The formal dining room was another lifelong dream. I didn’t really care if it was the only eating space I ended up with or not. I simply wanted a place to eat that was separate from the kitchen; ’cause who wants to eat next to the dirty dishes?
What is it about the dining room that garners so much attention? It’s the one space that most people don’t use any more, so they remodel them into offices and craft rooms. Which, you know, is brilliant if you don’t actually use the space. I’d do it too. But I think all of us have something in us that long for a dining room that’s actually used. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one that drools over beautiful tablescapes: those gorgeously decorated tables that scream sophistication (can sophistication scream? If it didn’t, it does now).
So when we were looking for a home, this room was a must have for me; a place where I can finally entertain without having to see the pots on the stove and the counter I didn’t get a chance to wipe down before the guests arrived. And man, do I love using this room.
Tablescapes seem scary, but the reality is that they’re quite simple. It’s all about proportion. Don’t just toss a bunch of stuff on the table and hope that it all comes together. Sometimes that happens, but more often than not it just looks cluttered. Think about height and width; pair tall items with short, long things, and NEVER underestimate the power of light. Candles and lamps are some of the best things you can put out.
Flowers are a pretty obvious candidate for decorating, but they aren’t always necessary. I love putting flowers out, but usually end up having to put them aside, because they block the view. Keep them for the coffee table. This time of year, pile on the gourds and pumpkins. As you can see, I’m still adding to my collection.
And don’t forget the walls. Create something warm and welcoming, while still maintaining a sense of adventure. You want dinner to be exciting. We found this lovely painting at Target, and I feel like it’s the perfect thing for us. It combines my love of chic things with our mutual love of everything European, and is a perfect transition piece from the chic living room to our family room that has paintings of European scenery.
Another fun thing I started in this house is my collection of trivets. I’ve always loved trivets, and I’ve always wanted a collection. The day I connected the two was so much fun. I decided that I wanted to display the fun trivets I’d found, and what’s more practical than hanging them next to the table where you’ll end up using them? I know I’m not the only one who’s thought of this: Martha Stewart Living just recently put it out in their magazine. I got pretty excited when I saw that. This collection is SO MUCH FUN, and I’d recommend it to anyone. You can see my collection in the first photo above. I’ll no doubt post occasional updates as I find more of these.
Do you have a dining room? What kinds of things do you put out on your table? I’d love to hear from you, whether it’s questions or comments. And while we’re on that note, I wanted to let you know that I finally enabled the subscribe by email option; you’ll see it on the top right. If you would like to get updates by email whenever I make a new post, just sign up there!
I hope this post has encouraged you to use that empty dining room. Ultimately it’s meant to have people in it, even if the table setting isn’t perfect. So go invite some people! And let me know how it goes.