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Neale Whitaker on creating a connected dining space


Some years ago, I wrote an article for the Sydney Morning Herald about restaurant chairs. I remember I had quite a job convincing my editor that even without dishes or recipes, the article would be a great read. And I think it was, though I would say that. It was fascinating to talk to well-known restaurateurs about how they selected their chairs (a juggle between style, comfort, functionality and cost if I remember correctly) and what each restaurateur felt chairs added to the diner’s experience. I guess it’s in my nature to enjoy a restaurant interior as much as the food on my plate, but I also believe (then as now) that a good chair and a good table are integral to dining pleasure – and that’s as true at home as it is of a fine-dining restaurant or neighbourhood café.


Featuring Aspen Six Seater Dining Table in Smoked Oak and Aspen Dining Chairs in Baxter Natural and Smoked Oak.


The evolution of home dining

Home dining spaces have had an interesting history. In the 1970s, when I grew up, the majority of homes had a separate dining room, that - like the tableware and glasses kept in the cupboard for ‘best’ – was rarely used. My own family squeezed around a small kitchen table at mealtimes, while the generous, mid-century dining table stood idle and empty, wearing nothing more than furniture polish and a bowl of ceramic fruit.

In more recent years, our predilection for open-plan living has seen an end to traditional dining rooms, but the dining ‘zone’ remains an important focus of contemporary floor plans, regardless of ever-increasing kitchen islands and fragmented family mealtimes. I remember Queenslanders Tess and Luke wowing us judges on the 2019 season of The Block with an elegant, formal dining room. I also remember us warning the Cairns couple that their bold design decision might cost them dearly at auction. Instead they won The Block.



To my mind, the dining space has always been the unsung hero of the home. Dining spaces don’t steal the limelight like kitchens, but so often daily life revolves around them. A well-positioned dining table and chairs bring a sense of connection and anticipation to a home and speak – to me at least - of generosity and shared experiences. Our dining table at our south coast home reminds us of the friends we will soon once again be able to welcome. It will be interesting to see how post-pandemic design incorporates dining zones, and whether they will need to earn their keep as multi-purpose spaces, but it’s my belief that in one form or another, the dining zone is a keeper.


Featuring Quay Ceramic Dining Table in Pumice, Quay Outdoor Dining Chairs in Oceania Outdoor Rock Art.


Creating contemporary dining spaces

In decades past, dining rooms reflected the formality of home entertaining. They were ‘good rooms’ that came with candlelight, fine crystal and a mandate to impress. Contemporary dining spaces – thank goodness - are relaxed and low-key by comparison. When we entertain at home, whether indoors or outdoors, we’re likely to remain at the table long after the last spoonful of dessert. That’s when the best stories begin. We require our dining spaces to be comfortable and practical, but we also need them to work in with our home décor, not stand separate as islands of formality. In simple terms, our dining spaces need to look good both on- and off-duty.


Featuring Issho DIning Table in Smoked Oak and the Amara Dining Chairs. 


A dining setting with six or eight chairs takes up valuable living space, so it should be chosen with the same care as a sofa or any big-ticket furniture item. KING understands this and the new Dining Collection reflects an easy and thoroughly Australian attitude to both indoor and outdoor dining. Amongst my favourites in the KING range are the classic and timeless Aspen Dining Table and Chairs, the structural beauty of the Issho Dining Table and the sublimely simple circular Eto Table, designed for KING by designer Tom Fereday.

For outdoor dining spaces (and how lucky are we in Australia to have the option of creating outdoor rooms), I love the Quay Outdoor Dining Table in marble or ceramic with contrasting Quay Outdoor Chairs, or the gorgeously retro Luna Outdoor Dining Chairs designed for KING by Charles Wilson. They would work perfectly with the Luna Chairs that already have pride of place on our verandah.

And on a closing note, I confess I’m writing this article at my dining table. I have a perfectly good home office with an enviable view, but sometimes I really like to spread out at the dining table. I can enjoy the gentle cross-breezes as I write and keep an eye on the dogs. And when I’m finished, I love the ritual of packing up the laptop and setting the table for dinner. It’s fair to say our circular dining table and its six chairs rule the house with simple, understated authority.

If you would like to create a connected dining space with the KING Dining Collection, you can visit your nearest KING Showroom or you can shop online.    

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