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Sarah Frink, Brand Publishing Writer
Modern floor plans typically place the dining room near the front of a home, so it’s essential that furnishings in this important room make the right statement.
“The dining room introduces the home to whoever is walking through the door,” said Janet Graham, an interior designer for Baer’s Furniture’s Naples location. Baer’s is a family-owned group of fine furniture stores
with 15 locations throughout Florida.
Choosing the right dining room set comes down to a few practical considerations. First, the size of the room will determine the size of the table and the number of chairs.
“Dining room size is always going to determine what size table you can accommodate,” Graham said, adding that round tables usually work best in round-shaped rooms while rectangular-shaped tables work best in rectangular rooms.
Many newer-style homes also have “tray” ceilings that are inverted or recessed, so the table should “mimic the direction of the tray ceiling,” Graham said.
If you do plan on using the dining room for get-togethers with friends and extended family fairly often, it’s probably best to get a table with a leaf, Graham said. She suggests perimeter leaves for round tables, and regular
leaves for rectangular ones.
And if you know the number of people who will regularly be sitting around the table, there are a few basic guidelines to follow.
A 42 to 60-inch round table works well for four to six people, while an 84 to 96-inch oblong-style table can seat eight or more comfortably, said Lauri Ward, a Boca Raton-based home design expert. Removable leaves can save space when
not entertaining larger parties.
A sculptural center base on a table can look stately, but may not work well in a smaller space. It leaves less legroom for larger numbers of guests.
“If you have size limitations, it’s probably better to get a dining room table that has legs instead of a [center]]]] base,” Graham said. “A table with legs is always going to give you more space for your chairs compared to one with a base.”
Depending on the size of the room, you might also consider incorporating a server, Graham said. This piece not only provides an additional surface, but also provides storage for less-frequently used serving pieces and silverware, Graham said.
In terms of decor, you should attempt to create a flow from the dining room to the living room, as most open-floor plans typically connect the rooms, Graham said. You can do this by using similar colors and coordinating rugs and draperies.
“As long as you keep your color scheme and your finishes consistent, it works well,” Graham said.
There are ways to dress up or dress down the dining room, depending on the look you want to achieve. Typically, if you lean toward a style that is a bit more formal, you would want to bring in high-backed chairs, and you might
consider using wallpaper or decorative molding.
Regardless of your style, you should avoid a couple of common decorating faux pas, Graham said.
“You never want to put a fan in the dining room — that’s a big mistake,” Graham said. “It looks terrible, and it’s too casual for your formal dining room.”
Also, you should always hang a chandelier that is proportionate to the room, Graham said. A standard-sized chandelier is a minimum 32 inches in diameter and between 60 and 64 inches from the floor. Anything less
than that will appear too small for the room. And you should definitely use a dimmer switch for a lighting scheme, Graham said.
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