A family-friendly function room should be a place where adults can relax whilst the children amuse themselves. It should be welcoming to all family members as it will be the main setting for many a birthday party or family Christmas lunch.
Furniture should be smart but durable. The main item being a dining table with a wipe clean surface and preferably, rounded corners. After all, this will be used for many purposes rather than just dining. There will be many years of homework, baking and arts and crafts practised on the table along with the odd spot of DIY!
The dining chairs should be robust and must not tip over easily. Stacking some seat pads or cushions on top of a chair will make it easier for the children to sit at the table and reach their food and drink more easily.
For the toddlers make sure there is enough space around the table to accommodate a high chair as this is where the little one will watch and learn the art of table manners. High chairs often come with their own built-in dining tray and plastic mats are available to lay out on the floor below to catch the inevitable fallen food.
Practical ideas to prevent accidents
An open-plan kitchen/diner makes a great family function room as the children can be seen whilst the parents are preparing food. This gives parents the peace of mind that they are free to attend to the children immediately should they spill a hot drink, break a piece or crockery or try to inflict an injury with an implement they should not have. A temporary baby gate to partition the kitchen area off is a good idea; this will stop the younger children from entering the area whilst hot ovens and simmering saucepans are on the go.
If space is not an issue then a separate smaller dining table for the children is a fun idea and gives the adults a chance to relax as the children entertain themselves. A themed table for birthday parties adds to the excitement and helps to keep the children distracted. For the younger children, using unbreakable picnic ware, such as plates, bowls and tumblers can avoid breakages and nasty cuts from what could have been broken glass. This leaves you free to use your best crockery, wine glasses and decanters for your adult guests in the knowledge they are out of reach of curious hands.
The ‘after party’
If you have a conservatory attached to your kitchen/diner then this can be a great after-dinner escape for the adults or children. Furnished with a sofa and occasional table the adults can enjoy coffee and conversation whilst the children are finishing off dessert at their themed table or playing in the garden, yet still under the watchful eye of family members.
Should you be lucky enough to have a very large kitchen/diner then a relaxation area complete with a sofa, easy chairs and maybe even a television, is an ideal way to bring everyone together to unwind and reflect upon a perfect family day.