Bringing your dining room into the 21st century

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.