Formal Dining Room Vs. Single Dining Area: Which Is Right For You?
Most people today, when they think of a modern home, think of an open floor plan, the popular home design where the kitchen opens through full or partial walls to the dining and living areas. Open layouts allow both eating and cooking to take place in the same space. They are conducive to conversation during meal prep, multiple cooks in the kitchen and, often, a more casual feel in the home.
However, are single eating areas always best? What about the popular home layout of a few decades ago, where the kitchen was just for cooking and the separate dining room was where meals took place? How do you pick between the two? Does an open kitchen or do separate kitchen/dining areas fit your lifestyle best?
To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of formal dining room designs versus single eating area designs. By knowing what each option offers, you may be better able to make your choice.
The Pros and Cons of a Formal Dining Room
Keeping a separate space that’s just for dining gives you several distinct advantages, but a formal dining room isn’t for everyone. When looking at formal dining room ideas, think through these pros and cons:
- PRO: You have a distinct place for hosting family gatherings, parties and holiday meals.
- PRO: Parties feel more special, set apart from dishes and meal prep.
- CON: The kitchen may have to be smaller, in order to accommodate a separate dining area in the layout.
- CON: A separate kitchen and dining room separates the cook from the guests.
- CON: In busy lifestyles where members of the household eat at different times, the dining room may not get much use.
The Pros and Cons of a Single Eating Area
Being able to have some people sitting to eat in or near the same space where others are prepping meals or doing dishes can create a more communal feeling in the home. In terms of eat-in kitchen ideas, here’s what to keep in mind:
- PRO: You can enjoy a more open feel in the living areas.
- PRO: A more open feel may create the illusion of additional space.
- PRO: It’s easier to keep tabs on kids when they’re eating in the same space where you’re cooking.
- CON: All the smells and sounds of kitchen cooking, cleaning, etc., are accompanying meals.
- CON: When you’re entertaining, you’re likely to feel the pressure of getting the kitchen — which will also be the gathering area — clean beforehand.
Making Your Choice
At the end of the day, knowing whether you’d prefer a single dining area or a formal dining room comes down to your preferences and needs. Do you love the tradition of a separate eating area? Do you like the idea of having guests in or near the kitchen while you cook? How often does your household sit down to eat together? How frequently would you put the dining room to use? Looking at the pros and cons of each option, along with your needs, can help you determine which choice is right for you.