Dining rooms are still an important part of the home. Though rarely used for dining daily any longer, the dining room is still a special place for gatherings of family and friends.
Of course, your dining room may get more use if you were to dress your dining room up a bit to make it more inviting and, to steal a term from the computer world, user-friendly.
The truth is, a lot of dining rooms are simply afterthoughts. There’s the obligatory dining room table and perhaps a buffet or china cabinet in there. But usually, that’s it. Small wonder why your family and guests retreat to other parts of the room when it’s time to eat.
To make your dining room more user-friendly, we have three great ideas for you. These will make your dining room more inviting and a place where you’ll love to entertain others year round, not just on holidays.
1. Attain a Sense of Scale.
Often, the major roadblock to turning your dining room into a regular entertainment and dining space is the table itself. If you have a large table that seats 16 twice a year but you only have a family of four, it may just be too daunting to eat at the table. Better yet, choose a table with removable leaves so you can expand the table only when needed during the holidays. This makes your dining room more spacious and less intimidating.
2. Update the lighting.
A lot of dining rooms come with exquisite chandeliers or overhead lighting that does nothing but make the room feel flat. If you must have overhead lighting, install dimmer switches for them. This way you can soften the lighting when you want to set a more elegant mood. This is particularly useful if you want to dine by candlelight but not in the dark. The dimmed chandelier can add ambient light to the room.
You may also want to consider lighting that isn’t over the table. Track lighting along the walls, wall sconces or a couple floor lamps can help soften and direct the light in the room. This keeps the dining room free of that overhead blast of light and lets you control the mood of the room more effectively, making it bright for birthdays and soft for a holiday meal.
3. Add decor to the walls.
Often, the dining room gets any art that is left over once you finish the bedrooms and living room. Instead, look for new art that accentuates and supports the room’s purpose. A lovely still life tapestry or a tapestry with a nice arrangement of flowers can add beauty and style to the room. You can also opt for a historical tapestry, or even a modern one, if you gravitate toward a more modernistic approach to your dining room furniture.
Finally, change the color of the walls. The room should be warm and inviting. The dining room is one place where white walls should be never be seen. Go instead with a darker palette with a white ceiling and white baseboards and trim. It will make the room seem much larger.