Dining Rooms for Every Occasion (part two)
"The most flattering light is of course candlelight"
By Amanda Hanley
Layers of Light
Choosing the right combination and style of lighting can transform a room and have a profound effect on atmosphere. In order to create a dining area that you will want to use every day, as well as for special occasions, a little planning and imagination will go a long way.
Successful lighting is all about using layers of light – some for functional tasks and others to create mood and atmosphere. Indirect lighting is often more effective than direct lighting, so focus on wall, table and even floor lighting. You can then complete the effect with a dramatic pendant or glittering crystal chandelier as the centrepiece low over the dining table.
You should aim to create warm, soft pools of light and give depth to your dining room. For a gentle ambience, use low voltage lighting that will subtly wash walls and ceilings in light. Each light should ideally be fitted with dimmer switches to allow you to vary brightness.
The most flattering light is of course candlelight, so ensure you have plenty of candles on the table to enhance the beauty of the room and its guests!
It’s all in the detail
Good lighting goes a long way to create the right atmosphere in your dining room, however you mustn’t forget about the detail to really achieve your ideal space.
You can afford to be brave and make a statement with the décor in this room, particularly if you want to create a wow factor when entertaining guests. Deeper tones and textures combined with a neutral palette will complement the rest of your home whilst creating a warm, inviting space.
Red is the obvious choice when it comes to eating rooms, as it is bold, energising and stimulates the appetite. Along with yellow and orange these are ideal colours for social situations, however blue is also good for encouraging communication.
You might consider a feature wall to introduce colour in a smaller space or simply introduce luxurious fabrics in upholstered dining chairs and soft furnishings, such as curtains, blinds and cushions.
A set of dining chairs is often the main fabric consideration in a dining room, so make a feature of it. Re-upholstered antique chairs can be surprisingly good value and give you the flexibility to match them with your colour scheme.
Rich textures such as hardwearing herringbone tweed or wool plaids (I love Moon and Isle Mill fabrics for both) or Designers Guild sumptuous velvets and vibrant colours make a bold statement. GP&J Baker, Mulberry and Manuel Canovas are masters at giving traditional patterns a contemporary spin with eye-catching hues and on-trend detail.
Mirrors are essential as they maximise light and create the illusion of space. Make sure yours is large and positioned over the table area.
Dress to impress
You can make a massive impact on special occasions by dressing your table beautifully. Collect different sets of tableware, glasses, linens, runners and cutlery so you can create different styles and moods.
The main problem with dining rooms is not so much how to dress them up for entertaining, but how to avoid the space looking dull the rest of the time! Colourful fresh flowers on your dining table at all times will attract people to the room and give it a focal point at all times of the day.
Storage is vital in a dining room to keep it elegant and clutter-free. The sideboard lends itself to all sizes of room and a combination of cupboards and drawers will give flexibility. To guarantee control over all aspects of design, style, size and materials, it can pay to invest in bespoke. Made-to-measure furniture maximises every inch of space, regardless of beams, sloping ceilings or awkward spaces, and storage can be designed depending on exactly what needs to be stowed away.
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