A Guide To Slow Home Principles: The Dining Room

A Guide To Slow Home Principles: The Dining Room

Lauren Zerbey
Aug 23, 2011

Along with the kitchen, the dining room serves as a natural connection between Slow Food and a Slow Home. As our lives tend to speed up, our food choices not only suffer, but so does our dining space. C'mon - how many of you eat dinner on the couch in front of the TV? If you just raised your hand, keep reading!

According to the Slow Home Movement a home should have a well-defined dining area that properly fits a table that is suitable for daily use. Here are some additional principles that will help turn your dining area into a space you actually use:

1. Location: Many homes include a formal dining room that is disconnected (both physically and visually) from the rest of the home. If you have the flexibility, consider widening the doorway or removing a wall to make the space more accessible. If you have a less formal eating area off of the kitchen, consider making this your primary dining area and converting the formal space for a more suited use.

2. Layout and Flexibility: Make sure that there is adequate space around the table for easy circulation. Invest in a table that has the flexibility to accommodate every day use but can expand for larger crowds.

3. Avoid table clutter: While informality and flexibility are positive traits for a slow dining room, try to avoid the unnecessary clutter that tends to find its way onto the table. If there's not enough space to eat you're less likely to sit down and enjoy your meal, free of other distractions. Tip: a designated landing strip will help keep your table free of mail, keys, handbags, etc.

4. Invest in a great table: The table is a natural focal point in any home. Invest in a piece that is durable, well-made and of timeless design. Want to take it up a notch? Select a table that also has a story - whether it's an heirloom piece, a salvaged table from a high school, or a slab table from a felled urban tree.

5. Experiment with a mixture of chairs: If you're not adamant about matching chairs, try a mixture of different sizes, styles and colors. Not only does this open the door for collecting used chairs but it also gives guests and family members a sense of belonging as they choose their favorite seat.

6. Pay attention to lighting: The dining room should have good access to natural light as well as adequate task lighting. Add a dimmer switch to control the amount of lighting so you can set the mood depending on the meal or event.

7. Make dining a priority: Finally, make eating at the table a priority. Even if it's just dinner, plenty of articles and studies have proven that taking the time to gather and enjoy good food has a valuable impact on quality of life, whether you're a single person or a family of six.

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