It might sound a bit cliche, but if I had to pick one piece of furniture to be the centrepiece of our home, it would have to be our dining table. Yes, the sofa, the TV, the cooker and the washing machine are all integral to our family unit’s survival; it’s the dining table that really is where our family come together to just spend time together.

Whilst our home has an open plan kitchen dining area, we still refer to it as the dining room sometimes. But our dining table is not just for eating at. Here are some of the ways our dining table has starred in family life over the past few years.

This is a collaborative article.

The Heart Of Our Home: The Dining Table

oak dining table and chairs furniture village

1. Eating our family meal at the dining table

Since the girls were babies, we have always made the effort to sit down together at least once a day. My husband goes to work early in the morning, often leaving the house before the kids are even awake, so we don’t get to share breakfast together. Usually, that’s eaten at the kitchen counter on weekdays. Our main family meal of the day is dinner (or supper, or tea, or whatever you call your evening meal). We make the effort to clear the table every evening and lay it with basic placemats, cutlery and condiments.

We have a rule that there are no devices allowed at the dinner table, and so it’s that one time of the day where we are all tech-free (apart from Alexa playing in the background). We talk about our day, what’s coming up the next day, and enjoy our time together around our dining room table.

2. Laundy Sorting

I know this sounds like a poor use of the dining table, but in the interest of being honest and relatable, I use the dining table to sort everyone’s laundry out. I am the one in our family who does the laundry, but I draw the line at packing it away. This works quite well because in order to enjoy our family meal at the table, as mentioned above, the table needs to be cleared of laundry.

The children are responsible for collecting their own piles of laundry and taking them upstairs to their rooms to leave on the bed/desk put away. I usually take mine and my husband’s up, or if I’m still busy cooking dinner, I get them to take ours up too, even if there is significant whining about this.

3. Homeschooling and homeworking

During the pandemic, when we needed to homeschool our children, the girls and I spent hours at the dining table. I can’t say these were all enjoyable times (I’m not a homeschool mum), but I was eternally grateful that we had the space to all set up our workstations together. Even now, most Sunday afternoons, whilst I’m doing the school shirt ironing, the girls will set up at the dining table to do their homework for the week. They have a desk each in their rooms, but of their own choice, they prefer to be at the table to do their homework.

For myself, when I work from home, I usually use my desk in my home office, but on occasion, when my husband and I are both at home working or studying, we need that space from each other and so sharing the office doesn’t work. Most times, I’ll set up my working station at the dining table and take over that for the time I need to get some work done.

4. Family Board Games

Our dining table doubles as a games table when it’s time to haul out the monopoly board or engage in a strategic game of Uno. Playing board games as a family is a great way to pass the time, reconnect with each other offline and really just enjoy time together. Our favourite games are Monopoly, Uno, and Bananagram. Let me know in the comment which games are your family’s favourites?

grey and white dining table furniture village

5. Family Meetings

Every now and then, I’ll call a family meeting. Usually, these are to discuss things like chores or our next family holiday. Sometimes it can be about discipline concerns, or it can simply be about trying to get our different schedules aligned. Whatever the need, the table is the best place to do have our family meeting because it ensures we all focus on the discussion at hand.

6. Entertaining

We love a good barbecue, but when you have guests round, often there are too many people to comfortably sit around a typical 6-seater dining table. However, our table still plays an important part in entertaining our family and friends in that we use it to lay all the food out when it’s time to eat. Either that, or it doubles as the drinks table, where we lay out all the glasses, drinks and nibbles.

7. Birthday Time!

Whenever we have a birthday at home, the dining table really takes it’s role seriously. Not only is it where I spend ages wrapping gifts, but it’s also where we lay the gifts and cards out for the birthday person. After unwrapping the gifts, we also use the table to hold the birthday cake, and we gather around to blow the candles out and sing Happy Birthday as a family.

What to consider when choosing your dining table :

When choosing the perfect dining table for your home, you need to consider all the ways you plan to use your dining table. Apart from the obvious, here are some other things to consider:

  • What’s the best material for a dining table to be made from?
  • How much should a dining table cost?
  • How many chairs do you need to go with your dining table?
  • Should you get a dining table that extends but can be made smaller for everyday use?
  • Will the dining table fit in your dining room or open plan kitchen diner?

I’m sure there are many more ways other people use their dining table, but it’s because of these 7 ways we use our dining table that makes it the centre-piece of our family home. Let me know in the comments below what furniture you consider to be the heart of your home.