By Sandra P. Lambert, ASID, CID
Owner of Realm Designs Inc.
Spring has arrived! We will be spending more time outdoors. Let's give a big thanks to that one room in your house that I am sure came out of hiding during the holidays. It rose to the occasion of providing a perfect back drop for you family holiday gatherings. Or did it? The room that I am talking about is the Dining Room.
Recently, I was interviewed for an episode on a show on NBC called House Smarts. (It aired on May 11th Housesmartstv.com). The producer called me and said she was doing a show on the "Resurgence of the Dining Room". She was interested in showing her audience the effects that the current social climate (and even popular TV shows like "Mad Men") is having on how people are entertaining in style in their own home.
The show was filmed in my own home. The host asked me to weigh in on how the design of the Dining Room can be brought into the forefront in this changing social climate.
There are things not immediately noticed that can make the difference between a so-so room and one that has it all. Try to choose furnishings that are flexible. A table that expands to accommodate parties of four to fourteen is key. Mixing sturdy and comfortable chairs (arm chair and armless styles) will surely accommodate all different types of guests. Arm chairs are comfortable and make it easy to get in and out of the chair. Sideboards are not only a place to store your china and table cloths but they can serve as a place for food platters. Extra surfaces help to keep the main dining table uncluttered.
Pay close attention to the scale of the furniture in the room and the circulation space. Ample aisles allow guests to easily join the party, while the host can move around freely back and forth to the kitchen.
The right finishes in a room will help to create the atmosphere you hope to achieve. Dining Rooms can be lovely and rich if the walls are a medium to darker shade. In a room like this, it is a bonus if the surrounding makes the guest look and feel their best. Keeping the color and value contrast low in this room will help to achieve that. To achieve different perceptions of light, you should incorporate several types of lighting. An eye catching chandelier anchors the table and is like the jewelry in a room and it can enhance the mood be it formal or informal based on the material it is made of. You can also use wall sconce, console lamps and even indirect cove lighting. Dimmers on all of these sources of light let you control the mood in the room.
Every Room should have a focal point and a place of visual rest. Not every inch of the space has to be the focal point. The visual rest allow the items that are the visual interest to be appreciated that much more. The focal point in this room has to be the ceiling. The artist created a multi layer gold leafed ceiling that was treated with a "secret" process that caused it to patina in a way that gives it old world character. Because the room is so detailed and layers with texture and interest, artwork was added in an understated way. Two oil paintings scaled properly for the walls are displayed. Introducing complimentary yet different art adds interest.
Having friends and family over rather than going out to dinner means no baby sitter needed, the perfect home cooked meal and it is BYOB. Oh and don't feel guilty about setting up that kiddies' table in the kitchen. You work hard, so go and enjoy your Dining Room.
Sandra P. Lambert, ASID, CID is a certified interior designer and owner of Realm Designs Inc. Email your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org: (908) 753-3939 www.RealmDesignsInc.com