Although a formal dining room isn’t for every family, often eliminated to expand other rooms of the home, many homeowners opt to preserve this area. The dining room can serve as an extension to your home’s entertaining space, inviting people to linger at the dinner table to enjoy good food and company without the distractions of the (sometimes) chaotic kitchen. It can be especially useful for someone who is the extended family’s main host or on holidays. If a formal dining room is a staple in your home, here are some tips to create a formal, yet functional space.
The dining room should be easily accessible from the kitchen and other gathering areas. This makes serving less complicated and accommodates the flow between entertaining spaces. You can create a defined, yet open dining room with a pass-through, arched opening, large French doors, and beyond. It’s also a good idea to consider the dining room’s proximity to a powder room.
It’s important to include multiple layers of light in the dining room. A chandelier over the table serves as a focal point and can set the tone for the room. Is it traditional? Does it have a more modern vibe? Beyond the decorative chandelier or sconces, incorporate recessed lights to provide ambient lighting for the room. In- and under-cabinet lighting in a built-in buffet or wet bar offers task lighting and highlights servingware. Homeowners may want to put their fixtures on dimmers to create a softer glow for entertaining. Natural light should also be considered.
You’ll need a spot to stash dining essentials. Think about how you entertain and what pieces you often use to narrow down your storage options. A wet bar with custom cabinetry is ideal for storing glasses and barware. Beyond its storage capacity, it’s also a great spot to mix drinks, and it can serve as extra counter space. A buffet or built-in cabinetry can house dishes and linens. A window seat with drawers is another opportunity to insert extra storage into the dining room.
Scale the dining room appropriately. To make sure the space isn’t oversized or too small, ask yourself these questions. How many people do I need to comfortably seat? What furniture goes into the space? There should be enough room that guests don’t have to vacate their seats to let someone pass by, but it’s important to remember that too much space can become cavernous.