It seems ironic that a 23 year old woman who lives in a house share should talk to her readers about interior design and planning her future home but the truth is I have always been interested in ‘interiors’. Growing up my foster mum made sure that I was ‘hands on’ and taught me how to paint, garden and do basic housing renovations. After all she believed that there was more to chores than just ‘washing up’ and I couldn’t have agreed more. Naturally moving to London means that it has been a while since I have seen a ‘dining room’ but as someone who lives half of her life in a fantasy world, I don’t see any harm in some good ol’ fashioned make believe. When I went into care aged 10 I settled into my foster mum‘s semi detached 3 bedroom house, which was so beautifully ‘rustic’ and attuned to our countryside settings. With a farm nearby and plenty of woodland to explore, our house was indicative of our rural surroundings and it was beautiful. From a real wooden fireplace to a sturdy oak table right through to our outdoor gardens, our house was very much ‘sticks and oak’ rather than ‘bricks and mortar’.
Naturally it should come as no surprise therefore that I am more drawn to ‘rustic, farmhouse style houses and furniture’ as opposed to modern contemporary ‘glass and marble’, although I still love those materials regardless. I always envisioned myself in a picturesque cottage, with ivy leaves intertwining across the windows and apple trees swaying in the breeze. But to me it is the dining room that is the portal hub, where people can come together and dine as one. A dining room is more than just a room to ‘have food in’ but it is where conversations happen, drinks are spilled and tears of joy are wiped away. When we ate at the table, before the rise of modern technology, we felt connected and truly listened to what one another had to say. But then, we shifted to eating on the sofas in front of the TV and our focus was on watching telly, rather than making conversation.
Sadly this is indicative of the society we live in; in restaurants we are transfixed to our phones, when we meet our friends we are constantly scrolling through social media feeds and even when we talk to others on the phone, we are writing blog posts, scheduling social media and not paying attention to what the other person has to say. While it would be appropriate for me to say I am not guilty of any of these habits, the truth is I am just as bad as the next person. We have become so attuned into using social media or digital gadgets to control every aspect of our lives that we have forgotten how to ‘live’ and communicate. Think about it this way, how many of us have truly survived a ‘social media detox‘ and come out of it using technology less? More specifically when it comes to things like ‘blogging events’ or ‘online dating‘ have you ever wondered why people appear to be far different than their online persona suggests? I remember when I met someone offline who online presented themselves as a ‘sweetheart’ who was bubbly, fun loving and would always talk to her followers. Yet in person she was cold, dismissive and acted like she was above anybody else.
Now you are probably thinking, what on earth does this have to do with ‘dining rooms’ and how can this obscure concept possibly save us from technology? Well you see it is simple; while many of us rarely use dining rooms and are more used to eating on the sofa, glued to the telly, with our mobiles in our hands, for people like my aunty ‘meal times’ are extremely important. Her flat is minimalist but functional and in the centre of her living room is a rustic dark oak table, set with placemats and a plain vanilla scented candle. While the TV might be on in the background, she keeps the volume down low and spends time talking to her guests, ladling out food in bowls and pouring wine or juice into each persons cups. In our Portuguese etiquette meals are made to be enjoyed and ‘meal times’ often stretch out over a few hours to tap into their love for ‘slow living’, which is so popular in Mediterranean countries. The fact is, we live in a fast paced world and technology controls every aspect of our lives, right through to how much time we allocate to eat.
At my aunty’s I will sit and eat lunch for a good hour but at home, in the comfort of my bedroom, I am lucky if I spend even 20 minutes eating, because I am so worried about how much work I need to get accomplished. And I am not the only one, those who eat at dining tables, are more likely to feel more focused and less likely to procrastinate, as eating slower makes you feel satisfied for longer. If you eat at a dining table, you are also more likely to improve your posture while eating (due to hardback wooden chairs) and ‘eat healthier’ as sofas and bedrooms are often associated with take-outs and microwave meals (although this is a generalization). My point being, is while some like me ‘live in a house share’ and do not have an option of a ‘dining room’ we should nevertheless focus on its concept to remove technology during meal times and conversations with others, even if we live in a box room. Taking time out away from technology will improve our health and wellness and help us feel more motivated in our professional and personal lives.
What Are Your Thoughts On Dining Rooms & Do You Believe They Can Save Us From Technology?
*Collaborative Post In Partnership With Utility Design. All thoughts are my own.
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