How to Create a Dining Room People Will Want to Use
For many busy families, the dining room is mostly unused space until the holidays come around. While places people congregate–the living room or kitchen–get constant attention, the dining room gets little notice until the season for fancy and festive dinners arrives.
Many of us grew up with a formal dining room that almost never got used by the family. Not only does this approach seem like a woefully inefficient use of space, but it can lead to a kind of forgetful neglect in decor, which can actually make the rest of your home feel less stylish.
It also misses a marvelous opportunity to create a comfortably couture room where people want to hang out. Fortunately, making your dining room into a centerpiece salon in your home is easier than you’d think. You just need to consider three things: the state of the room itself, furniture and finishing touches.
Update Your Fundamentals
Before you start shopping for tables and chairs, ask yourself: do I need to revamp the ambiance that my dining room itself creates first? It’s easy to get used to the color of your walls or the amount of light your curtains allow through and consider those factors as static elements of your home.
In reality, repainting the walls a brighter (or trendy muted grey) color or selecting new window coverings can make a big difference when it comes to the environment. Similarly, updating floors can make your dining room more welcoming for guests. Adding a rug, like Chandra’s Inhabit, is an easy way to add a pop of color and texture to the space.
Get the Right Furniture
Once the basics are in order, it’s time to start thinking about essential furniture pieces. That means choosing pieces that complement your sense of style (and, importantly, complement one another). Many people will select a single matching style and stick with it. But that’s not a hard and fast rule. With some planning and sophistication, you can employ an eclectic mix-and-match motif that touches on two or more design traditions without seeming anarchic or slovenly.
A versatile centerpiece like the Serpent Table becomes a focal point of a room with a classic glass top mounted to a geometric base and modern dark wood finishes; the look seamlessly integrates into a variety of different design traditions. Surrounding the table with a simple, cushy chair, like the Parsons side chair with a matching finish on the maple legs, adds a soft look and comfort.
Keep in mind that some designs meld pretty easily–mid-century modern and Art Deco for example–whereas others are more difficult to make work. No matter your approach, remember to keep both comfort and functionality in mind. No one wants to hang out in an overly sterile space for too long!
The finishing touches can make or break a new look. This will include everything from floral arrangements, vases, and candles on the tabletop to selections for artwork and other hanging decor, which help fill-in and break up large open spaces along your walls.
Think of each accessory or artwork within the context of your larger design project and see where it fits into the composition you’re creating. Cut flowers will inspire with freshness, succulents are decidedly modern touches, dried flowers are more rustic. When deciding on artwork pieces, consider the size of each item along with color and figure.
The really great thing about accessories is that they can easily be changed out as you see fit. Different small touches will help create different associations. So there’s always an opportunity to refresh the dining room.
By starting with a broad approach to the overall space and then working your way down to the details, you can easily tackle the update of your dining room and make it a place where people will want to spend time–during the holidays and all year long.
Peter Saloom began his creative pursuit in design at age 10 from a basement workshop in Mountainside, New Jersey. What began as a passion soon bloomed into a small company in the 1980s. As the sole designer for the company, Peter Saloom has designed dining furniture across multiple materials and styles over the past 30 years. His passion and dedication has turned into the DNA of Saloom Furniture.