An interior design blog with furniture reviews, interior decorating tips, DIY projects, and home furniture guides.

Posts Tagged ‘dining furniture’

British Colonial Style for the Dining Room

Friday, February 18th, 2011

The Brits, especially during the height of Queen Victoria’s 63-year reign when her vast empire was spread over several continents, were ardent travelers and explorers. This is richly evident in the British Colonial style dining room where eclectic, exciting and inviting elements work together, resulting in furniture that is diversely sophisticated. Since British Colonial style celebrates tropical influences and travel to exotic places, this décor style is sure to add a little spice to the room where you spend time with your family and friends.

Color and Texture

Because of the many cultural influences that affected life in the British Colonies, colors were rich and vibrant. But they are usually reserved for the fabrics of upholstered dining room furniture, curtains, area rugs and accessories. Using a variety of bold animal prints and brightly colored fabrics is what makes this style so visually textured and exciting.

When decorating a British Colonial style dining room, color palettes for the walls are quieter and more subtle. Select muted shades of berry, forest, sky or sea. Cool-hued pale yellows and soft reds are also ideal. Should you choose to go the neutral route, use deeper shades as opposed to lighter ones to avoid a “washed out” look.

British Colonial Style Dining Furniture

When British subjects were sent on behalf of Queen Victoria to conduct business, govern territories or protect the empire’s interests in colonial regions like the West Indies, India and East Africa, they of course entertained royals, heads of state and prominent military leaders. Though the dining room or banquet area was dressed to impress, British Colonial dining furniture displayed more relaxed, regional influences while still retaining the formal beauty and dignity of Victorian furnishings.

British Colonial style dining room furniture, usually made from tropical woods like ebony, mahogany and teak is distinguished by rich finishes, either polished or distressed. Typical features of British Colonial style dining tables and dining chairs are curvaceous profiles, sweeping curved lines and relaxed decorative detail. Chair backs, tabletops or tables often had cane, rattan or bamboo insets. Decorative detail could include tropical motifs like shells, botanicals and animal prints. These features would also apply to other dining furniture pieces like buffets and sideboards.

Accessorizing British Colonial Style

It might seem counter-intuitive, but heavier fabrics were used for curtains, essentially to keep out the tropical heat. Swag curtains with ornate valances were commonly used for window treatments while fabrics used for the curtains often included gold thread while tie-backs were made of braided and/or tasseled cords. Another option is to select shutters – they were also a popular way in British Colonies to keep out the heat and the damaging effects of the sun.

British Colonial style dining room accessories could include heavy candlesticks made of wood or brass placed on the dining table or the buffet; a sisal area rug underneath the dining set; hurricane lamps or hurricane style sconces; one or two potted plants in oversized Oriental ceramic planters, or tall case goods like a china cabinet or a curio cabinet.

Come back next Friday when I start a new 3-part style series called Contemporary Loft Furniture Ideas.

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.

Reflections

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

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.

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.

Theme

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?

Lighting

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.

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.

Balance

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

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.

Country Living Cottage Style – Cottage Style Dining Room Ideas

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Today in the last part of this 3-part mini series “Country Living Cottage Style,” we’re focusing on the dining room. A cottage style dining room reflects lazy days spent by the lake or a place to come back to after a long trek through the woods or down a winding  lane in farm country. It’s comfortable, cozy and completely charming. If done “right,” it will give you the impression that time is not so important and this wonderful evening with family and friends is not going to end any time soon. Cottage style is eclectic and can be as casual (taking its cues from country) or as sophisticated (incorporating more traditional influences) as you want it to be.

When choosing a color palette for you cottage style dining room, pick earth tones, preferably more intense shades than lighter – the yellows and golds of autumn leaves; the greens found in moss, forests and grasses; and the browns and reds of the earth itself.

