INTERIOR DESIGN | Bringing Your Dining Room into the 21st Century

Bringing your dining room into the 21st century


Dining rooms are wonderful spaces for enjoying time together with family and friends in a convivial atmosphere. Sometimes they are unloved, neglected and ultimately unused, which is such a waste when there are simple ways of bringing tired and dated dining rooms into the 21st century.

To achieve a successful dining room refurbishment it’s important to know how it will be used. Is it for strictly formal entertaining? Will it be a relaxed family dining area? Does it need to be flexible enough to cover both of these areas? Once these issues have been decided, ambiance and style questions need addressing. Whether it’s intimate soirées, grand banquets, mass family gatherings for Thanksgiving or for TV dinners on weeknights, whatever the room is needed for impacts directly on how it should look.

Here’s a rundown of some of the hottest interior trends guaranteed to make any dining room glide glamorously and effortlessly into the 21st century.

Lift with lighting


Ambiance is so important in a dining room, and getting just the right balance can be hard to achieve. Using a combination of clever lighting and a well-chosen color scheme helps enormously. For bright and airy spaces choose pale zingy pastels; for more formal areas deeper hues work better. A suspended feature light over the dining table adds drama. This could be an opulent Venetian crystal chandelier, sleek pendant light or textured modern shade – it needs to look fantastic as well as illuminating food and the faces of diners. A dimmer switch is a good idea so that lighting can be adjusted to suit the occasion. Those lucky enough to have natural light in the dining room should consider sleek plantation shutters as a window treatment for a clean and modern finish that looks super stylish.

Table talk

custom dining room furniture, custom dining table, natural wood and metal dining table, unique dining rooms, unique dining room tables, shaped dining room tables


The shape of a table is dictated by the scale and shape of a room. Round tables encourage a more intimate atmosphere among diners; casual trestle tables are good for family dining, whereas grand square tables are ideal formal solutions. The current trend is to mix and match table and chair styles so that the overall look is not too uniform. Mid-century modern chairs juxtaposed against a gnarled antique trestle or a contemporary glass topped table teamed with vintage bentwood dining chairs look stunning. Choose chairs that are in proportion and deliver on comfort – dinner guests will not linger if they are uncomfortable. Dining room benches are conventionally considered the more relaxed option, and there are some beautiful banquettes and upholstered benches available that are re-writing the rulebook on chic dining seating.

Break the rules

custom dining room furniture, custom dining table, natural wood and metal dining table, unique dining rooms, unique dining room tables, shaped dining room tables


It is important to know the difference between matching and coordinating furnishings in a modern dining room interior. Current design mores call for a relaxed approach to schemes; they don’t insist upon matching fabrics, colors and styles within the same room. Experiment with furnishings from different eras, a variety of textural surfaces, wallpapers and paint finishes in the same room and include a blend of art and accessories that reflect a broader sense of the home’s occupants.

eclectic dining room transitional dining room, unique dining rooms, yellow dining chairs, copper dining room lights, unique dining room lights, bookcases in dining room


A 21st century dining room is all about embracing our love affair with sociable eating, cutting edge furnishings and old favorite pieces as well – blend them all together for a perfect recipe for modern dining.

By | October 21st, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN: Fabulous Kitchen backsplashes

How you design your kitchen backsplash can make or break the room.  It’s a critical element of kitchen design.


Source: unknown

1.  The focal point in the kitchen is often the stove and hood and the backsplash centered between them. It doesn’t get much better than this gorgeous slab of Calacatta Oro marble.

Source: unknown

Source: unknown

2.  This geometric glass , metal and stone abstract backsplash is definitely a scene stealer.  If you can’t find this mosaic (unfortunately I don’t know whose it is) you can mix and match and create your own.

Source: via

Source: via

3.  These bronze tiles (real metal coating on them ) are from Crossville Ceramics and make a very elegant understated backsplash that could work in rooms other than kitchens as well.

Source: via

Source: via

4. Large subway style tiles are available from Fireclay Tile and are offered in many beautiful and bright colors.

Source: via

Source: via

5.  I designed this hand carved limestone medallion and hood surround for a client a few years ago and it’s stunning!  The more yellow colored background is Jeresulem Gold limestone, which sets it off beautifully and compliments the granite countertop. Hand carved limestone is expensive but well worth it when done by a true artist and craftsman like Oleg Lobykin!


Source: unknown

Source: unknown

6.  Sometimes the kitchen needs a strong pattern to pick it up and this is a good example.  Using a light and dark color combination with a nice geometric shape is just right to finish the look and make it unique to your own home.


