Dining Room Decorating Tips
It's certainly acceptable to eat dinner in front of the television once in a while but you should definitely consider spiffing up the dining room and using it as was originally intended. Clear out the clutter, dust off the furniture and turn it into a warm and inviting space to enjoy good food, family and friends.
Maybe the aversion to dining rooms dates back to childhood memories. The formality and untouchable furnishings made it strictly off-limits with the exception of holidays and special occasions. It's the same as a formal living room that's rarely used.
Create a Welcoming Environment
Transform your under utilized dining room into a comfortable space more like an eat-in kitchen or breakfast nook. Make the most of it by creating a casual, yet stylish environment without all the frills. Nix the crystal chandelier, imported linens and fussy furnishings. Stick with practical furniture, warm tones and easy care fabrics that will suit both dinner soirees or weeknight family meals.
Room Design and Space Allowances
Before buying furniture and accessories, grab a pencil and paper to create a functional floor plan. Take into account traffic patterns and circulation with pieces that will work within the room's dimensions. A sense of flow is a critical aspect for dining rooms.
Chairs require an approximate depth of 20 inches to fit comfortably under the table. Allow at least 16 inches from the table when the chair is pushed back. Each chair should have 24 inches of side-to-side clearance to accommodate seated guests. In order to create ease of movement allow at least 46 inches between the table's edge and adjacent furniture or walls.
You have two choices regarding furniture selection: You can take your time curating a collection of unique furniture pieces for a highly personalized space. Or, you can take the easy route and purchase a coordinated dining set. The latter is a budget-friendly and quick way to get furniture in place and move on to accessorizing.
You don't necessarily need a huge table to accommodate additional dinner guests. Rather than trying to squeeze a massive harvest table into a tight space, consider purchasing one with drop or removable leaves. After dinner, simply remove the extension leaves or drop the sides down to conserve valuable space.
For close quarters, a sideboard is a great substitute for a china cabinet and buffet. It works equally well for both storage and serving. However, let's say you inherited a china hutch that doesn't even come close to fitting in your dining room. Place it in a hallway or common area so you can still store your table linens, silver and dinnerware. Accessorize visible shelves with books and decorative items to create a transitional furniture piece. It could also function as pantry storage in your kitchen.
Quality vs. Budget
Solid wood furniture can last a lifetime and is often handed down to future generations. The investment is worth the price if you plan on using these quality pieces on a daily basis. For occasional use, consider wood laminate or veneer.
Laminate furniture is made up of synthetic material or tightly bonded layers of wood. The surface often features a printed grain pattern to mimic solid wood. Veneer is an extremely thin layer of hardwood glued to particle board or MDF (medium density fiberboard) construction. Although this type of furniture is much less expensive, it lacks the durability and stability of solid wood.
Once you've selected and arranged your furniture it’s time to decorate. Pick an appetizing shade of paint or wallpaper, coordinating window treatments and a rug to bring the room to life. Don’t forget artwork and lighting.
Accent lighting (such as recessed lighting, wall sconces or even candles) creates the perfect mood for evening dinners. A decorative chandelier or pendants centered over the table draws the eye up and adds personality to the space. Install dimmers on overhead lighting to adjust the brightness.
Choose a statement centerpiece that won't interfere with sight lines across the table. Convert your buffet into a bar by adding decanters, a drink shaker, wine rack and ice bucket. When placed on a lacquer or silver tray these utilitarian items become stylish design elements. Green up your dining room with a grouping of small succulents or a potted tree to soften the room's hard edges and add an organic feel to the space.
Tablecloths, chargers, placemats and trivets are decorative additions for special occasions and everyday meals. They add color and texture to the room while protecting the table's finish with a layer of insulation between serving dishes and the furniture's surface.
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