General chatter - Table Weirdness
07-24-2007, 12:15 PM
I'd like to get some feedback on something kind of weird. It's about my dining table.
First I'd like to explain that part of my "plan" which is kind of like whole-foods-intuitive-eating, involves the concept of mindful eating and drinking as opposed to multi-tasking eating and drinking. I want to fully appreciate what I am consuming, not mixing it with driving or TV or work or computer stuff. A lot of what I have read describes the helpfulness of sitting down at the table as part of this mindfulness.
I sit down at my table to eat about once a year. My table is used as a storage spot for mail and junk.
Although I would like to get rid of the junk and mail from my table, truth is I don't usually like sitting down at the table to eat. I live alone, and may have dinner guests over about once a year. Also, this is weird but I associate sittting down at the table to eat with unpleasant dining experiences, like being a kid at my parents house, or, even worse, business lunches. I like to eat on the couch or on a blanket outside or at a bar. Places I associate with fun, rather than stodgy obligations.
So here is my question. One thing that would transform the table experience into fun for me would be to ditch my conventional table and chairs and replace them with a low Moroccan table and pillows. I love that kind of look and feel. And it just seems fun!
I'm an immature 50-year old. I still like sitting on the floor. So this would work well for just ME, but....
My question is, how much would I further alienate people from coming over and having dinner? I would like to increase that once a year event of having friend(s) over for dinner to a more frequent thing. I guess people tend to get back problems or joint problems especially as they get older and not everyone wants to sit on a pillow on the floor. Any thoughts? Thanks as always for the feedback.
07-24-2007, 12:31 PM
Wow. I guess I've never really thought about it before because we ALWAYS eat at the table. Well, it's more of a bar, but same thing. We eat dinner as a family every night. Yes, the TV is on (thanks to DH) but we usually drown it out with conversation......anyway. Onto your question.
In order to make eating at the table more "hospitable" first clean off the table and then try buying some fun new place mats or new dishes and silverware if your stuff is old and boring. You don't have to spend a lot (try Target--or do you you have a Cost Plus near you?). Set the table before you start fixing your meal--that way you won't be drawn to the couch instead! Put a vase of flowers on the table as your centerpiece. Put on some nice music to keep you company (unless that is too distracting to your intuitive eating).
07-24-2007, 12:38 PM
When I first starting reading your post, I was going to suggest sitting on pillows at the coffee table. My husband and I do this often but have found that our family and friends (we and our friends are all in the 30 to 45 age range) prefer to sit at the table. Would it be possible to keep the table and convert (or get) a nice coffee table. When we eat at the coffee table, we treat as if eating at the table (TV off, candles burning, coffee table set like the traditional table, maybe some light music). It really can be a great experience. I hope you are able to find the setup that works for you and allows you to have guests over. Maybe start with a small group of close friends and see how they like the idea.
07-24-2007, 12:49 PM
That would be my suggestion - keep the table in the kitchen (or move it to a different area, but keep it for guests), and set up a convenient smaller Moroccan-style setting for yourself. I live alone, too, and spend more dinners outside than I do at the table.
07-24-2007, 12:50 PM
I say go for it! I'm Japanese and Hawaiian and didn't sit at a dining table until I was about 7. (Except at restaurants, but never at someone's home.) I still feel more comfortable sitting on a cushion at my coffee table with DH sitting in his recliner next to me. It's actually more intimate for us since we're both in our comfort zones. Plus, I focus much better on my food when I don't have to worry about where my legs are. (Weird, but true. Even at restaurants I tend to eat with my legs crossed on the chair or one leg underneath me. Needless to say, we don't eat at very many fancy places!) We only use our dining table for holidays and when guests come. Since we don't have much space for a dining area, we bought a drop-leaf table and it acts as a sofa table until it's needed.
If I had a dining space like you, I'd purchase a drop-leaf table and use it as a sideboard in your space and then purchase a fold-able Moroccan table for yourself (I've seen some gorgeous ones where the base is a folding square and the top doubles as wall art when not used as a table), and some GORGEOUS pillows to sit on! That would be so much fun! Then, when guests come, out pops the drop leaf table (ours seats 6) and the table top hangs on the wall to act as art for the dining area. We keep extra wooden fold-up chairs stored in the closet for guests. Ikea sells a great drop leaf table and Cost Plus has the fold-up chairs for about $25 a piece. You could even get cushions for the chairs to match your pillows!
07-24-2007, 02:02 PM
Thanks, everyone! I will add though that I live in a tiny cottage so there is not room for two assembled tables. I wonder if there is such a thing as one table with two foldable bases, one low and one high, to be used in case anyone ever comes over for dinner. I like your idea, too, Kim, and I will have to look for some tables like you have described and some folding chairs. I have such little space for storage, so I am hoping this will work! Thanks!
