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Archive for the ‘Dining Room Furniture & Design’ Category

Bringing Romance to Your Dining Room

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Bringing romance into your dining room doesn’t have to mean that you must choose a certain style like shabby chic, traditional, country or vintage. Furniture profiles should definitely possess curves; lines must be smooth and flowing. It’s more about creating an atmosphere that is intimate and inviting. For a distinctly romantic feel pick a theme like Paris, an outdoor European café or a seaside castle. It can be as simple as placing candles on the dining table or making a floating floral centerpiece. A romantic dining room, regardless of the style you have chosen for your dining furniture, is elegant and timeless.

Start at the Top

A romantic dining room must have a chandelier of some type. It doesn’t have to be the traditionally ornate kind, but it should add some “drama” to room. Gracefully shaped arms are a must. A dimmer switch is compulsory – being able to dim the lights is a key ingredient to setting the right mood. A chandelier with up lights is also an option; light won’t be aimed directly downward.


You might have selected the ideal chandelier for your romantic dining room, but don’t forget the candlesticks, particularly medium to tall ones made of metal. Warmer colored metals like gold, brass or bronze are good for skin tones, putting you and your guests in a good light.

Mirrors add a romantic element to a dining room, especially when positioned opposite something shiny like the dining table with candles or a window that reflects back the night sky or a glittering city skyline. Pairing a large, decorative mirror with a buffet or sideboard captures and reflects back the romance of dining table while creating a secondary focal point.

Go Girly

For an instantaneous romantic feel, paint the walls a shade that is typically “feminine” like rose, lavender, plum or lilac.

Replace your current window treatments with lace sheers.

Transform your dining chairs with custom made slipcovers that include frills, ties or bows.

Place a small table lamp with a silk shade on a buffet or side board. Or why not sconces with silk shades and beads or colored crystals?

Other tips for creating a romantic dining room include:

  • Don’t save your good china for special occasions
  • If you don’t have at least two crystal wine goblets or drinking glasses of some kind, indulge in some
  • Cover the table with a pretty cloth tablecloth or fabric placemats and matching napkins

China Cabinet Display Dos and Don’ts

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

A china cabinet isn’t just a piece of furniture; it houses the china that has become the fabric of precious memories during a lifetime of spending time with family and friends. Since china cabinets are designed to protect glassware and dishware from disasters and harmful environs, it might be tempting to try to fit in every piece of good china that you own. But the whole point of displaying your china at all is to show it off to its best advantage. There are some easy and simple ways to make room for everything while transforming your china cabinet into a focal point your dining room can be proud of.

Be Selective

To showoff your collectibles and china to its best advantage, be selective. In the display areas of your china cabinet place items so that they have room to breathe. Make the most of the storage sections not on view by rearranging things so that the same types of items are grouped together. You might be surprised at how much room you will be able to find. For smaller and/or lighter items, use shelving organizers to maximize the shelf’s holding capacity.

Pleasing to the Eye

Arrange the items you have chosen in an attractive manner. No matter where in your dining room the china cabinet is, it will be the room’s secondary focal point. Ensure that at least one shelf, preferably the middle one, includes items of varying heights. One of the simplest ways to do this is to include different sized jugs, vases or figurines. Another option is to include standing plates; if your china cabinet does not have plate grooves (sometimes referred to as plate rails), you can buy separate plate stands for each one you would like to display.

Make the Most of what you’ve Got

Glass attracts fingerprints, smudges and dust. Shine up the glass doors from time to time, so that people can admire what’s inside.

If there are features such as an interior light that was never hooked up or unused plate grooves, maybe now is the time. Anything that can help display your beautiful things to their best advantage should be utilized.

There’s no rule that says you have to display the same items year after year. Replace a few items every now and then with other treasures from your collection. You can also go seasonal, showcasing your collectible pumpkin plate in autumn or your Santa high ball glasses in December.

Plastic Furniture You’ll Want to Show Off

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Let’s face it – plastic furniture has a not-so-good reputation. When talking about outdoor furniture, most people agree that it is an economical and functional choice when choosing chairs and tables for the backyard, deck or balcony. But when purchasing furniture for the rooms of your home, that’s when plastic furniture gets a really bad rap, with words like “cheap-looking” and “flimsy” immediately springing to mind. But many designers like the creative freedom and challenges plastics give them when designing furniture pieces that will capture your imagination as much as your eye.

