The Dining Room Details You’re ForgettingFebruary 7, 2017
While focusing on the essentials like paint, molding, and lighting, it’s easy to overlook the small details that can take your dining room from ordinary to chic. Start with the staples, then finish the room with touches of comfort, custom design, and sleek storage for a multi-purpose dining room that provides the functionality needed for everyday use, and the sophistication that makes special occasions shine.
Comfort. The stuffy look of the formal dining room has no place in today’s interior design. With the trend of downsizing on the rise, modern homeowners are looking to utilize space for everyday use (which means dining rooms reserved for holiday get-togethers and formal dinner parties are becoming a thing of the past). By dressing your dining room in sophisticated comfort, you’ll create a space that’s as friendly to weekday meals as it is to Thanksgiving dinner. When converting to comfort, seating is your main project. Dining room seating doesn’t have to be stiff and it certainly doesn’t have to match. Comfortable seating can take any form that fits your room, furniture, and lifestyle. You may opt for a set of cushioned seats for your round dining room table, or reserve the plush thrones for the head of a rectangular table. Try creating a shabby-chic look by mixing and matching traditional wood chairs with plush upholstered seating. Incorporate bench seating as a pairing to either wooden or plush chairs. Get the best of both worlds with seating options that combine wood frames and arms with cushy seats and backs, they keep sleek, modern lines intact without sacrificing comfort.
BONUS: Upholstery is a great way to introduce interesting patterns to a room. Modern takes on floral designs, like the Capeville Arm Chair or the Carlyle Side Chair, are a good place to start. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns with upholstery and wallpaper (yes, wallpaper). Wallpaper is re-emerging as a design staple fit for every room, and the dining room is no exception. Try creating an accent wall with metallic wallpaper or a bright floral pattern. Not quite ready for a multi-patterned room? Go bold in either the wallpaper or upholstery, pull a color from the design, and stick with a solid color in the other to tie the two together.
Personal touches. Is your grandmother’s fine bone china playing it safe between cushions of bubble wrap? You know better than anyone how badly you could use that storage space it’s taking up, so let it shine! Displaying collections can be a breathtaking way to add a meaningful touch to your dining room that’s unique to your home. A display cabinet can be a statement piece in itself (like this Tuscany-inspired, curvy design), or can let its contents take center stage (like this sleek, classic-contemporary one). Gorgeous china sets are always a safe bet for an interesting and tasteful display. Try mixing it up with unique artifacts collected while traveling or at antique shops, family heirlooms—you get the idea. Unique pieces create a custom look and can make for great discussion pieces at your next dinner party.
A sleek credenza. Mod is back, and in a big way! A sleek mid-century credenza is the perfect blend of sophistication and functionality. Credenzas can discreetly house the liquor cabinet or store the serving platters and extra plates you use only on occasion; not to mention, they make great buffet tables for parties. Try dressing your credenza simply with an oversized decorative bowl, vase, or small sculpture. Create a more layered look by hanging a collage of framed art or photographs on the wall above your credenza, and topping it with a lamp or candle, a few books, and a potted plant. Hanging framed pieces can create the backdrop for freestanding frames that sit on top of the credenza, too. Just as with display cabinets, credenzas can showcase the personal touches that make a house your home, with the added bonus of storage space.
A stunning ceiling. All too often, a dining room’s ceiling supports a stunning light fixture, with its design influence ending there. Think of the blank slate of your dining room’s ceiling like you would one of its walls. It can stand as an accent piece to solid-colored walls, or introduce more subtle elements to finish a look. Try using a layer of spackle to smooth over popcorn ceilings that limit design possibilities. Once smooth, try covering ceilings with embossed metal or linoleum tiles. Warm metallic tiles can offset bold patterns, and copper, bronze, or gold tiles create warmth. If you opt for linoleum tiles or another non-metallic material, make sure the surface is paintable. Utilize your ceiling to introduce a textured pop of color to your dining room or even a chic noir. Or try reserving the bold wallpaper for overhead. Rustic beams can top-off a farmhouse feel or create the look of a contemporary loft, depending on the room’s ground-level furnishings.
The Great Outdoors, in. It’s no secret that nature is good for both your health and happiness. Getting outdoors can be a challenge between shuttling the kids between practices, getting dinner on the table, and keeping up with work. Incorporating nature-inspired elements into your home’s decor ensures you’ll get small daily doses of the benefits of being in nature, even when your schedule or the weather blocks you from the real deal. Furniture made of natural or reclaimed wood creates a nature-inspired feel, the dining room table being an obvious place to start. Try topping a large, rectangular, natural wood table with a clean, sleek elk antler. Opt for small potted plants such as succulents or cacti if table space is limited. Introduce natural fibers under foot with a jute rug. Decorative stones such as amethyst are the perfect way to dress a display cabinet or credenza. If your dining room shares a wall with the backyard or a private entry garden (and your architecture and budget allow), go big by replacing the wall with a large-scale panel door that converts your dining room into an outdoor space with the touch of a button.