Dining rooms are the one room in the house that often gets overlooked. Situated somewhere off the kitchen, a hallway, entry, or all three, this room is commonly underused and neglected. Furniture companies want you to buy the matching table, chairs, sideboard...but I love, love, love to decorate this room with unexpected touches and a bit more creativity. Just like the kitchen, a dining room should be a place to gather. Even if you don't have a formal dining room, the table and chairs that you do dine at are what you need to focus on.
My family and I play board games, read, draw, and basically goof around at our table. It sits between a very large fireplace and a 3-panel glass door that overlooks the backyard, so it's a cozy place to be in the winter and every other season allowing nature to take part in the fun. Right now, I can see the snow falling and my dogs playing and making tracks that they'll run through again and again. The birds are eating their food from a feeder tucked away in the apple tree, and pine boughs are gently swaying under the weight of all that snow. Even if we don't always sit down for dinner, we are always at that table. Decorated with a flat-bottom basket filled with a lantern, tea lights, and a vase of greens, it's often strewn with books and papers ready to pick up when needed. Life happen at this table—breakfast, lunch, tea, supper, serious and not-so-serious talks, late night homework sessions, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Choose a table you love. Rectangle or square, round (perfect for tight spots) or oval; it should feel good to sit at. Mine happens to be a table that was made for my mother more than 40 years ago. It's seen its share of everyday living, and because it's made from a soft wood, I can still see the impression of a word or two every now and then, so it's draped with a large fabric remnant I use as a tablecloth. Those words etched into its surface are from my children and I couldn't bear for them to disappear with a sweep of a sander. And let's not forget the chairs. Don't bother matching. Swap out the two end chairs for upholstered wing chairs like I do, or swap out side seats for a bench, or better yet, a settee or sofa. Add pillows; toss a throw or two over the backs to make dining, talking, or just being as comfortable as possible. Tables don't need to be centered in the room either. Dare to move the table to the side of the room so the dining room can now become a multi-functional space.
A dining room should more than just a place to dine, it should be a room used often, and with love.
For more dining room inspiration, check out my other posts here, here, and here.