It’s that time of year again when we start to turn our focus inward and to use our interior spaces more and more. Often unused in the summer months dining rooms are one of my most favourite spaces to design, decorate and be in.
There’s a lot to consider when designing a dining room such as, how do you like to entertain? Formal or informal? What’s the mood you want to create? Is it an adult space or will there be many age groups using the room? Is it just to be a dining room or could it also double as another room like a library or study?
Once you’ve decided how the room is going to serve you best, you have to think about the various elements going into the space. Here I’m going to discuss the three elements that I consider to be the most important in a dining room – Seating, fabric and lighting.
As I like long dinners with lots of conversation I always employ seating that is very comfortable in a dining room. All chairs must have wide seats that are well padded and offer support in all the right places. I never use benches they are completely ridiculous unless you really hate your dinner guests. No one’s going to be able to sit on a bench with no back support and enjoy themselves for very long. The same goes for hard, wooden or plastic seats.
For me fabric is a great way to make a dining room very special. Use more than one, don’t be afraid to mix up patterns and styles, or you can use the same fabric everywhere- chairs, drapes, walls, it’s amazingly impactful and very chic. Also, think about slipcovers. A simple light palette or pattern for spring and summer and something dark and moody for fall and winter. This gives your room twice the bang for the buck and won’t get boring. If durability is a concern, make sure you cover your chairs in a fabric that will withstand your usage, and remember durability doesn’t mean ugly. As a designer I’m constantly reminding people that there are many beautiful fabrics out there to select from, one of my favourite brands is Robert Allen. Do your research and consider to hire a designer to assist you!
Another key element to dining with style is lighting not just a chandelier. Yes, a light in the centre of the room is important but there are other kinds of lighting that you should incorporate into your space to create a sophisticated atmosphere. Pot lights for ambience, sconces for elegance, picture lights and up lights for drama and my favourite, table lamps for a unexpected cozy feel that can dilute any pretensions immediately. Every light in your house should be on a dimmer, especially the dining room!
As fall approaches and we begin to spend more time indoors, our dining rooms can offer us a beautiful space to relax and entertain. Remember to get the right seating, use the right fabrics and dim the lights. These key elements will have you on your way to dining with style!
Tips and Tricks
- Always get very comfy dining chairs as they can be used in other places in your house such as the front hall or living room.
- Using area rug under table ensure when chairs pulled out still are on the rug.
- Hang a chandelier approximately 30 to 34 inches over a table with an 8 foot ceiling height. If your ceiling is higher than 8 feet, mount the chandelier an additional 3 inches higher for each foot of ceiling.
Toronto-based respected designer William MacDonald is the Principal of WillMac Design. His firm is best known for creating stylish approachable spaces that evoke a simple timeless elegance. Servicing clientele throughout Canada, The United States and overseas. willmacdesign.ca
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