Dining tables in the home are usually either multifunctional or formal.
The formal dining table is mostly for entertaining guests. For the holiday season, for birthday cakes – a social axis, it is the stage where that interactive art form known as the dinner party – is produced.
An opportunity for us to share our gracious company and the bounty of our culinary labors with friends and dear ones.
The multifunctional dining table leads a very different life. Commonly used as a desk, work bench, sewing table, meeting table and yes, occasionally as a dining table.
Its diverse spectrum of uses is testament to its fabulous versatility, and to its central role in our homes. In some homes, the whole family culture could be said to revolve around the dining table… or perhaps the kitchen table.
Its where kids are fed, taught, entertained, where band-aids are applied, homework is done, and family meetings are held.
As likely to be covered in books, cloth, laptops or lego as plates of food – the dining table is one of the most important pieces of furniture in many homes.
Slowly but steadily its dominion is being usurped by the ubiquitous coffee table: smaller, often less resilient, less ergonomic and less communal, the coffee table does not really measure up to the noble dining table.
Since the 1950’s families have been migrating towards the television, taking with them their meals, their books and their projects, and leaving behind the dining table culture of conversation, sharing of skills and interaction with family members.
The dining table is one of the places where we learn our social skills and our communications skills. Its where we learn to listen, entertain others, to be gracious, hospitable, to tell stories, it’s where we learn about the world outside our homes and schools.
The formal dining table gets fairly light use. There is little or no risk of it being mauled by a toy truck or broken by a stray airborne roller skate… (err yes that’s a true story), the multi functional dining table or kitchen table on the other hand, has to stand up to constant use and abuse… that does not mean however that it can’t be elegant and refined. On the contrary, good quality wood, stone or thick glass wipe down beautifully. Heavy use will over long periods of time wear and scratch even the hardiest of furniture – but with a little care and maintenance and some luck – that will only add to it’s character.