If you can answer these six questions, you can get your dining room and any other room in your home for that matter, decorated to your highest standards!
But, if you can tell yourself you need to find the answers to about half a dozen questions, and then you’ll be done, it might not seem as daunting.
We’ll talk them through in this dining room. The first several questions are concerning the backgrounds of the room. For instance, what color does this dining room want to be? Well, start with the lovely, and probably expensive, dining furniture; in this room it is a Mission style in oak. So, we’ll start with a paint color that will look great with the oak of the Mission style furniture; something warm that will really set off the warmth of the wood.
Warm colors are always nice in a dining room because they warm people up and really encourage conversation. So question one is on the way to being answered, “What color will the walls be?” The answer is something warm.
Question two is also about the backgrounds and we can see from the photo above that the floor is covered in a basic beige cut pile carpeting. The answer to question two “What will be on the floor?” is “carpeting”! Two questions down and only a few to go!
The windows are question number three. Well, in this dining room, there were only white tab top sheers on the windows when we arrived. They seemed a bit casual and too lightweight for the weight of the wood furniture. So, I wanted to create something easy like a valance that would just add to the sheers to cover the tabs and bring some color and pattern in that would dress them up.
My first step was to select a fabric that picked up the paint color that we chose. I was also keeping pattern in mind for this dining room. I had to consider that Mission style furniture is very geometric, in other words it has straight lines, sharp corners and uses both squares and rectangles in its wood patterns. The fabric I chose was also geometrical but with some softness in the circular shapes. Brown, gold and orange are also colors associated with Mission furniture that fits in with the Arts & Crafts design movement. So, make sure that both the color of the fabric you choose and the pattern make sense with the rest of the room.
Then, it was time to get it made. I decided to create a no-sew valance, and I made it out of 5 easy pieces. There is the front, two side flaps and two inside flaps to hide where the front and sides come together. I used an iron and fabric glue to hold everything together, but my favorite part of it all is the self adhesive trim.
This stuff is fabulous. It comes in braided trim, rick rack, beaded fringe like this one and you just pull off the paper backing and stick the trim in place. No sewing, no gluing, it can’t be beat! And of course all the fine details for making this no-sew valance are here in the around the house section of our website if you want to make one for yourself!
OK, on to question four, which has to do with lighting. Of course any dining room needs some sort of lighting. Think about this carefully because you want to have just the right lighting for the type of dining you are having. Do you want mood lighting? You might want to make sure your chandelier is on a dimmer switch. Would you like to have the backgrounds be gently lit? Then you might consider recessed ceiling fixtures or even lighting just your art. Of course keep candles close at hand for those romantic evening s at home!
OK, the stage is set, now let’s talk about the main furniture pieces. The average dining room has some sort of storage piece in it and usually it is a china cabinet. When we arrived, the one in this room was filled with dishes, but they were stacked in what looked like just another cupboard in the kitchen!
You’ve heard me say it a hundred times – “Dress up that china cabinet!” I’ve written an article specifically about how to do this and you can check it out for some ideas. So question number five was “What should I do with my china cabinet?” And the answer is to “Make it look like a department store display.”
Along with dressing up your china cabinet, you’ll want to add something to your dining table. And, I guess accessories fall into this category so question six is simply, “What accessories should I use and where do I need them?” Well, the dining table needs something, you can’t just leave it bare in the middle of the room, it is too large a surface. Here of course the options are limited only by your imagination. There were a few pieces to select from when we arrived and I liked the rich color in the faux orchids. They could be used by themselves, with the ceramic bowl of spice toned gourds, or we opted for the candles that I showed you above.
With the china cabinet and dining table accessorized, you only need to think about any other flat surfaces in the room like a buffet cabinet or serving cart. Then you should focus your attention to the walls….another flat surface!
The art that was in the room when we arrived had two problems. One, it wasn’t warm enough for the pretty wood furniture that was in the room and two, it was hung too high.
So keep in mind when you are selecting artwork for a room that the colors and overall spirit of the pieces make sense with what you’ve already developed in the room itself.
Then, make sure when it comes time to add it to the wall that you remember how to hang art. Consider when and how the art will be viewed. In a dining room, more often than not, the artwork is viewed from a seated position. Because of this, art in a dining room should be hung lower than usual.
So, we’ve answered the 6 basic questions to getting a room decorated and I think the results speak for themselves. Try this technique if other ways to decorate have been difficult for you. Sooner or later we will stumble upon something that clicks with you and your decorating fears will be washed away!!