Plastic Furniture for the Bedroom

Plastics take many forms and a popular construction material for bedroom furniture such as headboards or bed benches is leatherette, a high-grade vinyl that has the surface look and feel of leather. While in some ways it is not as durable as leather, leatherette does have some lasting power and it is easier to maintain.

The Modloft New Ludlow Platform Bed in Black Leatherette displays strength of character and a Zen-like tranquility that is timeless. Visual interest is created by pairing the tall, tufted headboard with the low-profile design of the bed.

Plastic Furniture for the Dining Room

Plastic dining furniture has a modern vibe that is versatile and trendy. Lines flow; edges are smooth to the touch – there is something sleek yet energetic about an attention-grabbing dining chair or chic dining table made from one type of plastic or another.

The Global Furniture USA Neville Casual Dining Set transforms a space into a dining room where family and friends share a good meal, laugh together and exchange stories and ideas. The plastic dining chairs in different colors matched with the same colors in the base of the table adds a distinctive look that will give any dining room a contemporary (and fun) appeal.

Plastic Furniture for the Living Room

Don’t forget acrylic equals plastic too. Placing the Wholesale Interiors Baxton Studio Acrylic Magazine Coffee Table over a patterned area rug or in front of a colorful sofa will introduce a whimsical element into your living room interior design.

Molded and modern, the Avenue Six Slick Cube Modern Occasional Table is not only whimsical, it’s just plain fun.

Ditto for the Zuo Ripple Chair. Not only is this unique club chair a real eye-catcher, it is sure to be a conversation piece as well.

Lavish Traditional Style for your Dining Room

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Over the years, the formal dining room has been replaced by more casual style eating areas like breakfast bars, breakfast nooks and opening design multipurpose living spaces. But some of us like the idea of entertaining friends or spending time with family around a dining table. Lavish traditional style creates a dramatic dining room setting that possesses a formal yet timeless elegance. It is all about rich woods, sophisticated profiles and ornate decoration that textures the room in layers of Old World charm. When you design a traditional style dining room for your home and select traditional dining furniture, you are embracing a European flair will cherish today and want to pass along to future generations.

Set the Stage

To create a lavish traditional style dining room, start with the walls. Colors should be bold, deeper shades of red, pink, blue and green like burgundy, rose, royal blue and emerald green. If your formal dining room is part of an open design floor plan or you are not a fan of bold colors, choose richer hues of neutrals such as grey, silver, white and taupe.

If you really want to go all out formal, opt for an elegantly patterned wallpaper design. Should wallpapering all four walls not appeal to you, consider using it on one accent wall.

Window treatments are made from brocades, velvets or silks. For even more “drama” pair a set of curtains with a valance and sheers for a luxuriously formal look.

Traditional Style Dining Furniture

Traditional style furniture for your lavish dining room should be suitably impressive and typically crafted from wood or wood veneers. If you are a traditional style aficionado, select a sub style that is know for its elaborate decoration such as Baroque, Rococo, Renaissance or Victorian. If you wouldn’t know Queen Anne from Jacobean, you don’t really have to – simply pick traditional style furniture that is pleasing to you while including plenty of curvy lines and decorative details.

There’s formal, and then there’s formal. Choose the shape of your dining table to create the lavish atmosphere that best suits your personality. A rectangular dining table will have a stylized formal appeal while a round dining table projects a casual sophistication while still being classically traditional.

When you purchase dining chairs separately for your traditional dining table, make sure that they match the table’s decorative detail and the color and texture of the finish (matte finished chairs for a matte finish table or highly polished chairs with a table that has a high sheen).

A lavish, opulent and imposing traditional style dining room is attractive and timeless place you and your family will want to spend time. Come back next Friday for Lavish Traditional Style part 2.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Open Concept Condo

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Design Question

Hello, I have a brand new condo, with the open dining room / kitchen / living room concept. Can you please tell me what I could put on the long counter top just to decorate it? Right now, I have nothing on it, because I do not want it to look cluttered as you can see it very clearly when you walk into the dinning area or what they call the great room. I have kept my kitchen counters also pretty clear, since it is all open.

