I think the most civilized design creation is the dining room. Years ago, every respectable house had one. Dining rooms are used for all sorts of family activities that have nothing to do with eating. Kids do homework at the dining room table, families have ongoing games on the dining room table, jigsaw puzzles are left in progress for days on the dining room table, and people spend leisurely Sunday morning breakfasts with the newspaper spread out upon the dining room table.
Unfortunately, when builders save space, the first room they eliminate is the dining room. Eating is relegated to a dining area, which is either an extension of the living room or a space created as part of the kitchen. However, if you’re fortunate enough to have this marvelous luxury, you’ll want to furnish it in a style that allows it to serve many functions.
When my daughter and her husband moved into their house they practically ignored the dining room. Since they have an eat-in kitchen, the dining room seemed the least important room to fill with furniture they might never use. But then one Christmas they gave a dinner party, and suddenly the dining room demanded attention.
While you might think the dining room is unimportant, once you start using it you’ll discover the joy of having any meal, be it breakfast or Thanksgiving dinner, in this room. This is where most of us use things we might have inherited from family members: a lovely lace or crocheted tablecloth, ornate silverware, cut glass goblets, napkin rings and candlesticks, even salt cellars. None of these things seems out of place in the dining room. Of all the rooms in the house, the dining room is perhaps the least likely to be redecorated. It is in this room that you can express your talents with creative table settings, artistically arranged flowers and culinary delights.
The environment in a dining room can be one of relaxed, homey informality or one of a more formal nature. When planning the dining room, think about your lifestyle. Will the room be used for everyday activities as well as meals? How will you entertain? Will you have large family holiday meals here? Do you want your dining room to accommodate large sit-down dinners as well as small intimate ones? Your decorating choices will also be dictated by the other rooms in your home, to some degree. While the dining room can be quite different in style, if it’s seen from the living room, for example, you don’t want a change that is jarring from one room to the next. They should relate in some way, perhaps by color, furniture style or fabric. The object is to create a dining room that is functional and pleasing. If you have an eat-in kitchen for casual family dining or even informal entertaining, you might want the dining room to be more formally decorated.
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