The inside dining room, although primarily used for eating, may also serve as a location for playing games, writing, studying, and so on, because of the presence of a reasonably sized table with several chairs. The dining room is usually simple in organization and design. The size of many dining rooms is about 125 square feet, with proportions that are equal or slightly longer than wide. More times than not, the dining room is located next to the kitchen and living room to be convenient to both. The dining room table is typically the dominant element of the dining room, with everything else in the room being secondary. The dining room does not possess the comfort and convenience of the living room and is not as utilitarian as the kitchen. However, it does combine eating, typically associated with the kitchen, with conversation, typically associated with the living room.
Outdoor Dining Space
The outdoor dining space on many residential sites is nothing more than a picnic table placed on the terrace or somewhere on the lawn. In some situations, this may be appropriate for casual eating but not for more private gatherings. In most cases, the outdoor dining space suffers from the same deficiencies as the outdoor living and entertaining space: little or no identity, spatial enclosure, privacy from neighbors, or protection from sun and wind. To address these problems, there are a number of design guidelines to consider.
As with all the other functions, the outdoor dining space should be designed as a room. Again, this means the designer should work with all three planes of outdoor space to create a sense of enclosure (Figure 2-44).
Like its indoor counterpart, the outdoor dining space should be located near the entertaining space and food preparation space for ease of access to both. In many cases, the outdoor dining space may be created as a subspace of the living and entertaining space (Figure 2-45). Again, this can be accomplished through a variation in shape, pavement material, or elevation change.
The plan proportions of the outside dining space should be equal or perhaps somewhat elongated to accommodate a picnic table. Its dimensions will vary depending on the size and number of tables and chairs that need to fit into the space.