Ahhh, the Dining Room: A place to entertain, enjoy, and exercise your right to eat! Many times a dining room is the least frequently used room in a house and yet the most frequently used room by guests, so why not make it elaborate, elegant and exciting! Below, I have broken down your ‘typical’ dining room into its various parts, each with great suggestions and tips for creating your very own ‘deliciously divine’ dining space! I also sprinkled a few images throughout for some “food for thought.” Bon Appetit!
1. First up, the Walls! Try warm colors on your walls (think yellows, reds, and oranges). These are great for creating a cozy, inviting atmosphere as well as psychologically help to conjure up feelings of hunger (Pass the potatoes, please!). ***Designer’s Tip***: To add a little more intrigue, try adding a trim piece 1/2 or 3/4 of the way up the wall (aka a chair rail). This will provide a divider for incorporating different types of media coherently on the wall. You can mix and match to create a custom and unique surrounding (i.e. bead board on bottom and paint on top, or painted wall panels throughout, or wallpaper on bottom and paint on top, or vice versa, and so on, and so on). Annddd don’t forget! If you your walls have windows, you can add a drop of elegance with the addition of long curtains!
2. Next up, the Ceiling! Try a paneled ceiling, wood beams, a faux finish, or even just a fun painted color on your ceiling! WARNING! Don’t go overboard with pattern and texture on the ceiling, especially if your walls are intricate. Strive to maintain a balance of simplicity and excitement. If you’d prefer or require something basic, leave the ceiling a neutral color but add trim to accentuate your light fixture OR paint your detailed ceiling a neutral color (like in the photo above). This will provide the emphasis you’re looking for without appearing excessive.
3. On to, the Lighting! Never underestimate the power of lighting! Lighting fixtures will set the stage for the character of the room. If you have a traditional space, look for crystal chandeliers, or if it’s more contemporary, try for a large pendant light. Be creative, selecting a light fixture is the fun part. Do you have a long dining room table in a modern space?? Try some contemporary track lighting. BUT! What is the key to gorgeous dining room lighting?? Make sure your electrician installs a dimming switch! Adding dimmers will instant create drama and romance, ooh la la.
4. The Chairs! Designer’s tip! Instead of purchasing a perfectly matched dining set, try mixing and matching for a more unique solution. If you’re going for the ecletic look, you can even try putting different types of chairs around the same table. Now, I’m sure some of you have your Great-great-great-grandmothers antique dining set that has been passed on for generations and generations, and your family will frown upon you if you don’t use it. If that is the case, then spice it up a bit with, dun-dun-da-da: slipcovers! OR, you could have your chairs stained a different color than your table. OR you could reupholster the cushions. OR you could add cushions with different fabrics. The options are endless! Just because it’s a hand-me-down, doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own right??
5. Speaking of chairs…..The Table! Whether you want a circular, square or rectangular table, my best tip for table selection is to pick a table that is sized correctly for it’s space. Nothing is worse than a table too small for a big room, or a table too big for a small area. Think proportionally on this one.
6. What about under the table?? the Floors! Wood floors are very elegant for a dining space and certain tiles can be as well. If you already have too much wood in your space, try painted wood floors for a fresh look. And this brings me to #7.
7. The Rug! While not always necessary, this can add an element of interest and comfort to dining space. Think of the rug like a piece of artwork, it can say something about your personality. Are you simple and elegant?? Try for a solid colored rug with texture. What about funky and artistic?? Maybe go for something with a few colors and patterns.
8. Now let’s not forget this is the DINING room, which means we DINE here, and we need utensils! So, next up is: the Table Setting! The table setting is a great for incorporating bright punches of color! Stuck on what colors to use?? Pull colors from your area rug, wallpaper, paint colors, or chairs to direct the color scheme of your table setting. Or if you’d like to keep it very elegant and clean, stick with the beautiful combination of white, clear glass, and silver.
9. The Wall Decor! While you’re free to flash your ‘artistic license’ when acquiring artwork, my tip would be to select distinguished pieces to generate discussion while dining. AND Remember: My favorite word today is PROPORTION! If you have a large wall, don’t put a small piece on it, try for one large piece or multiple good sized pieces, and vice versa with a small wall! ALSO! the addition of mirrors can add a little bit of elegance as well as create the feeling of additional space (aka, they will make a small space feel larger!).
10. And finally, last but not least, the rest of the room’s furniture! Meaning: the buffet, armoire, extra side chairs, etc, etc. Make sure you don’t crowd the space with too much extra fluff (Remember: crowded spaces = SMALL spaces), and again try to not be too matchy-matchy!
Stay tuned for more great tips!