It’s time to do a bit of fall cleaning, change the linens on the guest room bed, and get your house in company order.
Holiday season is entertaining season, and that means your dining room will be seeing a lot more action over the course of the next few months. Let’s look at ways to create a warm and inviting dining room – or dining room area – to welcome your family and friends.
Tips for making your dining room more warm and inviting
Some of the following tips are larger projects (in which case you’ll want to take action sooner rather than later), others can be done within a matter of hours or minutes.
Open it up. Do you live in a smaller or older bay area home? Open floor plans have only become popular in the last couple of decades. Older homes are often much more compartmentalized, and this can make it harder to entertain the way you’d like. If you have a formal dining room that is rarely used, consider opening it up to the larger living space. In some cases, this may kick-start you into a full remodel, in order to transform your layout into an open floor plan. In others, you may simply decide to expand the dining room entrance so it’s larger and provides better flow for sight lines and available light. If you have a galley or small kitchen, expanding the entrance to the adjacent dining room might improve the feel of your kitchen design as well.
Get rid of the clutter. If you don’t use your formal dining room all that often, there’s a good chance that the area has become cluttered with art projects, scrapbooking materials, this year’s pertinent financial and tax documents, upcoming holiday gifts, and so on. If there’s one thing that doesn’t make a guest feel warm and welcome it’s a big pile of clutter. Get the whole household on board and start tackling the clutter ASAP so your dining room will be ready to welcome guests with feelings of calm, comforting joy. Feeling stuck in your de-cluttering process? Read, my Guide to What Stays and What Goes.
Re-think your area rug. If you have hard surface flooring, consider adding an area rug that warms up the space a bit more. Look for a rug that will enhance the room’s textural appeal – perhaps a little shaggier or a natural, woven rug would balance things better. Or, look at the colors present in your current design and choose a rug that reflects and echoes the warmer hues.
Re-paint with a darker shade. Yes! That darker brown you’ve coveted, that rich just-right scarlet you’ve always wondered about, that delightfully autumnal apricot that makes an appearance in the art hung over the sideboard – now is the time to embrace those hues and paint your dining room walls. The dining room is one space where a cozier, closer atmosphere is welcome – so you don’t have to worry so much about creating that “open and spacious” feeling we prefer in kitchens or living rooms.
Be thoughtful about accommodations. I’m a big fan of designing a home for multiple generations. This benefits all age groups, and all levels of physical ability. There’s nothing that makes a wheelchair- or walker-bound guest feel less warm and welcome than not being able to maneuver to their seat, or feeling bumpy and clunky as they move through the space. Think about your dining room from the perspective of guests that span a range of ages, sizes, shapes and abilities – and see where changes might be in order.