07-24-2007, 04:20 PM
What about creating your own table? Maybe find some Moroccan inspired columns and paint them exciting colors, then add a table top from a found object. Maybe some wooden wall art that is flat or an old door. You could buy two columns, use the short one for your dinners and leave the tall one in a corner with a plant on it. Then, when company comes, you just switch. The only tricky part will be finding the right balance to keep the table from toppling over. If you could get a heavy enough base that would take care of it.
07-24-2007, 04:21 PM
Oh! You know I've seen on HGTV a glass coffee table that raises to dining table height on like a hydraulic lift. It sort of reminded me of a barber's chair. I wonder if that would work for you!
07-24-2007, 04:29 PM
I was going to suggest something similar. When we were furniture shopping, we saw a couple coffee tables that extended to table height. One was a traditional rectangular coffee table, one was a square the size of two coffee tables set side by side. The table tops were spring loaded, so if you push down on the top slightly, it pops up to table height.
07-24-2007, 04:41 PM
I found the coffee table! It's made by Hydra Designs. They're website is the same with "www." at the beginning. It has a very modern look, but it still looks like it will work!
07-24-2007, 06:41 PM
Thanks again! That Hydra designs table is very cool but very expensive!!! I tried to find the spring loaded kind but couldn't -- guess I will have to check out one of those home shows which I never go to since I think they don't apply to me as someone who rents a shoebox! But you all have me thinking now, that is for sure!
07-24-2007, 08:57 PM
SPINYMOUSE ~ Looks like the table problem can be solved...as far as having people over...we have people over all the time...we have a big dining room table BUT we usually just end up eating off paper plates, on the couch, chairs, standing etc. People are always here...they come for the company...not where they place their "butts". INVITE YOUR FRIENDS OVER and start a NEW tradition and MEMORY! of FUN!
07-24-2007, 11:12 PM
Google "lift top table," and you'll find several. I found one at brookstone.com and http://www.nextag.com/lift-top-table/search-html
The ones we saw were at Slumberland and other mainstream stores.
I would also agree that not having a dining room table doesn't have to limit your entertaining. My husband and I don't have a dining room table, and our kitchen table (too small for us anyway) became the cat's feeding area (we're both disabled and bending is something that we can't do very well, so we feed her on an elevated surface).
This hasn't stopped us from entertaining. In fact, we've crammed a dozen people into our VERY tiny living room. We put up a plastic 4" long table and metal folding chairs that a friend gave us (he got them at Office Max). Or, we just pick a menu that can be served buffet style and eaten on paper plates siting or standing as desired (and use the plastic table in the tiny kitchen). Those that can and want to sit on the floor, and we provide elevated (but unmatched) seating for those that want it.
07-25-2007, 12:46 AM
If I had a friend who invited me over to dinner to eat at her Moroccan table, well, I'd think it was the coolest thing ever! I say get the table you want and then invite people over to enjoy it with you. Why must everything be so traditional? You could even turn it into a themed party the first time people come over (make Moroccan food, play Moroccan music, find a friend to belly dance for everyone.) I think it sounds like a great solution!
It is not necessary to settle for a traditional table if it'll make you uncomfortable!!! I think what a lot of these books are saying is to make eating more of a ritual so that you focus on your food instead of just shoveling it in.
07-25-2007, 01:05 AM
As someone who has a lot of company and kids hanging around our house most of the time (I have two teens and one preteen, need I say more?), we have two tables- one in the kitchen and one in the living room, and still, kids and adults end up sitting on the floor or eating on the couch. :rofl: Everyone wants to be together, so in the living room they all go, some at the table, some on the floor, some on the couch. Everyone is fed and happy, that's all that matters.
If you want a Morracan table- get one! What about getting a small fold up table and a couple of fold up chairs for guests that may prefer to sit at a table? This way here, you can break out the table and chairs when needed and store them away when you don't.
Diana the Hun
07-25-2007, 01:17 AM
If eating at a table is really disagreeable to you, then forget what everyone else may think! I love eating at the coffee table! Otherwise I would consider a dining room renovation of a different kind - at my favourite Japanese restaurant they have the tables very low to the floor, with cushions surrounding, inkeeping with traditional Japanese eating style. However, the area under the table is completely sunken!! So it looks like you're on the floor, when in fact the floor isn't where it appears to be, if you catch my drift? That way you can sit cross-legged on a cushion if you wish, while your guests (whom you may feel more comfortable having over cause you're proud or your dining room! ;)) can hang their legs over the edge into an empty sapce like a regular table and chair.
07-25-2007, 11:24 AM
I definitely think - your house do what you want!
You said you liked the bar feel - perhaps a small bistro table? Doesn't take up much space- it's tall like a bar & can be easily moved into a corner & out of the way.