The Dish on Dining Room Decorating

by Jon Nunan

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Interior Design

Dining room decorating is one household task where it's okay to get a little formal. The dining room is, after all, meant for more elegant entertaining than a living room or den. It should show off the best your home has to offer, but still remain comfortable enough for company to feel at home. The best dining room decorating is definitely about appearances, but it's also about eating. Keeping a balance of these two functions will ensure great everyday meals and include enough flash for any special occasion.

Dining Room Design
Well-planned dining room design is essential for the room to be its best. What you can do will depend heavily on the amount of space you start with.

In a larger dining room, you have a lot more leeway as to where everything should go and what items should be included. Here, you've got the space for a buffet (when entertaining, probably the most convenient piece of furniture you can put in a dining room, other than a table and chairs). There's also room for a china cabinet, which will both look nice and be convenient for service as well as storage.

Dining room design is difficult for a small room, so you'll have to get creative. You may not be able to fit a china cabinet or buffet without the room becoming too crowded to easily pass through. In this situation, it's a good idea to keep some extra tables and chairs in storage to use when company is expected (card tables can look pretty good when covered with a classy table cloth). Don't be afraid to pull some things out of the room before entertaining; the fine line between cozy and cramped can often be skirted by the removal of a few unnecessary items.

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The Furniture you Choose
The furniture in a dining room can make or break a special occasion. If you're looking to purchase new furniture, it is often better to opt for comfort rather than appearances. Take the time to go out and sit in or at any tables and chairs you are planning to buy. It's very tempting to just order things by sight online, but since it will be a large investment, you should make sure that what you buy doesn't get uncomfortable after a few minutes.

Look for items that will work well for your family plus a few others. In small and large dining rooms alike, a table with a removable leaf is a blessing. That additional few feet sure comes in handy when guests arrive; and make sure to remember the extra chairs!

Dining Room Decorating on a Budget
Trying to redo a room can quickly lead to bankruptcy if you're not careful. Dining room decorating is a particularly sticky situation when you're trying to watch what you spend because so many of the things are meant to be formal (which gets pricey real fast). The best way to figure out what to spend money on is to take a little time and make a list of the things you'd do with the space if your funds were unlimited. After it's all on paper, it is much easier to decide what is most important, and what can be done without.

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.