Dining room Revolution: Are formal dining rooms back?

With the popularity of today's open floor plans, oversized islands, and eat-in kitchens, the dining room has become somewhat of an afterthought - just a space tucked between the kitchen and the living room. Is the day of the formal dining room over? Not necessarily.

Historically, the dining room was separated from the kitchen because the kitchen had one function: meal preparation. Families and guests were served in a separate room, where a meal could be eaten in peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. As time went on and household dynamics and interior design trends evolved, the kitchen became a popular gathering and entertaining spot, where the chef could continue to interact with family and friends during meal preparation. The downside, however, was that the clutter from food prep was still front and center during meal times.

While eat-in kitchens remain a popular option, there’s much to be said for having a separate dining room. Close the door to the kitchen, and the mess stays out of sight. More importantly, a separate dining room offers a quiet space to focus on a great meal and good conversation.

Lighting is a focal point of dining room décor. Often as not, lovers of traditional-style homes are the biggest fan of the classic dining room. Crystal chandeliers, vintage furniture, wall sconces, and gorgeous woodwork are all traditional touches that remain timeless and symbolize elegance.

But fans of all design styles can enjoy a separate room designated for dining. Here, bold lighting choices can be made to show off the homeowner's style. While a statement candelabra chandelier is always appropriate, think beyond traditional. Hang a trio of globe pendants or a multi-arm, contemporary style chandelier over the table for a sophisticated look. Or lean towards a cozy, farmhouse aesthetic with two or three oversized, lantern fixtures, or a rustic wrought-iron chandelier. There are tons of lighting choices to fit every lifestyle.

As a finishing touch, install dimmer switches on the overhead and accent lighting so that the perfect level of light can be achieved to create a bright and light, or warm and cozy ambiance. Better yet, put all lighting, as well as room temperature controls and window shades, on a smart-control system to easily create the perfect settings for different times of day or activities.

No matter the style, a dining room is more than just a place to celebrate the holidays. It's a room where every meal served feels special.

Visit a local ALA-member showroom to learn more and see the most current products and trends available today.

Photo by Maxim Lighting