With the entertaining season upon us, I’ve been thinking a lot about dining rooms. In my family, the holidays revolve around big meals and spending hours around the table, eating, drinking wine and chatting. So what makes a dining more inviting? What can I do to make my guests more comfortable? And what makes a dining area more practical?
Flow – If you are currently remodeling your kitchen and dining room or building a new home, talk to your general contractor about space planning before the work starts. Keep in mind that your dining room should be easily accessible from your kitchen as well as your main entertaining area.
The table – select a dining table based on the number of people you generally have over for dinner parties. Extendable tables with leaves that hide away are perfect since they allow you to add seats for larger groups and can be kept in the smaller configuration for smaller, more intimate gatherings or for daily use. Choosing a rectangular, oval or round table will depend on the size and configuration of your dining room.
Seating – having comfortable upholstered seating is essential to making your guests feel relaxed and unhurried. If there are children in your family, you will want to ensure that the fabrics are treated with a stain resistant coating so that spills can simply be wiped away.
Lighting – good lighting is essential to entertaining in the dining room. You do not want bright overhead lights, but rather subtle lighting. One simple home improvement that can have a dramatic effect and cast the perfect light at any time of day is to have dimmer switches installed on your fixtures. I still love a little sparkle in the dining room; if you aren’t a fan of traditional chandeliers, there are plenty of beautiful modern fixtures that are perfect for any style.
Other furniture – if space permits, having a buffet or sideboard tucked up against the wall will provide you with both a serving top and plenty of storage space. A hutch or cupboard is indispensable for tucking away your china, glassware and linens.
Art/Color – Red is a stimulating color and is often used in dining rooms to encourage conversation and increase appetite. Don’t feel that you have to paint all of the walls red, instead you can use subtle touches of it in your decor. If red isn’t your thing, let your favorite foods inspire the color palette in your dining room. Hanging art, mirrors or photographs can also stimulate conversation and imbibe the room with the style and feel that you are trying to achieve.
Your dining room should be a place for you and your family and friends to gather and share in conversation and laughter. By following these simple guidelines, you can make holiday entertaining more enjoyable this season.
What home improvements have you completed to create the perfect dining room? Leave your ideas in the comments section below.