If the kitchen is the heart of your home, the dining room is undoubtedly the starting point for sociable entertaining. Whether the space available to you is large or limited, there are certain touches that can ensure that you, your family and your friends dine in elegant style. Gather the essential elements and enjoy the amazing results you will get from these useful tips.
Ace the space
Maybe you are lucky enough to live in a period home, which means that your dining room may benefit from elegant architectural features such as high ceilings, elaborate décor, exposed beams or a large, open fireplace that offers an instant, warm welcome to dinner guests. In this case, a few touches will set an elegant tone.
If you occupy more modest accommodations with smaller rooms that have larger windows and therefore more natural light, there are lots of ways to make the most of the opportunity to lend a bright and airy feel to your dining room.
Even if your apartment is tiny, it is still possible to create a special ambience for a romantic meal for two or a small, elegant dinner party.
Excellent tips for elegant results
There are five key factors you should pay attention to in any dining space if your aim is to achieve an elegant ambience: colour, furniture, lighting, space, and tableware. Here is a closer look at each element.
Colour and lighting work together, and it becomes very important that they work in harmony if you host lunches and dinners in your dining room. What works well during the day may disappear, so to speak, into the night. Paler colours work in smaller spaces, whereas a larger dining room can absorb darker hues and striking feature walls.
When hosting lunch, make the most of natural light and take advantage of window treatments that maximise daylight. For example, you could choose adjustable wooden shutters rather than curtains. You can also opt for the strategic use of shiny, reflective surfaces such as mirrors and decor finished in metal. Keep the lighting simple; consider overhead lighting sources fitted with white light bulbs at the cooler end of the colour temperature scale – 6000k to 3000k.
For evening meals, you can make strategic use of candles and mirrors, enhanced by table lamps. If space permits, you could add a chic chandelier that is either contemporary or traditional depending on your property and your chosen theme. For evening entertaining, use warmer white light bulbs in the range of 3000k to 2700k.
There are two options when it comes to furnishings: you can either match your dining room furniture to the age and style of your property or not. In effect, this means the choice is yours. Once you have decided on a theme, simply following it through in each area of your home can create your own brand of elegance.
For example, if you’re in a home built after 1960 but love the Art Deco style from before WWI, go for it. If you have a Victorian house but adore mid-century furnishings, follow your instincts. The theme is the most important thing as this determines how well you can integrate your preferred design scheme with the kind of property you are in.
When the color, lighting and furniture are settled, what really makes a difference to your dining room is how you dress the table. At this point, no matter what your previous choices have been, you have to focus on table coverings, including mats and coasters, glasses and cutlery as well as china.
When it comes to drinking glasses, go for the best quality you can afford because the first sip of champagne, wine or after-dinner drink will be a memorable moment for your guests. Fine bone china remains the preferred receptacle for tea and coffee, and an elegant tiered cake stand is ideal for afternoon tea.
You also need to consider centerpiece of your table, which is often flowers. You can go for fresh flowers or a seasonal selection of dried blooms and foliage. If you have a more sophisticated arrangement in mind, just make sure you can maintain it adequately for as long as necessary.
If space is at a premium, remember that round tables work best in smaller spaces and that oval or square tables with extendable sections can help change a small dining area into a larger one when the occasion demands.
As you can see, creating an elegant dining space does not require a degree in interior design; it is simply a matter of getting the basic elements right.