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Dining Room Trends: Creating an Intimate Setting

Redecorating any room can be a daunting task, and the dining room is no exception. This is the special area of the home where memories are made as many people look to update their furniture and décor.

With a few simple tips from the designers at Arhaus Furniture, you can incorporate the latest trends, while at the same time creating a timeless look that will last for years.

“Many celebrations take place at the dinner table,” says Gary Babcock, vice president of merchandising and product development for the home furnishings retailer. To set a mood, a number of factors must be considered, such as size of your table, style of chairs, texture and finishes and accessories.”

Shapes and Sizes: Dining Tables

Dining tables are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Take your room and how many guests you typically serve into consideration when picking the table that is perfect for you.

Common sizes include:

Round

* Two people: 36-inch diameter
* Four people: 40-inch diameter
* Eight people: 56-inch diameter

Square

* Four people: 38-inch square
* Eight people: 60-inch square

Rectangle/Oval

* Six people: 36 x 60 inches
* Six to eight people: 36 x 72 inches or 36 x 84
* Eight to 10 people: 48 x 96 inches
* 12 people: 48 x 132 inches

“Small oval or round tables are popular for more intimate settings,” says Babcock. “They allow for easy conversation among friends and family.”

No need to worry if you entertain both large and small groups. Versatile tables with hidden leaves keep with the more intimate trend for everyday use or small dinner parties, but allow for several guests during larger celebrations or holidays. Arhaus offers its Walnut Refectory table, which seats six to eight, but when extended sits up to 10 guests.

Have a Seat

When selecting dining chairs to coordinate with your table, there are several factors to consider. “Think about the everyday wear and tear,” offers Babcock. “Will seats need to withstand art projects and little handprints or will they be reserved for more formal occasions?” If you answered yes to either question, Babcock recommends upholstered chairs - specifically leather - because of its natural beauty and durability.

Gone are the days of matching “sets” of furniture, and according to Babcock, that means chairs too. “Your room should look like you’ve been collecting pieces over time,” he says. When using different chairs around a dining table, he recommends keeping a common theme. For example, different shapes require the same or coordinating fabric theme.

For same seating and a more glamorous look, Babcock suggests a retro-modern style. The perfect example from Arhaus is appropriately called Grace - with a classic empire silhouette and softly padded seat.

Trends: Materials and Finishes

After several years of dark woodwork, this season marks the beginning of a lighter era. Natural, rustic finishes are the rage, such as honey tones like natural or light oak. The use of white paint and even driftwood-toned stain is replacing many of the deep, dark shades.

In keeping with the “green” theme, eco-friendly woods are also top-of-mind. Mango wood, for example, is becoming the smart choice for the environmentally conscious when shopping for dining tables and other occasional furniture. It is harvested from mature trees that no longer bear edible fruit. “In order for new trees to be planted, older trees must be razored,” says Babcock.

Another “green” option is 100 percent recycled materials used in tabletops. Extremely durable is copper and when hand-hammered, says Babcock, “it creates a finish that only looks better with time.”

Setting the Mood

Colour, lighting and accessories all finish off a room and give it personality.

On the walls, designers are staying away from the faux finishes and murals. “It’s been awhile, but wallpaper is on the comeback,” says Babcock, “but not in flowery or busy motifs.” Solids and subtle variations in tone for patterns are best on walls according to the designer. “Red is always inviting,” offers Babcock.

Adding to the warmth a room-wrapping rug large enough to fit under the table and chairs, even when guests pull chairs out from underneath. Again, avoid what designers call “matchy matchy” and go with bold, fun colours. Babcock suggests “colors you might not be comfortable with on the wall.” A vibrant rug will set off furniture, not overpower it.

In keeping with earth-friendly inspirations, Babcock suggests an “au natural” centrepiece. “Forget the standard bouquet of flowers,” he says, “for fall and winter months, use fallen leaves, fresh boxwood or even more appropriate - fragrant evergreens.” Arhaus Furniture www.arhaus.com

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