The dining room is always evolving but now the pace has really picked up, with schools, colleges and Universities finding innovative new ways to transform their dining areas. Where as ten years ago the idea of a forward-thinking school was one that had blue plastic seats on their fast food units instead of brown(!), now schools are really starting to think outside the box.
The revolution began in the 2000’s, with bistro dining furniture adding individuality and an altogether less institutional style to the school dining room. Steel frame chairs and a mixture of wood and polypropylene shells became a popular feature and certainly played a part in enticing pupils back into the dining room and increasing uptake of school meals. This type of school dining furniture was not without its drawbacks though, as staff had a thousand and one legs from hundreds of chairs and tables to clean around and the chore of having to put the chairs on the tables, clean the floor and then replace the chairs when the floor was dry leading to health and safety concerns and other staffing issues.
Enter the age of the communal dining table
More recently, many schools have observed the success of communal dining furniture in a number of successful high-street restaurant chains and sought to emulate this kind of fun and inclusive dining experience. Long dining tables and benches in a huge range of styles and finishes are the order of the day with an ‘always room for one more’ space for that friend who turns up late!
This communal dining experience is proving popular in school environments, with pupils enjoying the experience and staff reaping the benefits of easy-to-clean surfaces. The chore of lifting chairs onto tables or migrating furniture across the length of the dining room to accommodate friendship groups has been removed. Instead, a school dining area can look neat, tidy and ready for the next service at all times. Not to mention the reduction in noise levels as there is no longer the sound of chair legs screeching against the floor.
The good news is there is now a broad range of communal dining tables on the market. From retro 1950’s style units with pastel colour tops and tapered beech legs to heavy panel ended angular units, new styles are constantly being developed to accommodate the tastes and budgets of each establishment as well as helping to maximize the space available. In fact, the opportunities for self-styling are almost limitless thanks to the broad array of finishes that are on offer. There is even a modern twist on the so called “fast food units” with long thick table tops and bench seats all connected by one frame whilst accommodating up to 10 students.
If you’re looking to create an inspiring, space efficient and cost effective dining room, speak to the Seatable team today