The dining room. This is a space where you eat, you entertain, and in family homes, can be a great place to spend quality time together particularly after a meal. The dining table is undoubtedly the biggest feature of this room. It’s what gives it the primary purpose and use it has. So the table is the main focus of this room.
There are two main scenarios for this space. 1. That the table is the centrepiece and this is what needs the most styling. 2. That the room has many interesting features and so the idea of styling the actual table is to keep it clean and simple so that the focus is allowed to be elsewhere in the room.
For scenario number one, it’s important to decide what your preference is. What do I mean by that? Well… do you like formally setting the table or do you like it to be more of a placement of objects?
When I talked about styling kitchens, I mentioned that it is a bit of a no-no in the styling world to formally set the table. It is seen as unrealistic, and in a lot of cases you want the home being photographed to be believable and welcoming. I do stand by this rule, but in my opinion, you can be a bit more lenient with it in a dining room. For one thing, a dining room is a more formal eating area than a table in a kitchen, and so I do think setting the table becomes acceptable. Again, my preference is to keep a middle-ground. In my bedroom post, I said I didn’t like a bed to be too perfect nor too messy. I am the same with a table setting. I want more than a pile of plates, but I don’t want tableware for a five course dinner laid out in your average family home.
For scenario number two, imagine a space that has dramatic wall coverings, a statement lighting feature and some really unique and decorative dining furniture. Now picture adding lots of ‘stuff’ to the table top. It makes me wince a bit. There’s too much in the space. Keep the table clean, and focus your styling on the rest of the room. The other surfaces on the dresser and the mantle piece. The arrangement and positioning of the chairs. Whether there’s a door in the shot and is this open or closed?
When it comes to considering these aspects, again, you need to find your preference. I like to look at the furniture and see what works best. Sometimes, depending on the shape of the table, the chairs look best tucked in neatly, whereas other times, it look great to have all the chairs neatly around the table except one, that is slightly angled, inviting the viewer into the home they are looking at.
I think the dining room is one of the hardest rooms to come up with a set formula in. They all differ so much, it’s often a case of seeing what you’ve got to work with and making up the rules as you go along.
As always, there are a selection of images below showing different decorative tastes and ways to style. It’s only a fragment of what you can do in this space, but it gives you an idea of what works and what doesn’t.
One thought on “styling room by room: dining room”
What great work you are doing, you are really blessed.