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Effortless Entertaining:
6 Steps for Making Your Dining Room Work for You

magnolia-home-farmhouse-dining-table

If your dining room has become one of the most underused (or never used) rooms in your home, perhaps it’s time for an update. Here’s how to transform your dining room into one of your favorite spaces to entertain, or even just to enjoy a casual family dinner.


EVALUATE YOUR SPACE

First, consider the layout of your dining room. Does the dining table you currently have allow for a good flow from the kitchen to the table? Is the table too large, or too small? Would a round table make better use of the space than a rectangular one? Do you need a buffet or bar to enhance your entertaining style? These are the questions to ask yourself while evaluating your space.

FOCUS ON FORM & FUNCTION

Next, think about how you want the room to function. What type of entertaining will you do there? Casual or formal dinners? Family-style buffets? Game nights with friends? You’ll want the lighting and furniture placement to reflect the vision you have for the room and to fit any functional needs.

CREATE A STYLE FILE

Start collecting inspiration photos that catch your interest and reflect your style. Create a portfolio —online, wth a site like Pinterest, or offline, using magazine clippings— that you can take with you when you shop for furnishings and accessories. A project file will help keep you organized and excited about transforming your space.

START FROM THE GROUND UP

In addition to trying to create a functional space, you want to design one that’s welcoming to your guests. If you’re using an area rug in your dining room, make sure it’s large enough that chairs can be moved back and forth without getting caught on the edge. Choose dining chairs that are supportive and comfortable. Allow for enough room between chairs so that your friends and family don’t feel cramped.

THINK BIG

Sometimes a small change can make a big impact. Consider painting the ceiling, installing a new chandelier, exploring new dining sets or adding a dramatic area rug. For a quicker change, accents such as tableware and linens can add a dash of color and character.

MAKE IT FUN

Mix things up by integrating different furniture styles and elements. If you have a traditional dining space, consider adding a few modern elements. Try accenting an heirloom dining set with a contemporary wall color or bold artwork. Or, ground a more modern space with an understated rug or light fixture. Even serving pieces and tableware can be mixed and matched to add a creative juxtaposition of style.


EVALUATE YOUR SPACE

First, consider the layout of your dining room. Does the dining table you currently have allow for a good flow from the kitchen to the table? Is the table too large, or too small? Would a round table make better use of the space than a rectangular one? Do you need a buffet or bar to enhance your entertaining style? These are the questions to ask yourself while evaluating your space.

FOCUS ON FORM & FUNCTION

Next, think about how you want the room to function. What type of entertaining will you do there? Casual or formal dinners? Family-style buffets? Game nights with friends? You’ll want the lighting and furniture placement to reflect the vision you have for the room and to fit any functional needs.

CREATE A STYLE FILE

Start collecting inspiration photos that catch your interest and reflect your style. Create a portfolio —online, wth a site like Pinterest, or offline, using magazine clippings— that you can take with you when you shop for furnishings and accessories. A project file will help keep you organized and excited about transforming your space.

START FROM THE GROUND UP

In addition to trying to create a functional space, you want to design one that’s welcoming to your guests. If you’re using an area rug in your dining room, make sure it’s large enough that chairs can be moved back and forth without getting caught on the edge. Choose dining chairs that are supportive and comfortable. Allow for enough room between chairs so that your friends and family don’t feel cramped.

THINK BIG

Sometimes a small change can make a big impact. Consider painting the ceiling, installing a new chandelier, exploring new dining sets or adding a dramatic area rug. For a quicker change, accents such as tableware and linens can add a dash of color and character.

MAKE IT FUN

Mix things up by integrating different furniture styles and elements. If you have a traditional dining space, consider adding a few modern elements. Try accenting an heirloom dining set with a contemporary wall color or bold artwork. Or, ground a more modern space with an understated rug or light fixture. Even serving pieces and tableware can be mixed and matched to add a creative juxtaposition of style.


Your dining room doesn't need to be formal if you don't host formal parties, nor does it have to be. It doesn't have to be casual if you want a formal dining room. Your dining room should be designed for your needs, and wants and style! There are no rules when it comes to decorating your home, so do what feels right and all will fall into place.