Slow Home Space Planning & Organization: The Dining Room

Our dining room is my favorite room is our new but old home. It's where we gather daily for breakfast or dinner. It can be casual, as it is most days, or it can hold the formality of special occasions and holidays. It functions for us, which is not something most people can say. Most dining rooms go unused because they are separate from the rest of the house or are thought of as too formal for daily use.

After reading up on the slow home principles Cambria mentioned earlier this month, I realized our dining room qualifies. Here's how yours can to.

  1. Clear your dining table of everything except a vase of flowers. You'll want the space ready for your use at any time.
  2. Don't worry about placing a rug under your table and chairs. It's completely not necessary and can make it difficult to move your chairs around.
  3. To protect your floors from scratching, adhere sticky felt pads to your chairs' feet.
  4. Install proper lighting. A pendant light should be centered above your dining table, hanging between 28 and 34 inches above the top of your dining surface.
  5. You'll need proper, easy-to-access storage in your Slow Home Dining Room. Think about the items you have in your space and what you need to store: serving ware, flatware and maybe table linens. What else is on your list? Making these items easy-to-access will make the process of dining in this room convenient and enjoyable.
  6. Take an inventory of the items you typically use in your dining room. Is it possible to pare back a few of those formal settings and opt for something more universal, something you can enjoy both everyday and on special occasions?
  7. Place your dining table and chairs so there's enough circulation space for guests to easily access their seats. Typically you'll want 5 to 6 feet of space around your dining table, unless it's situated against a wall. It's important to have this clearance for everyday use.
  8. If you're not already using them, cloth napkins are a really sweet, green way to make everyday dining a special, memorable occasion.
  9. Hang a special piece of art in your dining room or dining area to celebrate the space. Even if your dining area is in your apartment's kitchen, acknowledge the space's importance with a little art love.
  10. Let go of the idea that your dining room will always be perfect. It won't and it doesn't have to be. Your table will get scratched and there might be a few spills. This is okay, don't fret. Just remember, you are building memories in the most ancient way possible, by sharing a nourishing meal with loved ones. Scratches can always be fixed and spilled milk can always be cleaned up.

(Image: Landis Carey via Mint Peach)

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Dining Room, Green Living

Landis is a ceramic artist who hand-makes heirloom-quality pottery for the kitchen, table, and home. She writes about tabletop design and entertaining for The Kitchn and lives in Maplewood, NJ with her husband and toddler.