Photography, Valerie Wilcox Drapery in the dining room serves multiple functions: it muffles sound; marks the room as a slightly more formal area within an open space; and, when drawn, gives a sense of being safely tucked indoors Porcelain COUNTERtop and BACKSPLASH, Ciot, ciot.com.
on chilly winter nights.
DRAPERY, Tonic Living, tonicliving.ca.
Photography, Valerie Wilcox
Drapery in the dining room serves multiple functions: it muffles sound; marks the room as a slightly more formal area within an open space; and, when drawn, gives a sense of being safely tucked indoors
Porcelain COUNTERtop and BACKSPLASH, Ciot, ciot.com.
With the holidays approaching and a long winter on the horizon, now is the perfect time to cozy up your dining room for get-togethers with family and friends. But no need for a major reno. My no-fuss fixes are little touches that won’t add stress to the upcoming busy season.
The quickest way to add softness, texture and warming colour to your dining room is to roll out a rug. A rug defines open-concept spaces and dampens the echo in a large dining room. (Be sure it extends 24 inches beyond your table, so diners can move their chairs without the legs catching on the edge of the rug.) Next, for me, drapery panels provide the biggest dose of hygge. Velvet or lined linen draperies are like blankets for your windows. In this dining room from HGTV Canada’s Save My Reno, softly patterned ikat linen drapery warms the white walls in the dining area, softens the kitchen’s hard surfaces, and speaks to the veining in the porcelain. The lavender, camel and ivory drapes don’t match the blue Roman shade. That was intentional, as the analogous colours create a harmonious vibe while the two treatments differentiate the spaces. As a final touch, I suggest adding a slubby linen tablecloth or runner. It’s a small detail but will majorly warm an austere table, as well as dull the clanging of dishes and stemware on glass or stone tabletops.
A layered lighting plan (meaning light sources at various heights) is
the best way to bring a warm glow to your dinner parties. Put your
overhead fixture on a dimmer – fine restaurants always dim the lights because food and people look best under soft, low lighting. Next,
consider adding sconces to the dining room or even a table lamp on your server. A candelabra or a collection of pillar candles in cylinder glasses, safely placed on a secondary table or bar cart, will not only
provide beautiful light but also warm the room. Just avoid scented
candles: fragrance is subjective and will affect the taste of the food.
On the dining table, however, candlesticks or smaller votives are key
to creating a relaxed vibe and über-flattering glow.
Photography, Valerie Wilcox
In large rooms, a complete set of upholstered chairs is welcoming. If you’re short on space, reduce that to two upholstered chairs at the ends of the table. In the home pictured here, two occasional chairs (not shown) are brought in from the nearby living area to serve as head-of-table chairs when guests outnumber dining chairs. I love chairs that do double duty in living and dining rooms – no need for folding chairs for extra seating ever again. Alternatively, some spaces cry out for bench seating. I find that a built-in banquette is the comfiest way to dine. Plus, you can usually squeeze in (at least!) one more guest on a bench. There are so many ready-made upholstered benches now, it’s easy to mimic the snug and sumptuous feeling of your favourite café in a snap!
- Cushy pillows make wooden benches and chairs extra comfy, and add pattern and colour.
- Don’t be afraid to mix dish patterns. Use varying shades of one colour to tie your table setting together.
- Keep flowers simple, especially if you are crunched for time. Try sprigs of greenery, berries or all one type of flower.
- Hang a mirror to reflect light and visually expand a small dining room.
- Choose low floral arrangements for formal dinner parties. For buffet-style dinners, a large pitcher full of flowers on a sideboard makes a statement.
Houzuki pendant, from $1,565;
Tabago natural rope pendant, $1,285; Elte, elte.com.
Otto sidechair with brushed brass frame, $575, Elte Mkt, eltemkt.com.
True Peony stemless wineglass, $11, CB2, cb2.ca.
Samantha Pynn Home cotton napkins, $13, set of 6, HomeSense, homesense.ca.
Nixxa Dining table, $2,099,