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Create a dining room design that your family will want to use every day

March 20, 2014

Hand Scraped FloorsSprucing up the dining room by adding such items as hickory hardwood flooring from Anderson's Dellamano collection is one decorating move toward making this room a daily destination. According to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, homeowners can watch their dining rooms evolve into a space that's welcoming for everyday activities and still special enough for social gatherings.

Taking one decorating step at a time as finances allow is the approach favored by the magazine's home design columnist Stephen Saint-Onge. When he undertook a project to create a stylish, multi-purpose dining room, he did it with a minimum of fuss and a small budget.

Too often, dining rooms don't have the same welcoming feel that other rooms in the household have. With new emphasis on the importance of families taking time for dinner together, there's a good reason to re-design the dining area into a place where everyone in the household will want to gather each day.

But Saint-Onge's philosophy is that you can do a room makeover in stages by decluttering first, then painting the walls, getting a new table, and adding lights and accessories until the look is complete.

Break down the design plan
When he took on a dining room project for the magazine, Saint-Onge's goal was to break down the room design essentials first and accessorize later. The starting point, as in most makeover projects, was to choose a color that will have staying power throughout different seasons and be neutral enough to coordinate with a host of accent colors and patterns.

Lighting, which is both functional and decorative, was upgraded with an existing chandelier by spray painting it a new color and adding small lampshades to individual bulbs.

In a large dining room, homeowners have the luxury of situating the table in a different position from the usual vertical placement. For smaller spaces, Saint-Onge recommended a simple farmhouse table because it goes well with both contemporary and traditional home styles.

The arrangement of seating around the dining table can be diversified as well. For instance, a dining bench may be used on one side instead of placing chairs all around. At other times, all the chairs can be used and the bench may be placed against a wall and accessorized with pillows.

A small bureau added to a corner provides storage for table linens and serves a dual purpose as a serving spot during a buffet.