Create a Dining Room Worthy of Your Meals

Entertain with style and flair!

By FamilyTime


The impulse to entertain and extend our hospitality is an age-old one. During these times of grabbing food on-the-run, or only seeing our friends lined up along the soccer field, it’s gratifying to turn our homes into places of welcome and relaxation where we can occasionally entertain with style and grace.

Many new houses do not have a separate dining room. Instead, an area connected to the kitchen, family room, or living room serves as the space where we put our dining room table. In older houses, the dining room may or may not be intact. Previous homeowners may have hijacked it to be part of the kitchen!

Casual Dining Areas

If you are coping with a casual space for the dining room, decorate it so that it complements the rest of the room. If possible, paint the dining area in soft, neutral tones. These might complement the larger room or continue its color scheme. Using a different color will set the dining area off and make it more singular.

If the larger room is painted in a bright color that you don’t want to change, soften the dining area with neutral accents — such as woodwork, slipcovers, carpeting or rugs — and soft lighting.

Choose the right size table for your space. A round table, which is most conducive to conversation, relaxes a boxy area. A rectangular table should only be in a similarly shaped space. You might choose to have a drop leaf table that can be pushed against the wall until it’s time to entertain.

Formal Dining Rooms

Dining rooms can be very formal or less so, but simply by having a room dedicated to the act of eating makes it somewhat proper. Decide on the right size and shape of table for the room, and consider the style, too. Do you favor highly polished mahogany? More of a country look? Or a modern room with a chrome-and-glass-topped table?

Dining rooms can be softened and made more interesting with the addition of bookshelves or French doors that open onto a patio or garden. Drapes create a sensation of coziness and intimacy that works well for candlelit dinner parties.

Avoid bright colors or busy wallpaper in a dining room. Yellows and oranges tend to make people eat faster than serene and soft grays, blues, roses, and greens. When in doubt, paint the room a lovely white and add color with upholstery on the chairs, paintings on the wall, and table settings.

Remember that padded seats keep guests at the table longer and slipcovers provide dramatic accents and a way to introduce color.

Set the Stage

When you decide to entertain — and it’s fun to do so often — set the dining table with appropriate tableware for the mood of the party. Is it formal and therefore deserves tall candles, a linen tablecloth and your wedding china? Or is the party more light-hearted, and so you can bring out your more colorful plates, napkins, and tablecloths?

Even a formal dining room will accommodate a casual party, just as a casual dining area can be dressed up for any occasion. Have fun with the dining room or area and use it to entertain your friends and family. Your reputation as a host will precede you!