4 stylish decorating ideas for a combined living-cum-dining room
The trend towards a combined living and dining room layout
Whether you’re building from scratch or planning a renovation, you are very likely thinking about combining your living and dining rooms rather than having two separate spaces. If so, you are not alone as this has become a popular design choice in recent years.
This may be a result of necessity, because the kitchen is too small to fit a dining table for more informal meal occasions, or there is no space to create a separate dining room. For others, it may be an aesthetic choice because you want to embrace the open plan layout philosophy that is becoming more and more widespread with its fluid, barrier-free spaces that foster conviviality.
Whatever the reason you may decide to opt for an integrated dining and living room layout, there are a few things to consider before you finalise your design so that the end result is harmonious and practical. We take a look at some of these and end with 4 ideas to help you create a stylish dining-cum-living room.
The first step when planning a combined living and dining area is to figuratively divide the space into two clear zones, without necessarily separating them into two completely closed-off environments.
One solution is to insert some sort of panel or partial wall that creates a semi-barrier, be that horizontally or vertically, thus clearly identifying the two independent zones. A variation on this approach is to use furniture instead of a wall or panel, such as our Colonnata bookcase, while a fireplace is another practical and natural partition that works perfectly in both environments.
The key thing to remember from a décor point of view is that while each space should be visually and functionally separate, there still needs to be a coherent style throughout.
Let’s take a look at 4 examples of an integrated modern living room and dining area.
To create a single coherent space that is perfectly balanced, there must be some sort of continuity in the style you choose and colour is the foremost element to consider here.
One of the most common solutions to provide a clear division and distinguish the living area from the dining zone is to use different colours on the walls. What’s important to remember here, however, is that these colours work together in harmony, so that you don’t end up with a discordant look or, even worse, an unwelcoming, oppressive effect.
For this reason, in an open plan layout, it is generally better to go for pale or neutral tones on the walls and floor, and save your bolder, more flamboyant hues and patterns for soft furnishings and non-structural elements.
This example shows how the use of a single colour, in this case the white of Bianco Carrara marble, creates a calming, cohesive look, even though there are two distinct physically defined areas. With Raw texture on the dining zone wall and Cotone on the outer walls, you have an elegant modern dining room seamlessly opening up onto the living area.
As we saw above, it is not only colour that serves to differentiate the living area from the dining zone, but also the finish you choose.
A great trick for injecting a sense of movement into a space and avoiding the risk of a bland, boring look, is to use texture. Here is another example of how the rugged lines of our Raw can dramatically transform the appearance of a plain wall. Inspired by rough-hewn wood, it creates a play of light and shadow that works beautifully in the context of a living or dining room, for a stylish look that maintains the innate timelessness of natural stone.
When it comes to style, of course we are entering into personal territory, but while you may choose from a myriad of looks, the important thing to think about if you have an integrated living-dining room is to be consistent so that you don’t end up with a jarring disconnect between the two zones.
The first thing to do is evaluate the space. If you have a small living room, it’s advisable not to place your furniture up against the wall, but instead arrange the pieces in a more central part of the room, as this will increase the sense of spaciousness.
It’s also important to make sure the living zone is not cluttered with too much furniture, not only so that you don’t find yourself knocking into things, but also from a visual point of view. As such, it is best to opt for a simple, pared-back décor with multi-functional elements that work across both the living and dining areas.
A piece like our Theca cabinet is idea. for a minimal-style look. With its contemporary, understated design, it can hold glassware, crockery or other homeware items that you might need in the dining area, while slotting perfectly into a stylish living room.
As always, lighting is another important factor to take into consideration when thinking about how to divide and use an integrated space. If the layout allows, ideally position the dining table near a window so you can make the most of the available natural light, but also think about how to ensure it is well-lit in the evening with ceiling lights that also double up as a design element.
Depending on the size of the entire space, you may opt for lights above the table and another fitting in the living zone and again, you want to ensure you have visual harmony.
Our modern Silo pendant light is ideal in both areas, and you can choose a single cylinder, a showstopping 26-piece chandelier or a cluster as we have in this photo. Pinpointing the light directly above the table, it is both functional and elegant, creating a convivial atmosphere that is completely compatible with the décor of a modern living room.