Mismatched Seating: Using chairs that are all different around the same table. This is not for everyone, but when done correctly has great casual charm and can be easy on the pocket book. For this to still have a cohesive look, it’s important that all the chairs share some characteristic: farmhouse chairs all of the same worn oak, different wood chairs all painted the same color, etc. This can also be done to a much lesser extent by having all matching side chairs but different armchairs. The added advantage of this is that the armchairs can serve double duty in another room until they are needed in the dining room.
Many will take down walls for an interflowing, all-in-one kitchen-dining-living room, says Chicago designer Scott Dresner. Keeping all areas open to one another offers another advantage: The space tends to look larger, says Chicago designer John Wiltgen, who’s found more of his clients, even those with traditional taste, seek this arrangement. One of his urban clients recently turned a 24-by-15-foot dining room into a combined kitchen-family room by removing a wall. “The kitchen was on the interior, so this also brightened the space, and the area became more equivalent to a family room found in a suburban home,” he says.
When dealing with more than four or five people, rectangular tables are generally a better fit than round or square ones. Rectangular tables have less dead space in the middle. A square or circular table will certainly have more room for a centerpiece, but a large centerpiece isn’t always a great idea anyway because it may block people’s view of each other and hinder conversation.
Unfortunately, dining room buffets are becoming less common. Since so much eating is done in different areas of the home (and frequently family members eat at different times), the once near necessity of dining room buffets are not needed in many modern homes.
Most tables are a standard height that will work with standard dining chairs, so that’s one thing you don’t need to worry about. However, do measure the clearance height of your table the distance from the floor to the bottom of the apron (the vertical rail that runs under the table top) to make sure that chairs, especially arm chairs, will fit all the way under your table. You want at least 7 inches between the top of the seat and the bottom of the apron for your guests’ legs and 10 inches if you want said guests to be able to cross their legs.
If your dining room overlooks the garden (or even if it doesn’t), consider a green decorating scheme to bring a little of the outdoors in. Choose an uplifting vibrant shade and team it with modern pattern for a stimulating scheme. Offset the bold with refreshing white and pretty leaf motif accessories. Use curtains to carry pattern – this loose chevron design in the same tone is an effective way of adding a refreshingly graphic edge while softening the bold colour choice.