Get tips on how you can create a great space to feed your family and friends. It's easier than you think!
One of the most neglected rooms in the home is often the dining room. Many people assume that a table and a couple of chairs is all that's needed to create the perfect room, but the right furniture, the right finishes and the right acoustics can turn a room where you simply go to eat into an area where family and friends gather to spend quality time together.
One of the first things that should be considered is storage space. Entertaining is hard work and having to run off to the kitchen every five minutes to collect some forgotten item can be a pain. Having just about everything on hand doesn't only save time, it allows the hostess to spend more time with guests. A sideboard, server or Welsh dresser that is both functional and attractive is a good option.
The size and shape of the table is another aspect that needs careful consideration. Round and square tables are generally more suitable for entertaining because they encourage conversation. That said, the type of table you chose will largely depend on the size and shape of your dining room. Extendable tables are worth their weight in gold - they prevent a table looking empty when catering for intimate dinner parties and will obviously allow for more space when entertaining larger groups.
Talking of entertaining, it's important to encourage conversation between guests and nothing is more irritating than having to peer through a large centrepiece in order to make eye contact with the person sitting opposite. Vases or floral arrangements should be kept low with single stem arrangements as opposed to full-on floral masterpieces.
Experts suggest that you should change your crockery on a fairly regular basis. However, this can be expensive so it may be an idea to mix and match pieces in order to create a new look. Flea markets and the like are often the ideal place to find interesting crockery and glasses. While it's great if you can find a complete set of a particular design, don't stress if none of it matches, it adds to the overall interest of the table layout. The same goes for tablecloths and runners - have a couple of different colours, designs and textures on hand to add a different feel to the dining experience.
Good lighting is key. Avoid bright overhead lighting unless this comes in the form of a chandelier (chandeliers always look good in a dining room). Fit dimmer switches to create the right atmosphere. Mirrors work well in this type of room, mainly because they add sparkle by reflecting the silver and glassware.
Dining rooms that don't have the right acoustics often cause problems. Trying to converse in a room which echoes will put a damper on the evening. It may help to add soft furnishings, in the form of batiks or drapes, in order to lessen the reverberation.