Designing the Perfect Dining Area
As we usher in the second decade of the 2000s, the dining area has evolved along with other areas of your home. Traditionally a dining room is a formal place to enjoy large holiday feasts, entertain important guests and gather extended family. When not in use, it would sit empty, looking beautiful but slightly forlorn. Just waiting for the next event to liven up its walls.
As we move further into 2020, that trend is changing. More and more families are looking to utilize all rooms in their house for a variety of activities. The dining room is no exception. Plus, you’ll notice that we are emphasizing dining areas, and not dining rooms. Many newer houses and apartments are doing away with dedicated dining rooms altogether. They’re opting for dining nooks and open concept areas where there is no noticeable divide between kitchen and dining room.
Whatever space you have to work with, we are here to help you create a dining area that’s warm and inviting. One that you’ll want to use every day!
Where to Start – The Perfect Dining Area Table
We already go in-depth on how to select the perfect dining room table for your space in another article, so be sure to check that out. Just know that you should base the size and shape of the table on the characteristics of your room and the size of your family. Whether your tastes run toward traditional or more modern, your dining table should be attractive yet comfortable. You want your friends and loved ones to be relaxed, not worried about scratching or damaging the surface in some way.
Also, think about other activities that you’d like to use the table for. Perhaps game nights, long talks over coffee, vacation planning and other fun activities. You want it to be a place people can gather and enjoy each other. You don’t necessarily need a huge table either. A small dining table can be intimate and cozy, and recent trends suggest that these are rising in popularity. Paired with a buffet or credenza, a small dining table can handle a good-sized dinner party just as easily as a large one.
If you are working with an eat-in kitchen as opposed to a dedicated dining area, your kitchen table should follow the same train of thought. A solid wooden table is a great option for the kitchen because it will stand up to heavy use. So go square, rectangle, oval or round – just make sure it speaks to you.
Choosing Complimentary Dining Chairs
Obviously, no one wants to eat a fabulous meal standing up. The chairs you choose to compliment your dining or kitchen table are almost more important than the table itself. Most retailers have chairs already matched to the table, but don’t think that’s your only option.
If you’re lucky, you may find a really cute dining set that is made for your space. But it’s also possible that you’ll find the perfect table but hate the chairs that come with it. The only rule to follow when it comes to your dining room or kitchen chairs is that they need to be comfortable! You don’t want your guests eager to leave the table, or your family to hate sitting there because the couch is so much more comfortable.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match your chairs either. Gone are the days when chairs had to be all one style. Consider choosing chairs that are the same style but different colors. Or put a bench on one side and chairs of the same height and color on the other. Mixing and matching chair styles, types, and colors is a fantastic way to transform a formal dining area into a warmer, more inviting space.
Add Color with a Dining Area Rug
It may sound contrary to what you would think, but an area rug in your dining area is often a necessary accessory (say that five times fast). A rug adds color, excitement, and depth to your dining room. It also helps define the space of an eat-in kitchen or open concept dining area. If you have a wooden table set on a hardwood floor, it also acts as a differentiator between the two.
Be sure to consider what size rug you need. Do you want an area rug that fills the room, making it look like wall-to-wall carpeting? Or do you prefer one that highlights the dining set but leaves the edge of the floor au natural. Most people prefer the latter. If that’s the case, be sure to choose a rug large enough so the chairs don’t catch on it when they’re moved. A good way to do this is to pull each chair out as if you were going to sit down, and then measure the space with them in that position. This way, you know that when people sit down and scoot the chair up to the table, they won’t pull the rug along with them.
Another thing to keep in mind is durability. With all that eating and drinking going on, you know you’ll have to deal with the occasional spill. A rug that’s easy to clean up when someone spills a glass of red wine, or knocks over the gravy boat, is one you’ll appreciate when an accident happens.
Don’t Forget About Dining Area Storage Options
Most people think about all the extra items your dining area needs in addition to your everyday dishes. Serving platters, bowls, butter dishes, and things of that nature. But at the same time, they don’t consider where they’re going to keep these items and overlook the benefits of storage in their dining area.
Maybe you enjoy an adult beverage once in a while, leading to a menagerie of wine glasses, tumblers, martini glasses and more. Not to mention the wine and alcohol bottles themselves. Investing in a hutch, cabinet, or server/sideboard is well worth the cost to save yourself the frustration of overcrowding. Plus, being able to utilize the top of your storage item for serving dishes during a dinner party helps maximize space so there isn’t too much stuff on the table.
You can also think beyond the kitchen stuff. Perhaps you want a cabinet to store things for arts and crafts and board games so they are readily available for game nights and creative time. Whatever your needs are, there’s an option that will fit any space.
Create a Homey Feel with Lighting
The last thing to really set your dining area apart is lighting. There are so many ways to go. Most of the time you’ll have one lighting fixture that is the focal point directly over the table. Chandeliers are very popular. They’re decorative and come in such a variety of shapes and finishes.
If that’s not really your thing, how about a pendant fixture? These are usually large, hanging round balls that surround the light source. They are often made from paper, creating the look of a paper lantern which adds a different atmosphere of the room. You can also get pendant lights that have the look of a clear globe, or come in the shape of a large lantern.
If you are after a more modern look, you may choose a linear light fixture, which comes down from the ceiling as a bar and has lights set across the length of the table.
What if you don’t have the room for an overhead light? Add some wall sconces to illuminate the area. And if you want to spice things up, install some smart lighting. You can control smart lights right from your phone, allowing you to easily dim or even change the color of your lights. Instant ambiance!
The bottom line is that you want your dining area to be a space you want to hang out in. Be it family dinners, entertaining guests, playing games or doing your taxes; you won’t find an easier space to work in. All you need to do is focus on comfort, mood, and lighting. We guarantee it will be a place where memories are made.