Is it ok to maybe get two or three nice counter stools to put under the counter that is part of the living room? It is bare and cold there. It would be more for decorative purposes, but I could use them to sit at the counter if I wanted to. Thank you!

Design Answer

Adding nice counter stools to the area will certainly create a focal point. Even if as you say, they end up being more for show, it never hurts to have additional seating especially in smaller-sized living spaces like apartments or condominiums for special occasions or holidays.

As for the counter top itself, take your time choosing an accent piece that is meaningful to you. For example, if you are particularly fond of ceramics scour your local markets for hand-crafted bowl that you really like. If you like flowers or fresh fruit, select a simple wood fruit bowl or stone, glass or porcelain vase.

Congratulations on your new condo! Thanks for writing in. Come back next Monday when I’ll be answering another design question.

Social Column – Contemporary, Transitional and Traditional Style Pedestal Tables

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Aside from conjuring up images of King Arthur and his knights, the symbol for infinity or lasting love, there is something about round that has a candid appeal. It’s up front, straightforward and has no angles. Round is a pleasing shape, with its smooth lines, simple profile and understated strength. No matter what the style – contemporary, transitional or traditional – round dining tables have a classic appearance that never goes out of style. Because it is ideally suited to smaller-sized living spaces, today we’re going to look at dining room interior design featuring the round pedestal table.

Contemporary Style Round Pedestal Table

Contemporary style round pedestal tables capture the spirit of a modern lifestyle by emphasizing clean lines, functional yet aesthetically pleasing designs and unique profiles that catch the eye. Visual interest is typically created by pairing the round tabletop with a pedestal base that has a distinctive shape. A contemporary pedestal dining table can also create visual interest by using construction materials such as wood, leather and/or glass in a variety of unusual ways or combinations.

Transitional Style Round Pedestal Table

A transitional style pedestal table is growing in popularity due to its “middle of the road” attitude. By blending elements of traditional and contemporary styles together, the result is a pedestal dining table that has flowing lines and beautiful decorative detail without the “fussiness” of the more formal, historical time periods. Transitional round pedestal tables, while lines and profiles tend to be tempered, possess a sophisticated, inviting allure.

Traditional Style Round Pedestal Table

There is such a wide range to of pedestal dining tables to choose from, including ones that magically transform into an oval shape with the help of a leaf. A traditional round pedestal table that includes one leaf or two leaves allows you to seat more people at the table for special occasions and then return the table to its cosier (round) configuration when a larger setup is no longer needed. Traditional style pedestal tables display classic elements like elaborately carved pedestal bases; highly polished or distressed finishes; and ornate decorations incorporating shell, acanthus or scroll motifs.

What makes a Round Pedestal Table Special

Since round pedestal tables have a single post to support the tabletop, the footprint for this type of dining table is generally smaller than that of other types of standard-sized dining tables. But there is just something special about round pedestal tables as opposed to square or even octagonal. Here are a few attributes that make round pedestal tables really stand out.

  • They are great space-savers
  • Everyone seated around the table can easily see and interact with everybody
  • Because there is essentially only one table leg that is in the middle, there’s no danger of anyone bumping their knees
  • When not used for dining, it’s an ideal place to play cards or board games like Scrabble

Alfresco Style Interior Design – Outdoor Furniture Ideas for the Dining Room

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Whether it’s on a patio of your favorite restaurant, a little outdoor bistro you discovered by accident on vacation in Europe or a local coffee shop where most of the patrons would never consider sitting inside, there is something very appealing about dining outdoors. There is nothing quite like it: charming metal dining tables and chairs; planters, foliage or hanging baskets; and other natural, decorative accents typically associated with the outdoors like stone, wicker and shells, combine to create a unique dining experience. What if you could have a dining room that leant you the same festive feeling everyday? Using a few alfresco style design ideas for inspiration, you can have a dining room that offers you the spirit of dining outdoors year-round.


