester. The room is light and airy, with views over the very private garden.

Milbourne Hall,Milbourne, Newcastle upon Tyne

A grand dining room in a gorgeous Georgian house in Northumberland. The richly opulent dining room, with enough space for a large number of friends and family, is found off a rotunda reception salon.

Glenhurst, Pleasant Harbour, Bewdley

Another Georgian gem, but with a more restrained size and feel of entertaining space: it is reputed that Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, a Conservative statesman who held the title of Prime Minister three times and dominated government between the world wars, hosted meetings in the splendid panelled dining room here.

Langley Wood House, Fulmer/Iver, Buckinghamshire

An exquisite and chic contemporary country home, Langley Wood House has a dining room to match. Clean lines, light and space are the hallmarks in this recently built house

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