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Dining room

From Academic Kids

A dining room is a room for eating. It is usually adjacent to the kitchen for convenience in serving.

History

In the middle ages, Britons in castles or large manor houses would eat in the Great Hall. This was a large multi-function room capable of seating the bulk of the population of the house. The family would sit at the head table on a raised dias, with the rest of the population arrayed in order of diminishing rank away from them. Tables in the great hall would tend to be long trestle tables with benches. The Great Hall would have been extremely noisy, and likely would have been quite smokey and malodorous, making it an unpleasant place to hold a discussion.

In response to the discomforts of dining in the Great Hall, the nobility began to construct parlours or drawing rooms off the Great Hall. These were far smaller rooms to which the nobility could withdraw to relax and talk in comparative quiet. Over time, the nobility took more of their meals in the parlour, and the parlour became, functionally, a dining room (or was split into two separate rooms). It also migrated farther from the Great Hall, often accessed via grand ceremonial staircases from the dias in the Great Hall. Eventually dining in the Great Hall became something that was done only on special occasions.

Toward the beginning of the 18th Century, a pattern emerged where the ladies of the house would withdraw after dinner from the dining room to the drawing room, while the gentlemen would remain in the dining room having drinks. The dining room tended to take on a more masculine tenor as a result.

Modern Dining Rooms

A typical North American dining room will contain a table with chairs arranged along the sides and ends of the table, as well as other pieces of furniture, (often used for storing formal china), as space permits.

In modern American homes, the dining room is increasingly used only for formal dining with guests or on special occasions. Informal daily meals are often taken in the kitchen or family room. Often tables in modern dining rooms will have a removable leaf to allow for the larger number of people present on those special occasions without taking up extra space when not in use.

Note: Entirely missing from this discussion are the dining rooms of non-English cultures.ja:食堂

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