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Let me entertain you
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Let me entertain you

Most of us love the idea of entertaining friends, whether a formal dinner party or a pizza and film night, but how often do you actually have people over? Probably not that often. Gone are the days when we had a formal dining room - if you do have one, there is a good chance it is being used as a playroom, spare room or study.

If you have the space, you probably already have a dedicated eating area. If you are choosing furniture, think about the look you want to achieve. Do you want to create a warm, intimate space or something light and airy? Wood, of course, is the traditional material for tables and chairs, ranging from a heavily-carved antique look to something sleek and contemporary. Wood is very versatile, which means you are sure to be able to find something you like in every price range. You will also find a large number of these tables are extendable, which is a real bonus if space is an issue.

If wood is not your thing, there are other options. Glass tables are available in a wide range of styles and sizes, although fewer are extendable. An advantage is that the translucent quality lets light through, making glass tables look less ‘bulky’.

Your dining area might be in your kitchen, in which case you will have glasses, cutlery and napkins to hand. If your table is in the living room and not immediately next to the kitchen, how about some storage nearby to save you going backwards and forwards? A sideboard is the traditional solution and is making a real comeback, as it offers a really stylish solution. Again, you can find sideboards in all styles - from traditional to modern, huge to compact, and designer luxury to budget. Failing that, shelving or a wall-mounted cupboard will do the job just as well. A console table won’t take up much space and is perfect for putting drinks or dishes on.

Don’t laugh, but a hostess trolley really is very useful for keeping food warm, even if it does make you think of your mother or grandmother entertaining the 1970s. They have made a bit of a comeback and you can find them at many major high street and online retailers, from big trolleys on wheels to smaller ones that sit on the table, sideboard or console table. Your mother really did know best after all!

Lighting is also worth thinking about. Most of us want to be able to see what we are eating, although you might want to create a warm, cosy atmosphere for dinner parties. Lighting on a dimmer switch or a pull-down light over the table are the traditional options; however, floor lamps, table lamps and candles can all help to produce the right light for the occasion and will really add to the ambiance. Scented candles are probably best avoided on the table, however, as the smell can overpower the taste of the food!

If a dining table just isn’t going to work in your home, but you still want to entertain on a more casual basis, a sideboard will again come in useful for plates, glasses and napkins. Coffee or side tables will give your guests somewhere to put their drinks, as drinks almost always get knocked over if they are left on the floor. A nest of tables is a neat, space-saving option and you can always use these or side tables as individual dining tables for a TV dinner if your sofas and armchairs are the right height!

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