Source: unknown.

Source: unknown.

7.  If you want an arabesque pattern, several companies make them including Fireclay Tile, who will custom color them for you as well.  The added banding finishes off the top and sides of the field tile to unify the entire kitchen.


Source: unknown.

Source: unknown.

8.  Framing and using a large medallion like this is a great way to bring attention to the large open space over the cooktop and break up these subway tiles.  I’m not sure whose medallion this is but it could be Sonoma Stone.

Let’s make those backsplashs FABULOUS!


By | August 25th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | Yellow is Like Sunshine!

If you are afraid of using color in your interior design projects, I have just the right one for you to start with – Yellow!   It is a magical color that can make any room sing when used correctly.

bellemaison23.com_-_yellow_pastel-resized-6001.  If you have a dark and dreary room in your house, painting it yellow can make a world of difference.  Soft yellow walls transform this bathroom into a little bit of sunshine to start the day. Via


2.  If you have a large room that is on the dark side you can magically change it with the use of varying intensities of yellow.  It will feel light, bright and much larger and happier. photo source unknown.


3.  Traditional homes have used yellow for centuries and they have stood the test of time. Via

yellow_in_classic_room-resized-6004.  Here is a perfect example of yellow walls in a very classically decorated room.  The pop of red chairs brings a little needed contrast but the rest of the room is quite calm.  photo source unknown.

yellow_&_gray-resized-6005.  Yellow is used here to add life to a neutral gray color palette.  It’s a nice balance and keeps the gray from being too boring.  photo source unknown


6.  Here is another example of how well yellow and gray work together.  Since gray is the new neutral these days it’s good to keep yellow as a companion in your basket of tricks. photo source unknown

yellow_chairs-resized-6007.  Just the simple use of a strong yellow upholstery on these dining room chairs makes the room exciting.  It is all the room needs to be stimulating and dramatic.  photos source unknown

yellow_green_&_blue-resized-6008.  As you can see here by adding blue and green to the mix the impact of the yellow is diluted but is still a cheerful background for the room.  Via

My philosphy about the use of color is that if it is paint or accessories, it’s easy and inexpensive to change so don’t be afraid to try something new.

By | June 27th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | Understanding LED lighting

theverge.com_-2013-resized-600Did you know that as of January 1, 2014 the traditional 100, 75, 60 and 40 watt bulbs have been phased out?  They can no longer be maufactured or imported into the United States. You will have to find replacements for these everyday bulbs and LEDS have come to the rescue.  They are here to stay so you should become familiar with how to select the proper ones.  Photo Via

You may have noticed that LED lighting, which stands for Light Emitting Diode,  has been gaining a lot of ground and have shown significant improvement as well as cost reductions in the past few years. Most people realize that they have a very long life and are economical in the long run but don’t understand the differences between incandescent light sources and LED light sources.


Forget looking for WATTS on the bulb and start looking for LUMENS.   Lumens is the measurement of light brightness the bulb puts out and wattage is the amount of energy the bulb uses.  Two totally different things!  Here are guidelines for replacement of incandescent light bulbs:

100 w = 1600 lumens

75  w = 1100  lumens

60  w = 800  lumens

40  w = 450  lumens


KELVIN  is a measure of the color of the light with 2700 K being the color of our familiar incandescent bulbs (warm).  2700-3000K is the best color temperature for most home applications.  The higher the number the cooler the color – which seems backwards so it’s harder to remember.

CRI stands for Color Rendering Index which is very important in determining how pure the colors will look in the light provided.  Most residential lighting should have a CRI of 80 or above and 90 and above is preferable.  Incandescent bulbs have a CRI of 100.



DIMMABILITY is another important factor to look for.  Most LED bulbs are dimmable but they must be paired with the proper dimmer switch.  They save energy as well as create beautiful ambient lighting.  For information about specific bulbs and which Lutron dimmers they are compatable with go to









LED bulbs come in many shapes and sizes and some seems quite strange looking. 

 That’s because each manufacturer is trying to make the most efficient and cost effective bulb they can for all the various applications.  They are available in strips and bars for under cabinets and displays, recessed lighting, candelabra lighting and just about every application you can think of.

I hope this article has helped you better know how to select the right bulbs for your home.


Link to previous blogs here

Please leave comments below


Need help with your Interior Design project? click here






By | February 24th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | 3 Tips to A Streamlined Dining Room Design

My guest blogger today is Maria Jefferies with some tips on dining room design.