Every outdoor restaurant has a theme usually centered around the type of food it specializes in, a local landmark or the view, especially if it is located by the ocean or some other natural attraction. The type and style of dining furniture you select will ultimately be tied into theme you have chosen. An outdoor theme like a Parisian café or a Venice bistro will require a different style of dining table than a theme like Moroccan or Indian bazaar. Modern theme requires something sleek and sophisticated while a wrought iron table and chairs that include elaborate scrolls and a leaf motif would be perfect for a Victorian theme.

Dining Furniture

Depending on your theme, you don’t have to stick to metal or metal and glass dining furniture. Not only is wood a natural element, it is of course, a popular construction material for outdoor dining tables and chairs. Especially if you choose a dining table set that incorporates cane, rattan, stone or shells, you will easily create the feeling of an outdoor dining area.

You can bring the outdoor atmosphere of alfresco dining indoors in other subtle, sophisticated ways. Choose floral patterns for upholstered dining chairs, curtains and the area rug. For dining accent furniture ideas, add stone or copper urns that might be found on outdoor patio or dining area, an indoor fountain or park-style or stone bench in lieu of two or more standard dining room chairs.

When choosing a server or buffet, select a rustic looking sideboard that has an antiqued finish. Or how about a bakers rack for adding Old World charm?


Outdoor restaurants and dining areas have a certain ambiance that can be partly attributed to how the space is lit. As when lighting any room of your home, you should find the right balance function and creating the right mood (not too bright; not too dark). But when bringing outdoor dining indoors, you’ll also want to capture the feeling of outdoor lighting fixtures. Pick something lamp-like or with white or colored glass globes that look like they can withstand exposure to the elements; the type of lighting that creates ambiance in an outdoor restaurant. Keep in mind, that any lighting fixture you select should match the theme and style of your furniture.

A dining room designed to evoke the pleasures of dining alfresco is the perfect excuse for relaxing with family or lingering over a meal with friends.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Moving from the Southwest to Minnesota

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Design Question

I’m from the sunny southwest and I love light and white and comfy inviting places. We’ve moved to *Minnesota!*.  The winters are long, cold, and mostly dark all the time. I miss the light and friends being able to pop over any time of day to drink some sweet sun tea (it’s a major ordeal to leave your house in the winter here).

We just bought our first house and it has good windows/natural light. The big entertainment center will go, the divider wall and entryway tile will go, and all the trim and windows are being installed white. There is gray/tan tile in the dining room and kitchen, and our floor plan is very open – you can see the dining room and kitchen from living room. We need to put down new flooring in the living area – which is where I need help, that and paint colors.

I want a wood floor in the living room and hallway. I can’t decide if I should go with a Scandinavian look with white walls and light wood floors, or do light walls and a dark wood floor. I like the look of both, and I have found lots of photos that seem to “decorate with light” and show white on white, but none with dark couches and dark floors that don’t look cave-like, or light floors with dark couches. I’m having a hard time deciding what would look best and not make my home look dark.

Design Answer

Congratulations on your new home. What a great space! I think you made the right choice to replace all the trim and the dark-framed windows with white. You should definitely make the most of them, especially as you mentioned, come winter time, you’ll be glad for whatever natural light you get in the space.

It is my understanding that you are keeping the tile that is currently in the kitchen and dining room. Because it includes lighter hues, my instinct tells me that light wood floors with white walls would work better with the tile than a dark wood floor. I think this would also be a better choice for the hallway, since from your photograph it appears dark and very closed in – the lighter color choice will help to “open” up the hallway and make it brighter. I know you said that you would be getting rid of the entertainment center, but in terms of color, it does work well with the furniture in the room. In terms of the lighter floor color, if or when you add wood furniture to the space, I wouldn’t go any darker than your dining table or the entertainment center.

If you do go with the lighter colors for both the floor and the walls, I would also consider bringing more color into space, especially warm colors like soft yellow, pale gold, even orange. You may even want to pick two accent colors, one for one wall in the dining room and another accent color for one of the walls in the living room. Because the dining room directly faces your front door, I would pick the wall with the window on it (in the dining room) for your accent color. By placing pictures on either side of the window, or a group of pictures just on one side or adding a piece of furniture like a corner curio cabinet creates a focal point for your visitors and helps to create a welcoming atmosphere.

Thanks for writing in. Let me know how it turns out. Good luck!

