The dining room is often the heart of the home, even more so than the living or family room, because it is where the family gathers to eat, where children do their homework at night and is often a catch-all for the odds & ends that accumulate during the day (such as mail or gloves or important things to remember for the next day). The dining room is a pretty big deal is what we’re saying. So, it’s important to create a dining room that fits your & your family’s needs while maintaining the air of “family center” that you’re looking for. Creating that dining room is only a matter of knowing a few simple things about the art of dining furniture. After that, you’ll be on your way!
The most important decision you’ll make for your dining room is the dining room table. You’ll need to make sure the table fits into the space first of all. Then you’ll need to decide if you want to go formal or informal. You’ll also want to offer as many seats as you can, while still leaving enough space for people to move around the room. This is where deciding which shape your table should be comes into play. There are four shapes to choose from – square, rectangle, round, and oval. A rectangular shape is the classic dining room table look, while a square shape provides a more contemporary look. Round tables are great for small spaces (and make for cozy meals!), while oval tables are essentially rectangular tables without all the sharp edges. After you decide which shape is best for your dining room, you should make a decision on whether you want to add leaves to extend your table as needed. There are several different types these days and they definitely come in handy. We have a super guide on the types and their differences on our site.
Now that you have your table, you need to decide where you want to place it. Dining room tables tend to be centered but placing it off-center may strike a balance that makes for an intriguing visual. You could also place it against the wall for more space and simply pull it out when more people are there. Whichever you decide, make sure there’s still plenty of room to move through the dining area.
Next, it’s time to choose chairs. The most important aspect of chairs is that they be comfortable. The second most important aspect is most likely the height of said chairs. Dining room chairs these days are more widely varied than ever and come in standard height, counter height, and bar height. Standard height is obviously the traditional dining room chair height and tends to give you more variety to choose from. Counter height is just a smidge taller than standard height and gives your dining room a unique feel, plus it’s great for smaller spaces. Bar height is the tallest and is perfect for entertaining. You can also go with adjustable heights. Other things to consider when it comes to chairs is whether you want arms, whether you want them to have backs, and whether you want them stationary or swivel. It’s a lot to take in but play around with heights, fabrics & patterns till you hit that perfect melody that’s uniquely you. We have a dining room chair guide on our site that better explains the differences in chair heights that is incredibly helpful!
When you’re setting your chairs up, be sure to leave plenty of elbow room plus room for plates, silverware, etc. Two feet of space between chairs is a good standard to go by. So long as chairs aren’t so far apart that people have to talk loudly to have a conversation, you should be good!
You’re not quite done yet. Think about the floor. Your dining room floor is going to see a lot of foot traffic and will eventually have food, drink, and who knows what else spilled on it. What kind of floor do you have? If you have a floor that’s easy to wipe up spills from you may want to leave it as is, but if you have a floor that’s harder to clean or stains easily you should consider getting a durable rug to place underneath your dining room table. (Yes, the rug will get stained but it’s far better than letting your actual floor go through all that.) Plus, a fabulous rug will add visual weight and frame the dining area. Just make sure the rug is large enough so that when chairs are pulled out as people sit down, the chair legs don’t move off of it.
Focus on lighting next. Do you have an overhead light of some kind or a lamp in the corner of the room? People need to see what they’re eating (and each other!) during meals, plus lighting can make or break a mood when it comes to entertaining. Placing lighting of some kind above the table – whether it be a chandelier or pendant – creates the perfect light balance.
After all that, it’s simply a matter of decorating your space with wall pieces that reflect your family’s personality & style, maybe throwing in a sideboard for storage, and voila! You have created the perfect dining room. Congratulations, you’re going to love it!
Choosing the right table shape/size and choosing the right chair heights might seem a bit overwhelming which is why Suburban is here to help you on every step of your journey to your perfect dining area. Call us anytime at 973-927-7100 or stop by our store with any questions you might have and we’ll be happy to help out. Happy decorating!