Table manners: setting a dining room up to sell

Published: 16/10/2019

Dining rooms can easily get forgotten when it comes to preparing a property for sale, playing second (well, last) fiddle to almost every other room in the house.

Whether in a separate room or an open-plan setting, the dining table is a magnet for stuff. Anything and everything is drawn to its surface, from empty cups and plates, to wayward keys and toys, the morning's post and papers, or last year's tax returns.

All of us have our dining table vices, and rarely do they say 'buy me, love me' to a potential purchaser. But marketing this neglected space is more than having great taste in furniture and a dining table that fits - although we will get to that! - it's also about thinking about how your likely buyer will use the room.

So the first question is: who are my buyers likely to be? And the best way to work that one out is to look at who lives in your area. In and around Berkhamsted and Tring, different neighbourhoods draw different people: from professional singles and couples to young families and larger households, and from those who commute to those who work from home. Even as a place purely for food, the dining table could have different roles in different homes - from swift breakfasts through family dinners and up to high-end socialising - while other duties could be a play space, desk or even a nappy-changing area!

Once you've identified the needs of your likely audience, think about the appropriate scale, lighting, and finishes. A huge room with a tiny table feels uninviting and peculiar, likewise a small room with a huge table crammed against a wall feels clumsy and claustrophobic.  So measure your room, then measure your furniture and scale them to work together. A simple rule for sufficient circulation space is to have at least a metre around each edge of the table which leaves enough room for everyone to take their seats, and for the after-dinner pushback.

A table on its own can feel a little lonely, so if there's room for sideboard or stylish cupboard so much the better, and not just for looks: you'll gain important extra storage space for posh china, household admin, or even the children's toys. You might even find it declutters the rest of your home into the bargain.

If your dining table doubles - or triples - as your workspace or children's play area, use resilient finishes that clean up well after a morning making collages or a day of hardcore business. That doesn't mean a multifunctional dining space can't be stylish: a low hanging ceiling light over the table; task lighting for homework; some clever storage, a few potted plants, e voila: instant Instagrammability.

In a more formal setting you can risk luxury finishes that gleam and glow for their grown-up gatherings. Textiles like velvet curtains, leather upholstery and richly woven rugs add elements of luxury to create a warm and sumptuous welcome - choose the ones that for your room.

And whether formal or casual, any dining table is improved by a bunch of beautiful flowers in a statement vase, or a striking bowl of colourful fruit. And if your table surface has seen better days, an elegant tablecloth or runner will quickly lift its spirits.

Finally: don't forget the walls. Mirrors don't only add the illusion of space, they can also turn a featureless wall into a glamourous one. A small shelf below it loaded with miniature plants or photos and you have an immediate focal point. And if your dining room has a fireplace, place the mirror above it for a classic combination.

For warmth and atmosphere, pictures will add that finishing touch: your children's drawings in big frames could create a fun, joyous and familiar space to a family audience, while original artwork or prints can help convey a sense of relaxation and togetherness that might just swing the sale.

If you'd like to talk to us about staging any or every part of your property for sale, our sales team would love to talk to you.
Berkhamsted office: 01442 863000
Tring office: 01442 820420