The slow decline of the dining room – does it still have a use?

The slow decline of the dining room – does it still have a use?

Tepilo analyses research which suggests the dining room is declining in importance, with many people only using it for special occasions or storage.

The dining room is no longer for dining. That’s the headline news from new research, which has revealed that 65% of Britons believe their dining room is no longer merely for dining alone.

Instead, it’s increasingly being used for storage purposes or for hosting special occasions only. This may be down to the fact that, in this day and age, the number of people who sit down together as a family to eat is much reduced.

Despite the kitchen often being voted as the most important room in a house, on an everyday basis people may opt to eat in the kitchen itself (at tables or breakfast tables) or on their laps on the sofa. If people are dining in the dining room, they may be doing so alone or at different times from the rest of their family or housemates.

The research carried out by furniture retailers Fishpools, a OnePoll study of 1,000 adults, was commissioned to analyse the level of dining room usage in 21st century Britain and to work out the primary purpose of dining rooms for modern-day Britons.

If you’re selling your home, such information could prove very handy and could help to influence your sales pitch. When it comes to viewings, buyers are likely to be more interested in the kitchen, garden and living room than the dining room – and you can adapt your sales strategy accordingly.

While two thirds (63%) claimed that they still use their dining room once a day, more than a third said they would use this space on a more frequent basis if they hosted guests regularly.

There were other key findings, too. Interestingly, just over half (52%) of those surveyed consider the dining room to be a necessity, with an upsurge in people eating out on a regular basis and ordering takeaways in perhaps playing a part in that. Other rooms are also taking precedence when it comes to eating – with 44% eating mostly in the living room in comparison to 32% who consume the majority of their meals in the dining room.

Meanwhile, 26% said they only ever use their dining rooms for special occasions, while 18% said they now use it solely as a makeshift storage facility.

Its diminishing importance was also shown by the fact that only 27% of those surveyed said having a dining room was an important factor to them when buying or renting a property. When selling your home, you are therefore more likely to encounter someone who isn’t too fussed about dining space than one who is. That’s not to say the dining room is completely unimportant or without function, just that it holds nowhere near as much sway as it once did. And, when compared with a kitchen, a modern bathroom or a stylish master bedroom, it isn’t likely to have anywhere near as much pull on would-be buyers. 

As you might expect, dining rooms are most popular among the older generations. Baby boomers, who are more likely to take an old-fashioned, traditional approach to dining, are also most likely to view a dining room as a necessity, with 59% of over-55s citing it as a key feature. By contrast, 59% of those aged 18-24 – so often bracketed as the millennial generation – do not see it as a requirement.

The rise of TV (or Netflix and Amazon Prime) dinners probably plays a part in this, with 45% of Britons often sitting down in front of the TV or their favourite boxset to eat their meals.

Again, you may wish to tailor your sales strategy depending on who your target demographic is. Older buyers are likely to place more focus on the dining room, while younger buyers probably won’t. That said, if you have a really impressive, standout dining room – or one that will have particular appeal to families or a young professional couple – don’t be afraid to point this out to those viewing your home.

While the research above suggests the majority of people don’t see it as a necessity, this doesn’t mean it should be dismissed outright. You may even be able to wow buyers with your dining room, talking them through the benefits of having a specific dining space and how it can be used for more than just special occasions.

Every room in your home has a role when it comes to selling your property. Clearly, though, certain rooms have more appeal than others. So, if you want to up your chances of a quick, hassle-free sale, ensure your kitchen, living areas and garden space (if you have it) are all in tip-top condition.