Another option is to start with antique white or soft cream. Then add a bold accent color or paper one wall with classic floral wallpaper in a bright hue. This will provide an ideal background for a two-tone dining table like the one that is part of the Cottage style furniture is typically made of wood, but as demonstrated by the Stanley Furniture Portofino Ivory Wood and Metal Table, iron is a natural element to throw into the mix. The metal base of the dining table includes traditional scrollwork that looks great when paired with wood. Popular woods used in the construction of cottage style dining furniture are pine, oak and ceder. Common finishes include pine, antique white, distressed and washed. It’s not uncommon for cottage style case goods such as sideboards, buffets, dresses, china cabinets or hutches to have beadboard panels or louvered doors.

Consider adding a large dresser to your dining room – it will perfectly emphasize the comfortable and versatile nature of cottage style while giving you an ideal place for storing tableware and displaying items like jugs, baskets and decorative plates. It is also an ideal way to re-purpose a now unused dresser from a redecorated bedroom.

A cottage style dining room is ideal for a home with children because it is an eclectic style, allowing you the freedom to be a laid-back or as formal as you want it to be. It’s easy to get that certain look that will make your dining room the place to entertain (with or without the kids around). Just remember to mix and match collectibles with more traditional reproduction pieces; when dressing windows use at least two different patterned fabrics like pairing gingham with floral; and finally, when accessorizing, don’t forget to include some natural, organic elements such as ceramic bowls, pottery jugs, heavy iron or stone candlesticks.

Global Warmth – Global style dining room

Friday, June 25th, 2010

If travel appeals to or you like to memorabilia from around the world, global style might be the interior design for you when decorating a dining room. Like shabby chic or French country, global style is an eclectic decorating style that takes its influences from around the globe. And for this reason, it is also known as international or world style. A global style dining room can reflect a trip to a Moroccan bazaar, market day in a village in India or a street market in Sri Lanka.

Gobal style is a growing interior design trend because it appeals to our sense of adventure, exploration and curiosity about the world around us. This trend’s popularity is also due to the “global village” our world has become – no corner of the globe seems beyond our reach. And as we move from one place to another, irregardless of borders, the cultural mosaic of any one particular geographic area is constantly evolving. Inspiration for a dining set like the Stanley Furniture Sunset Key 7 Piece Cinnamon Bay Dining Set tables can be found in objects from some exotic location of the world. And because of this, global style is rich in textures, colors and shapes. Decorative motifs like palm leaves, pineapple tops and exotic animals or tropical flowers are common.

When choosing dining furniture for your global style dining room, think natural fibers for upholstered dining chairs, window treatments and area rugs; teak, mahogany and other tropical woods for furniture pieces like a dining table, buffet or china cabinet; bamboo, rattan and tortoise shell as accent materials for tabletops, case goods and chair back inserts. While the overall appearance of global style furniture can range from the sophisticated to the rustic, its predominate characteristic is a hand-crafted look that comes from the use of a distressed finish, natural materials such as cane or rattan or matched veneers in a distinctive pattern.

Wall colors can be as bold or as muted as you desire. Reds, purples, oranges and golds would be a good starter palette for inspiration for a global style dining room. Accessorizing is easy – choose framed prints (or select pictures from your own collection of photographs) of exotic locales. Upholstered chairs can be made of brightly colored woven fabrics; fabrics for window treatments might be made of silk, brocade or damask. Layer the room throughout with objects de arte like ceramic elephants, Indonesian masks and oversized iron candlesticks. As with any eclectic style, and global style is no exception, the way you design and decorate your global style dining room will be totally unique to you.

Decorating with Counter Height Bar Stools

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Counter height bar stools have the distinction of being “borrowed” from the favorite local pub and transformed into a popular kitchen décor or dining room trend. By blending trendy style and contemporary design with practicality and comfort, decorating with counter height bar stools is an easy way to make a room like a kitchen, dining room or virtually anywhere in your home where you entertain more functional and convenient. Regardless of the décor style, bar stools can bring a sophisticated look and feel to any kitchen island, breakfast bar, family room or den. Nothing else quite shows your personal taste like bar stools that make a statement.