Out in the Open – Transitional Style for Open Concept Living Spaces

Friday, August 27th, 2010

If you’ve just bought a condo or purchased a loft or moved into a bachelor/studio apartment for the first time, it might have never occurred to you before how are you going to decorate a space where all the “rooms” run one into another. Do you have to stick to one wall color? How do you arrange the living room furniture? Are you going to be stuck with the kitchen in your peripheral vision while you’re watching television? Even though you have considerably less space to work with when decorating a bachelor or studio apartment than you do when moving into a condo or a loft, the principles for making an open concept floor plan comfortable and inviting will be the same. Choosing an interior design style like transitional for an open concept home, will give your living space a contemporary synergy while honoring certain traditional elements that add sophistication and a chic sensibility.

 The good news is you can choose only one for the whole space or not; it’s really a personal preference. You do however, want avoid painting the same wall two different colors even if they are a part of two distinctly different areas, like the dining room and the living room, unless it makes “sense” visually. However, picking an accent wall and choosing to paint it another color, especially a bold one, will give your transitional style living space definition, while letting you introduce more color into your interior design.

It’s important to mark out individual areas of an open concept home: having clearing defined areas, each with a specific purpose, prevents the furniture from appearing “lost” or “jumbled.” Transitional style living room furniture and dining furniture include traditional decorative and architectural elements as interpreted by contemporary design principles is a great way to decorate a condo, loft or studio apartment, because you can select furniture for the different open areas, that while still transitional in style, possess a slightly different look or feel. Even though everything is out in the open, some other ways to create the sense of separate rooms are:

  • Use a different area rug for you dining area than the one chosen for the living room
  • “Divide” up the space with strategically placed open shelf bookcases or decorative folding screens
  • Hang artwork on the walls that emphasizes what the particular space is being used for (pictures of Parisian cafes or outdoor bistros in the dining area)

When choosing furniture for an open area living space, select furniture pieces like a coffee table or an entertainment center that includes hidden storage. Dual or multi-purpose furnishings such a hallway bench or an ottoman coffee table will increase your storage options in the long run, giving you more place to tidy things away – something that is ultra important in an open design condo, loft or apartment.

Mix and Match or Mishmash? – Eclectic Style Dining Room

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Eclectic style is appealing to many people because it isn’t just one style, but rather a pleasant mix and match of a number of different elements and influences. And because it’s the one style that is unashamedly not bound by rules, it is a good place to start if you’re consciously decorating a room or living space for the first time. While there may not be prescribed rules for eclectic style, when planning a dining room interior design, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind so that everything works together and even though different elements are involved, the overall effect ends up harmonious.


A dining room can often end up naturally eclectic. When furnishing a dining room, of course the most important piece of furniture is the dining set. You chose contemporary style for your dining area because the lines were casual and relaxed, and you could easily blend it with the kitchen which had been already decorated. Once the dining table and matching chairs have been bought and used for awhile, you might want to repurpose a dresser as a sideboard or add an armoire or china cabinet that was given to you by a favorite aunt. The styles don’t match, but that’s okay. It’s eclectic. The first trick to eclectic style decorating is balance – balance the contemporary dining table with your aunt’s traditional china cabinet; the oversized traditional cabinet with a transitional sideboard; the bold wall color with earth-toned or neutral upholstered dining chairs.


Furniture for an eclectic dining room should include a variety of profiles, lines and finishes. But again, keep balance in mind. While you want to mix and match more contemporary furnishings with traditional reproduction pieces, you will want to do so in moderation. Yes, there are no rules, but for eclectic style to really work, moderation and even restraint can save your dining room interior design from becoming too busy or even making the space feel claustrophobic.

Finishing Off

Eclectic style allows you to create the exact mood that you want for your dining room – it can be formal in the traditional sense; chic with a causal vibe; laid-back or dramatically sophisticated. Layering is important: a clever blend of textures, colors and finishes give an eclectic style dining room meaning and depth. When accessorizing, don’t forget to pair a collectible pottery jug with an antique-style porcelain piece; window treatments, rugs and furniture fabrics are a mix of materials like silk and wool; and a variety of finishes like distressed wood finishes matched with wrought iron and brass lamp bases.

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