3 Tips to a Streamlined Dining Room Design



For many people, the need for a neat, clean and well-organized dining room is huge. If you frequently invite friends over for dinner, it is important to keep your dining room in its best condition. Here are some streamlined dining room design tips to help you create a more beautiful dining room for your family.

1. Know Your Style

Everyone has a different taste when it comes to art. If you want to impress your guests with your dining room style, make sure it is a unique style that represents your artistic taste. Some people prefer traditional designs, while others are more inclined towards simplistic or  contemporary ones.


2. Proper Arrangement

You first need to be aware of the space of your home. Whether your home has an open, curved, closed, or straight space will affect the way you arrange your furniture and appliances. For the dining room, you need to arrange the table, chairs, lamps, cupboard and other furniture in a way that they complement one another.


3. The Use of Color

The color of the walls, the furniture and also the lighting could have an impact on the overall impression of your dining room. Even after you have sketched out your dining room design, you still need to pick the right color if you want your dining room to stand out. You need to make sure the color of the furniture pieces match with one another, also it needs to be in harmony with the theme of the room. For lighting, you should use subtle light sources that will not only highlight the furniture inside the room, but also create an atmosphere at the same time.


Maria’s links are below for vinyl and oilcloth tablecloths in case you are looking for a practical covering for  your table.

Oilcloth World has a large choice of wipeable table covers. Hard wearing, easy to clean and great for indoor and outdoor use. Great for protecting your table and available in polka dots, gingham checks, funky flowers, Christmas designs and much much more. Vinyl Tablecloths are easy to use.

By | April 9th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | Spring Inspirations

Spring is a happy time of year and all the little things that signal it are popping up all around us.  Today I just want to share some of them with you to make you happy! Rain boots might be still needed but these are an adorable decoration for spring.   Via

2013-02-14_1005-resized-6002.  WOW – that sure tells the story of winter fading away to spring.  All the colorful bulbs of spring are quite easy to grow and a welcome sight once the cold weather starts to fade. source unknown

apple_blossoms-resized-6003.  The blooming of fruit trees like these apple blossoms is a beautiful signal to spring. A few branches stuck in a vase make a huge statement with basically no work.  Via  Of course tulips fit the bill too.  Very elegant when arranged in a tall vase.  Via Daffodils are also cheery reminders of spring and an inexpensive grouping makes a really beautiful statement in the house or in a large planting outdoors.  They are quite easy to grow and don’t require replanting each year like tulips do.    Via

2013-01-05_1848_001-resized-6006.  Spring is also a time for the rebirth of animals and this lamb is so adorable, who wouldn’t love it.  Can’t you just see it romping in the fields with little yellow chicks chasing all around? Source: Facebook-Dream Catchers

prosatrecosecacarecos.blogspot-watering_can-resized-6007.  So nurture your plants and yourself and watch the great results before you know it.  Via

By | April 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

KITCHEN DESIGN – 6 Examples of Designing with Multiple Islands

Lucky you – you have a large kitchen but large isn’t always better unless the space is proprely planned.  As a matter of fact, it can be very inefficient if poorly planned.


1.  This kitchen picture from Pinterest has two large separate islands.  They each have their own personality, color and countertops to isolate them from each other and the main kitchen cabinets. The large black island serves the cooking area and the butcher block island serves as an eating counter with cabinet access on the back side.  Having access into and out of the kitchen on both sides eliminates traffic jams.


2.  Here is an example of two separate islands providing plenty of work surface but also allowing easy passage from the kitchen to the dining area or out of the room without interferring with the cook.

2_islands_6-resized-6003.  This well designed kitchen actually has three islands and it works perfectly for ease of working and passing through the kichen.  I assume the refrigerator is locate on the left side wall across from the aisle between these two dark islands.  It there had been one large island instead it would have been much more difficult to use and would have blocked passage to the refrigerator and also in and out of the room.

 2_islands_2-resized-6004.  This stunning kitchen offers two islands with seating at both.  It’s a nice touch for the cook to have a stool in the working end of the kitchen while the other island seats people at the eating bar.  Guests are kept out of the way of the cook but conversation flows easily.

2_islands_5-resized-6005.  Contemporary kitchens lend themselves to multiple islands too and this one keeps the bar and eating area to the perimeter and the serious prep and clean up to the inside.  I would have liked to have seen more counter space around the cooktop, however.

