Which style to choose?
Modern, rustic, traditional, art deco? For best effect, your dining room should reflect your living room and kitchen’s style, which in turn might echo the period of your home. A Georgian, Edwardian or Victorian house can take a traditional, eclectic, industrial or modern look; a cottage of any period will be complemented by a traditional or rustic finish; a post-war home might be flattered by an art deco or contemporary scheme, and a modern home will look best with sleek, fuss-free décor.
Pic: Little Greene
Which dining room décor to choose?
Colourful or monotone? If yours is a diner and kitchen combined, it’s best to keep the décor quite simple and neutral, using dots of colour in accessories, such as a table runner, lamps and even seat covers to zone and tie the various areas of the room together.
If you have a separate dining room, consider when you use it most before deciding on the colour scheme. Dining rooms used only at night will suit a dark, dramatic shade, such as deep red, dark blue or even black; sunny breakfast rooms will suit white or pale grey walls; cool spaces you want to warm up during the day will look fabulous with yellow walls.
Pic: Marks & Spencer
Which dining room furniture to pick?
The table is the focal feature of the room and it’s what will set the tone of the room. Light, scrubbed or painted wooden furniture will be perfect for lightening a dark dining room, but it will also create an informal feel. Fallen in love with a light table but want a more formal look for the room? Match it with a dark wall colour and flooring, and with sleek dining chairs – and bear in mind that a crisply ironed tablecloth will transform it completely. A dining table in dark wood will usually create a formal feel – but for informal parties, surround it with unmatched, painted chairs, add a light or brightly-coloured table runner and pile the table top with a selection of candles and tea lights.
Furnish it so it never goes out of use
What else to include in your dining room so that it’s a versatile space that’s used every day, rather than just at Christmas or for dinner parties? A decent-sized storage unit that can hide away everything from china to paperwork – whether a sideboard, dresser or armoire – is a must-have: it will free up space in kitchen cupboards, but also keep homework and household admin accessible and neat. Don’t neglect display items to up the room’s character and make it more inviting: a dining room’s walls are the perfect places to show off your favourite china on a dresser, artwork on the walls and even plants on shelving units.
Pic: California Shutters
Don’t forget the dining room essentials
The right finishing touches are everything in ensuring a dining room’s success. Shutters
for windows will allow you to control light levels, depending on the occasion, and keep out draughts, too – after all, you want your guests to feel comfortable when they’re sitting for a long time.
Pay lots of attention to getting the right lighting, too: cute wall and table lamps will create warm pools of light, as will a low-slung pendant or two over the table itself – make sure all your fittings have warm-coloured bulbs and are on dimmer switches so you can adjust the lighting levels to suit the mood. Candles are a must-have, too, for creating a warm, intimate atmosphere and for making glassware glitter at night.
Last but not least, plants and floral arrangements can help set the tone, with informal arrangements and pot plants a great addition to a laid-back space, and sculptural faux plants and bouquets ideal for adorning a sideboard in a formal room.
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