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Erica Sereno
Written by Erica Sereno 23rd October 2017

The Formal Dining Room

At the Cheltenham Literature Festival recently, Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry caused a furore by revealing her view that dining rooms have had their day. She only uses hers at Christmas and occasionally for big family gatherings, and is adamant that her next property is going to be dining room free. At Michael Graham we love a formal dining room, but are we in the minority?

The answer to that is no, but only just. In the latest survey, only 52% of Britons said they considered a dining room necessary. And there’s no doubt that a contemporary designer kitchen is the all singing all dancing room of the house, with many of us, like Mary, practically living in theirs. Kitchens have always been considered the heart of the home and play a key role in influencing a buyer’s decision. But that doesn’t mean we should consign the dining room to a bygone era. Country Life agree, asking how you can possibly enjoy a relaxing evening entertaining friends with dirty dishes lining up on the work surfaces and empty pans filling the sink. If you are fortunate enough, like Mary, to have a prep kitchen as well as a main kitchen, that problem is avoided, but there will still be the clattering of pans and the occasional culinary mishap to make a separate dining room an attractive option.

With nostalgia for a less frenetic pace of life when we didn’t catch sight of ourselves coming back as we left the house, what is nicer than dressing the table with the best cutlery and glasses, lighting candles and creating a relaxed and romantic atmosphere? Country Life sees a kitchen/dining room as an import from America where it’s deemed desirable for the chef to have the option of chatting away to guests while creating courses before their eyes. Difference makes the world go around, so on balance, perhaps the ideal scenario is to have both rooms. A kitchen for every day family meals, and a dining room for special, or formal, occasions. That sounds a bit like having your cake and eating it, which is rather appropriate given Mary Berry started this, don’t you think?

Do you agree with Mary Berry or Michael Graham? Please do send us a tweet and let us know.