2_islands 7a-resized-6006.  Here is another example of how double islands serve both areas of the kitchen without interrupting traffic flow.  The refrigerator, freezer and oven are all easily accessed and the islands across from them provides a place to put things down.

Think outside the box to get a well functioning kitchen!

By | August 20th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN – Architectural & Interior Design Definitions “S” cont. 3

interior_design_mug-resized-600Every profession has it’s own special language and Interior Design, Architecture and Construction are no different.

Each week I will be giving you definitions for words beginning with different letters of the alphabet and will continue through the alphabet until we are done with all the letters.

Here are more words beginning with “S”.

Shop Drawings


Shop drawings refer to the actual drawing which are to be used for the construction of a project.  They are used for cabinets, furniture, framing, electrical, and all the trades of construction.  They are the official plans with accurate dimensions as opposed to sketches or rough drawings that were prepared before all the information was available or selected.  They are the way the designer and the fabricator communicate – it is their language!



Soffits refer to a lowered surface in an opening, the bottom of an overhang or a framed out lowered section of a ceiling.



SAB is an abbreviation of Sound Attenuation Batts.  They look like insulation regular batts but have higher acoustic suppression properties and are noncombustible.  It is important that they fit tightly into all the crevices for them to be effective.



Spandrel generally refers to the  decorative space on the sides and top of an arch which fills in the triangular space between the arch and the rectangular molding around it.  In many classic buildings these spandrels are heavily carved.


Specs or specifications are the way of communicating to an installer or fabricator what you want to be done.  They are a list instead of a drawing of directions for the fabrication or construction of a project or object.  They are used for clarification and to cover a person if there is an error made and litigation ensues.

 Staggered Construction


When walls are built with staggered studs, they are constructed so that the two studs do not align with each other in order to alleviate sound transmission.  There is also a gap where insulation or sound batting can be woven through for further sound deadening.  These walls are slightly thicker than the standard stud wall.

By | June 16th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN – The Writing’s on the Wall

Have you secretly wanted to write on the walls ever since you were a little kid?  Here’s your chance.  There are many ways to be creative with your writing from stencils to freehand.  You can do a quotation or write an inspiration, or just do something playful.  Follow your heart and do whatever it leads you to.

words_3-resized-6001.  Big bold letters let you know this is a library – no doubt about it.  There are many sources for appliqués and they come in lots of different font styles and sizes.

words_on_wall_hanging_&_pillows-resized-6002.  Here the panels with writing are placed on both sides of the art to subtly frame it but there is no doubt that this person loves you!  It looks like these were just scanned and printed on canvas. The pillows repeat the theme which creates an interesting texture.

words_on_wall_art_&_pillows-resized-6003.  In this picture the words are mounted on a board or canvas again but the background is  black to match the chalk board wall but some other pieces are framed with white backgrounds.  Notice that there is also writing on the chalkboard referencing the art work and words on the pillows too.

words_2-resized-6004.  In a girl’s pink room there is still a place to write on the wall which animates the whole room.  As she grows the messages my change – but that is easily done.

words-resized-6005.  If you go more for the subtle effect,  this text is soft is interesting because it has different size and styles of fonts.  This could be wallpaper or you could create your own.

words_on_step-resized-6006.  A simple stenciled riser on the step says it all.  It’s more interesting than yellow tape – don’t you agree?

words_4-resized-6007.  Want another way to use the stair risers?  Here is a way to drill into the heads of the family what your values are without having to say them out loud all the time.  It subliminal but it works.

Are you inspired to write on your own walls now?

By | June 11th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN – Architectural & Interior Design Definitions “S” cont. 2

interior_design_mug-resized-600Every profession has it’s own special language and Interior Design, Architecture and construction are no different.

Each week I will be giving you definitions for words beginning with different letters of the alphabet and will continue until we are done with all the letters.

Here are some more words beginning with “S”.

serapi rugs-resized-600

Serape rugs are a very high quality handwoven Persian rug made in the Heriz district in Iran. They have a high knot count and are woven in geometric designs.


Settee is a term for a bench like seat for more than one person (as opposed to a chair for one).  The style can vary widely and is often used for a small sofa or loveseat.

A settle is an all wood bench with arms and a high back. Underneath the seat is storage. They are antiques and often found in churches.

Shantung silk fabric is identifiable by the slubs that are visible on the surface.  It is sometimes imitated in synthetic fabrics today but silk gives it the beautiful sheen and ability to hold folds as in the silver shantung photo above.

By | June 9th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments