How to Breathe New Life Into Your Dining Room.

The dining room is the cornerstone of any home. Whether you’re entertaining dinner guests or bonding with the family, some of your household’s greatest moments are created around the dinner table.

Whether your dining room is traditional and formal or contemporary and casual, it’s important to make this part of the home as warm and comfortable as possible and here we show you how to breathe new life into your dining room with simple decor changes that anyone can do themselves.

Install a Water Feature or Garden Fountain.

If full-length dining room windows overlook the side of the house and the only view is the fence, plan something special. Install a water wall or a small waterfall. The trickle of running water will be a pleasant backdrop to your dinner conversation. Plant the garden beds with vibrant colour to draw the eye. Or go for a low-key, tranquil Japanese garden with stone lanterns and ornaments, a water feature, grasses and gravel.

Let There be Light.

Installing a dimmer switch so the lights can be lowered is a great way to create an instant atmosphere. Muted lighting makes for a moodier meal but don’t overdo it as most of us like to see what we’re eating. Candles placed strategically on a table will also add a warm glow. Put several down the middle of the table or a small one by each place setting. Squat candles floating in shallow bowls of water can also look effective.

Find the Right Table Size.

Finding the right table for your dining room is vital. In smaller rooms, glass-topped tables will give the illusion of increased space. A round table options also fits the optimum number of diners into a tight space and encourages conversation as everyone is in easy view of each other. Tables with sections that can be added or tucked away depending on numbers is a great idea for apartments and townhouses where you only need a small table tucked against the wall for daily family dining but the flexibility of being able to extend it when having guests over for dinner. If space isn't a consideration but you want a softer look, use an oval shaped table instead of a rectangular one. It takes up the same amount of space, but looks a little less formal and rigid.

Use the Right Colours.

For best effect in your dining room, it’s important to use the right colours. In a small room, try to avoid really dark wall colours with heavy furniture as this cane make your diners feel hemmed in, although deeper, stronger colours can be useful in a room used largely at night as they offset the yellowing effects of artificial light. To stimulate appetites, use hints of orange or red — say, on a feature wall or for napkins. If you’re using wallpapers, choose a small pattern that won’t distract your diners. Textured wallpapers can be very effective under lighting and when used as a backdrop for art works.

Enjoy the Sound of Music.

Subtle background music can help to create a relaxed dining environment. Instead of plonking a CD player in the corner or on top of a cabinet, consider a music distribution system that feeds music into the dining room from your stereo system in the lounge via discreet wall-mounted speakers. For ease of control, have a keypad controller mounted in the room. With the help of a smart home systems installer you could go all the way and have a single keypad that allows you to select a CD, control the lights, turn down the heat or open the curtains.

Do a Quick Change with Slipcovers.

There are several quick and inexpensive ways you can dress up a dining room or simply freshen the look. Slip covers can give rustic wooden chairs a more elegant look and they’re a great way to add colour to a room. If you have table lamps in a corner or on a buffet for ambience, change the lamp shades. Change the artwork on the wall. You can frame posters or black and white photos quite cheaply. Change the colour of candles, tablecloths and napkins.

Extend with a New Conservatory.

If there is space outside, a small dining room can be enlarged by adding a conservatory-style glass room and walls. These days there are some clever roof blinds available for covering ceilings and skylights. With outdoor dining becoming more popular, a conservatory offers the best of both worlds: a sense of being outside yet not being at the mercy of the elements.

Article published with the permission of Universal Magazines Complete Home

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