Bar stools or counter stools for intended for a kitchen, dining room or a home bar come in a variety of heights, colors and designs. Many types of bar stools have unique designs that can complement any number of décor themes and/or interior design style. A bar stool chosen to match the height of a counter, kitchen island, home bar or gathering table can help improve a room’s appearance in addition to enhancing your lifestyle. Well-placed bar stools can make a room “pop,” converting a kitchen counter or a wood gathering table into a focal point that draws the eye into the space in a pleasing and surprising way.

Even if you don’t have a kitchen island or a breakfast bar but you do have a dining room, turning an unused corner of your kitchen into handy eating area or as place to gather with family and friends is a practical way to increase the versatility and functionality of your living space. It’s as easy as choosing a counter height dining table and matching barstools. Since space is hard to come by in apartments, condos or smaller sized homes, having an extra eating area is especially useful when planning a holiday get-together or other celebratory occasion.

The main advantages of decorating with bar stools are esthetics and practicality. Even if they have been bought for a certain location in mind, such as a breakfast bar or gathering table, they can be easily moved to other rooms in your home when needed. Kitchen counter bar stools can be simple in design or as decorative in appearance as a dining chair, but whatever the style, color or type, well-chosen kitchen counter stools can unify the different décor elements in a room, creating an atmosphere that is both stylish and welcoming.

From Coast to Coast – Coastal Dining Room

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Coastal style is a growing trend in interior design for many reasons. Neutrals are paired with punches of color; more formal or traditional furniture pieces blend happily with items crafted from organic materials; and a mix of fabrics that are both casual and dressy typically balance each other to create the atmosphere of a seaside resort. East coast living is different from the west coast lifestyle and for those living along tropical or Mediterranean coastlines, it’s different yet again. In other words, coastal style can be anything from totally casual to informal sophistication. If you want the feeling of the casual formality found homes with an ocean view, here are some ideas for decorating a coastal dining room that will be a place to relax with family and friends.

Since coastal style can be relaxed and casual, reminiscent of spending a day at the beach or a reflection of living by a lake or an ocean, choose a paint color for the walls that will bring water, sun, sand or sky into the room. Whether the palette leans more toward neutral tones or is brighter, will depend on the specific coast you have picked for your dining room’s focus. For example, vibrant hues such as coral, marine blue and primary yellow are reminiscent of the west coast, while sandy creams and softer grays say east coast.

A coastal dining room should have a cohesive and tranquil feel, even if you mix and match different furniture styles and/or coastal motifs. Wood is good; a wood dining table with a medium to dark wood finish or a white one with a washed or distressed finish is an excellent place to start. To create a relaxed dining environment, select furniture pieces with painted finishes such as white, lemon and cream that bring a sunny day spent by the ocean into your home. For a more exotic feel, pick a dining table like the Tommy Bahama Home Island Estate Cayman Pedestal Dining Table with matching chairs that has a richer finish and includes organic elements such as a cane inlay apron.

A coastal dining room is inspired by the diverse lifestyles, themes and activities associated with living by the sea or another type of body of water. Many interior designers feel that it’s those little touches that “make or break” a room: when accessorizing a coastal style dining area, choose items made of bamboo, rattan, cane or shells. Popular motifs for coastal style accessories are nautical stripes, anchors, coastal birds, seahorses and starfish. Tropical flowers and palm leaves are common patterns for upholstered dining chair fabric. Common decorative detailing for coastal accent pieces like a sideboard or a china cabinet include shutters, louvers or beadboard panels.

A coastal dining room is truly eclectic, utilizing a number of furniture styles such as country, traditional or even contemporary. It also incorporates natural elements like woven sea grass area rugs or objects like lamps, candlesticks and pictures made from shells. This style of dining room will make you feel as though every day is a holiday by the sea.

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