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5 Considerations Before You Redo Your Dining Room

By Jan Soults Walker

If your dining room is outdated or not as functional as you'd like, consider changing your space to suit your needs. Start here to make this room ideal for enjoying meals and good conversation.

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Tineke Triggs

1. Dream

If you've been noodling ideas for updating the dining room, make your vision more tangible by writing down your wish list. Here are a few thoughts to get you started:

  • How many diners would you like to seat? If you long to accommodate larger groups, consider borrowing space from an adjacent room or adding on.
  • Are you experiencing bottlenecks as guests move into the dining room from the kitchen or other adjacent spaces? Could you improve traffic flow by closing or opening passageways?
  • Do you prefer buffet-style or sit-down dinners? For dinner parties, you might incorporate an adjoining butler's pantry as a staging area and handy bar/beverage service area.
  • Can you improve the plate-clearing and cleanup process? If your dining room table isn't convenient to the kitchen sink, you may need a serving cart to transport food to the table and dirty dishes to the kitchen.

2. Design

What's your style and do you want the dining room to feel casual, formal, or something in between? The furnishings, fabrics, colors, lighting, and dinnerware you select impact how the space looks and feels. Consider, too, how color influences appetites and moods. Restaurants, for instance, often include red in the decor to stimulate energy and hunger; orange creates a similar response. Blues and greens are thought to inspire tranquility and comfort, while browns invoke an air of intimacy.

Also read Does Your Paint Color Mean What You Think It Means?

3. Plot

To plan efficiently, you'll need an honest assessment of the size of your dining room. Take accurate measurements and create a to-scale floor plan noting the dimensions of the space as well as the locations of doors and windows. Draw out the plan on graph paper or use a computer program or online tools to make a floor plan. Use your plan to experiment with furniture layouts and as a visual aid to help you consider solutions for improving layout and traffic flow.

4. Illuminate

No one wants to dine in the dark, so plan to optimize lighting. You'll want ample overall/general lighting as well as fixtures that direct light onto task areas, such as serving and dining tables. Also, plan to set a mood with accent lighting that highlights artwork, architecture, or other eye-pleasing features. To complete your lighting plan, place general and task lighting on dimmers so you can lower lighting levels to create a mood or brighten the space for cleaning.

For ideas, see 8 Ways to Light Up Your Dining Room.

5. Store and serve

Take inventory of all the dinnerware, flatware, glassware, and serving pieces that you may want to keep close to the dining table and plan storage accordingly. Include open shelves and racks to display and conveniently store your favorite pieces. If you prefer to keep everything dust-free, include glass-front cabinetry in your storage plans.

If you want to serve guests buffet style, design surfaces to accommodate platters, serving bowls, flatware, and more.

Get more tips with Storage is Served! Dining Room Organization Ideas.

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