Life in lockdown, for good or ill, brought about plenty of changes to the way we live. And it’s still sparking some unexpected new trends.

One notable shift has been the move back to entertaining family and friends at home, rather than eating out, according to retail analysts.

“Staying in is the new going out” says a product designer for John Lewis stores. They add that hosting dinners at home is an emerging trend that’s expected to continue growing.

The company reports huge rises in sales of dining tables and chairs this year, along with benches, tableware sets and drinking glasses. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Pinterest reports a 25% increase in traffic from people searching out dining tables.

The cost of eating out

It’s thought that the growing cost of eating out that followed hot on the heels of life in lockdown has prompted many people to re-discover the simple joys of cooking at home. Catering for their guests at dinner parties, informal suppers or barbecues on the patio.

And when it comes to celebrating and eating together, people are ditching the sterile all-white crockery trend of recent years. Now they are buying up brightly patterned ceramics – a move that John Lewis says is influenced by Instagram.

Sales of colourful and decorative tableware are on the up. Along with pretty coloured lanterns for the patio, candle holders and jazzy napkins and tablecloths.

Another unexpected comeback is the sideboard – which provides essential storage even in a modern dining room. Check out some of the contemporary designs which look very different from those heavy old wooden sideboards. Some of the newer ones are wall-hung, more like kitchen units, and can work well in an open-plan kitchen-diner space.

Having said that, many families are re-discovering old sideboards. They’re being snapped up from second-hand furniture stores and being given a new lease of life with chalk paint finishes, or a simple re-polish.