A dining room is a room for consuming food. In modern times it is usually adjacent to the kitchen for convenience in serving, although in medieval times it was often on an entirely different floor level. Historically the dinning room is furnished with a rather large dining table and a number of dining chairs; the most common table shape is generally rectangular with two armed end chairs and an even number of un-armed side chairs along the long sides.
In the Middle Ages, upper class Britons and other European nobility in castles or large manor houses dined in the Great Hall. This was a large multi-function room capable of seating the bulk of the population of the house. The family would sit at the head table on a raised dais, with the rest of the population arrayed in order of diminishing rank away from them. Tables in the great hall would tend to be long trestle tables with benches. The Great Hall would have been extremely noisy, and likely would have been quite smoky and malodorous, making it an unpleasant place to hold any discussion.
In response to certain discomforts of dining in the Great Hall, the nobility began to construct parlours or drawing rooms off the Great Hall. These were far smaller rooms to which the nobility could withdraw to relax and talk in comparative quiet. Over time, the nobility took more of their meals in the parlour, and the parlour became, functionally, a dining room (or was split into two separate rooms). It also migrated farther from the Great Hall, often accessed via grand ceremonial staircases from the dais in the Great Hall. Eventually dining in the Great Hall became something that was done primarily on special occasions.
Toward the beginning of the 18th Century, a pattern emerged where the ladies of the house would withdraw after dinner from the dining room to the drawing room, while the gentlemen would remain in the dining room having drinks. The dining room tended to take on a more masculine tenor as a result.
In modern American homes, the dining room is increasingly used only for formal dining with guests or on special occasions. Informal daily meals are often taken in the kitchen, breakfast nook or family room. This was traditionally the case in England, where the dining room would for many families be used only on Sundays, other meals being eaten in the kitchen. Often tables in modern dining rooms will have a removable leaf to allow for the larger number of people present on those special occasions without taking up extra space when not in use. In Australia, while the use of the dining room is still prevalent, family meals are also often eaten in front of the television in the lounge.
Although the "typical" family dining experience is at a wooden table or some sort of kitchen area, some choose to make their dining rooms more comfortable by using couches or comfortable chairs.