Creative Design x Functional Use – How To Design A Dining Room
A modern dining room should provoke intrigue and lead to conversation among guests. Whether it’s through stunning artwork, colors, or furnishings, it’s important to craft a uniquedining room that reflects the personality and lifestyle of the homeowner, while also ensuring the space is well designed. Here’s the opinion of some interior designers about dining room design:
DETERMINE THE FUNCTION OF THE ROOM
Before designing a dining room, it’s important to understand the function that it will serve. Once you’ve answered some questions, you can start space planning and selecting the materials and pieces.
“Small round tables are optimal for conversation and flexibility in the number of guests,” adds Barbara Eberlein, president, and creative director of Eberlein Design. “Long, narrow rectangular tables maximize the number of guests along the perimeter but create a very different conversation pattern. Consider the type of environment you’d like to create.”
ESTABLISH A FOCAL POINT
“Make the table the center of attention, so that your dinner companions are the main focus,” says Tim Button, partner, and co-owner of Stedila Design. When the modern dining table is the focal point of the dining room, guests will feel more compelled to take a seat and communicate with one another. Once the dining table is situated, arrange all other furnishings and accessories so that they complement this focal point.
A one-of-a-kind dining room makes a statement and leaves a lasting impression, but it should also evoke conversation and represent the personality of the homeowner. The color palette, artwork, or accessories in a space can reveal information about the homeowner, giving guests a more personalized dining experience. “Use your hobbies or interests as a guide to creating your unique space,” says interior designer Jennifer Fisher. “Anything that brings you joy can be placed on your walls.”
“Whenever possible, make aesthetic connections and personal references,” agrees Eberlein. A bold color palette in this dining room matches the bubbly, colorful personality of its owner. “We couldn’t resist using the multicolored bubbles-within-bubbles as a freeform, and a playful light fixture to round out the room,” she adds. Finally, every dining chair has been upholstered in a different color, and guests are encouraged to select the chair that best fits their character.
EXPERIMENT WITH COLORS AND TEXTURES
Unique colors and textures completely transform a contemporarydining room, and a great place to experiment is on the walls—whether with bold paint or textured wall covering. “The juxtaposition of a traditional color palette executed in a contemporary way helps this space stand out from other dining rooms,” says Courtnay Tartt Elias, creative director and principal of Creative Tonic.
“Don’t miss an opportunity to create interesting textures and surfaces in the major horizontal planes: the floor, the table, and the ceiling,” adds Eberlein. “Because dining rooms usually have more hard surfaces and fewer fabric-covered ones, embellish these planes where one’s gaze naturally travels.”
Beautiful lighting fixtures can turn a typical dining room into an extraordinary one. Interior designer Paula Grace Halewski believes that lighting design brings this room together. “The dramatic chandeliers, with geometric glass pendants that echo the shape of the room, complete the desired feeling of the space—awe,” she says. Everything comes together in the space—the shimmering wallcovering, the large artwork, and the eye-catching chandeliers.
“Lighting is hugely important,” adds Eberlein. Avoid downlights whenever possible, especially directly over chairs, to eliminate dark shadows on guests’ faces. Hang chandeliers low—28 to 34 inches above the table. Create a glow on the perimeter wall by using wall washers to highlight the art and interesting surfaces.
INCORPORATE BELOVED ITEMS
Reuse or repurpose beloved pieces from a previous space—whether it’s a piece of art, an inherited furnishing, or antique decorative items. “Begin with personal items,” says Ellen Nystrom of Nystrom Design. “It’s important to design a space that makes the host feel at ease so that they can extend that feeling to their guests.” Don’t be afraid to decorate your dining room with your personal objects.
MIX & MATCH
Mix and match furnishings, lighting, or artwork to give your space a creative style. “Mismatched furniture just makes everything better,” says Fisher. “It’s less expected and creates interest, especially when the patterns are so different.” In this space, six neutral dining chairs are contrasted by two zebra print armchairs.
SHOP CUSTOM FURNISHINGS
Ensure that your space is unlike any other when you use custom furnishings. A one-of-a-kind dining table or unique chairs will help a dining roomstand out. The custom, live-edge wood dining table is the focal point of this space. “The floor plan of this house is very open and the dining table is truly in the heart of the home,” says Lisa Hershman of Abaca Interiors.