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Dining Room

Room Refresh. Quick and Short                              ...guest blog author RMS

In this series we're looking at how to add (or take away) just a couple of items to make your room feel completely new. FRESH!

Last week we checked out various Bathroom refreshes—which are fun for everyone because everyone has at least one! For those that have kids and guests? There is always the option to refresh those as well. This week we are going to make our Dining Rooms come alive!

Remember these blog bursts are for fun, not as a home remodel, but to give quick ideas of how to tackle each room to make it just a little bit better.

If you haven’t read the Kitchen Room Refresh blog yet, you may want to go back and catch up with that. Being your Dining Room is most often an extension of your Kitchen you will likely want to tie the two together.

As everyone knows, kitchens are the “congregating place” where everyone ends up, whether they intended to or not. People just naturally gravitate to sitting around a table, facing one another especially if food and drink are involved. So! How do you create a Dining Room that could give everyone more room and be a better fit for congregating?

I believe you would need to incorporate necessary elements that make it feel open, inviting and most of all comfortable. Where most dining rooms we see are dull, stuffy and uncomfortable, let’s shoot for creating a space where your friends and family would prefer to hang out rather than in your cramped kitchen where the food is being cooked and prepped.

I have ideas on how to do that!

Think of the elements that make your kitchen cozy, inviting, and comfortable. Easy to sit? Feels natural to hang out in? Open? So as a room “refresh” remember we’re not talking about knocking out walls, taking out hanging cupboards to be able to see from the kitchen to the dining area, but we are talking about making it feel natural for all to hang out in. So what do you do?

One of the first things I would suggest is to consider the furniture part of the equation. What about a large farm table? Nobody is worried about scratching the surface of the wood—it’s big, heavy and easily seats 10? 15? 20 people? With elbow room to spare! Giving the feeling of spaciousness enables people to feel comfortable: spreading out their elbows while still being able to have all the food remain on the table. If the food is still there—your family will be too. smiley

Have you seen Clint Harp create farm tables for Chip and Joanna? Check out their website here:

Harp Design Co Farm Table

What about a high top table? A large one. Sitting at a higher top table gives the feeling of social-ability, easy up & down to run back and forth to the kitchen replenishing. For either type table the trick is for it to be big enough to not feel squeezed in and to have plenty of food and drink on the table with you. With either of these tables a bench along one side also gives a sense of room to breathe.

Of course, it goes without saying….if you don’t have soft cozy chairs your peeps will get antsy and not be able to sit for long. Make sure to choose chairs and stools with soft yet firm seats.

Check out this table from Acme…the height gives it an easy feel of getting into and out of, the chairs are cushioned for comfort AND the wine is right there under the table so you don’t have to run back & forth to the kitchen! This booth type table also helps if your dining room is too small. By setting it against the wall and along the window it opens up what space you do have in the room for maneuverability.

great high top dining table

So I guess we started there—with your table. What about other items in the dining room? If with your new large table your dining room feels smaller, I would remove any shelves, hutches or buffet tables. Let there be room to walk around your table and allow that table to be the center of it all. Along those same lines, when you decorate your table go big for a fab look, but before you serve your meal, remove any large decoration from the table. This not only allows people to see each other and converse but gives the impression there is plenty of room.

In the picture below, I would go for an even bigger table in this space—as we entertain frequently and need room for 20 or so.

airy dining room table -counter height

I like the material on the chairs-comfortable yet clean-able.  Solid table. I don’t know about you but when I’m sitting at a table that wobbles, it doesn’t feel comfortable and does not entice me to stay for a long time. The goal is to get your company to stay forever. (ha!) The counter height could be the perfect balance between traditional height and pub table height.

Lighting will also play a vital role in this room. Too dark and it creates a down mood or tiredness. Too bright and you’re not able to relax.

If your dining room is small and can’t be opened up, make sure to remove heavy drapes, wash your windows and try to give a lighter feel to the space. Hang lighting in this area to prevent something else to compete for space. Again, you’re going for spaciousness and a feeling of being able to move around and breathe. If you choose lighting that stands on the floor or needs a table then there will be more obstacles. Hang your lighting—using my favorite—chandeliers! Or a drop light in the corner… or BOTH! Experiment with positioning and combinations of lighting until you find just the right ambience for your taste.

With the shapes and sizes and various material choices out there you can find anything that works for YOU. Don’t forget the Restore store, that Habitat for Humanity manages, to get the best deals and unique choices!

Check these out—I couldn’t resist showing them to you….

 open chandelier for lighted dining room

 

boxed light chandelier

 

tube lighted chandelier

Every chandelier will give off a different amount of light. You get to choose what’s right for your dining room.  Bulbs hanging down will shine the light directly upon your table 

 bulbs hanging down give more direct light

and bulbs screwed in from the top will give it more of a subdued light.

bulbs screwed in from top=more subdued light

 

I like the below but wouldn’t buy it---I have too many tall friends. Ouch!

 chandelier not for tall friends

But I like this one and it will protect my tall friends from a burnt forehead!

 protect tall friends chandelier

 

An open and airy dining room will always be my favorite. When your dining room comes with windows you can create that spacious feel making guests feel comfortable and content hanging out in your dining room for hours.

open and airy dining room

A smaller version of open and airy...

smaller dining room but open

If you like your dining room cozy and dark, that’s fine! Still give you and your guests room to maneuver and air flow so as not to get stuffy and hot.
Comfort is the key and if you do that you will find that you are hanging out in your dining room like you used to in your kitchen.
As the host you will be more comfortable knowing all the dirty dishes are in the kitchen—and not staring you, or your guests, in the face.

Back to our 3 elements...You've got your table and your lighting....What about accents? Rugs, wall art, dish settings? Once you have the dining room itself set up with proper furniture, lighting and spacing you can explore ACCENTS while keeping in mind your objectives: open airy spaces with the lighting you want and those accents will be easy to find!

Of course, I encourage you to pursue wall art that is meaningful, pretty, and reflects your personality--check out the link above for our favorite Barblar Pallet Art.

And most importantly...HAVE FUN with this. And then continue your fun at your next dinner party.

Let us know the tables and lighting that worked for you! Any other hints to share to keep your guests hanging out in the dining room rather than the kitchen? Please share below!

Also, don’t forget to sign up, below, to receive notice as each Room Refresh blog burst is posted.


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