Design Your Dining Room So You’ll Actually Want to Eat There

Ah, the formal dining room. These days it’s more of an option than a must for many home buyers, but that doesn’t mean one’s eating space of choice should look like an afterthought.

Design Your Dining Room So You’ll Actually Want to Eat ThereOf course not. No matter how you select and furnish the dining room in your new custom Florida home, it should be a welcoming place where family members and guests enjoy gathering.

Here are our tips on designing your dining space so you’ll actually want to eat there.

Balance function and style

Ketchup-bottle-wielding kids seated on Grandma’s priceless Victorian chairs may not be the way to go. Using special furnishings is a great way to enjoy them, but consider your lifestyle when designing your dining space.

Rule No. 1 might be that it should be comfortable. How many of us have counted minutes until a meal ended so we could escape an uncomfortable chair?

Apply the same strategy to dining furniture, decorative objects and serving pieces as you do to your interior design — select tough, easy-to-clean and good-looking objects that can handle both formal affairs and everyday meals.

Classic, timeless furniture in classic, timeless colors and finishes will be a good choice every time. This method helps you dine formally if you like or to just relax and plop takeout pizza on paper plates.

Personalize it

Do you have art you love and nowhere else to display it? Why not your dining area?

The dining room might be just the place for paintings, prints and shelves to hold vintage pieces of china. Kitchen and food-themed collections are a natural here. So are the best photos you took while on a gastronomical tour of Italy last spring. Frame ‘em and put ‘em on those walls!

Make sure it’s well-lit

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to squint at your food and dining companions — especially when you’re hungry. We’ve all had those atmospheric restaurant experiences when we’ve had to use the flashlight app on our phones to read the menu.

The overhead light fixture you choose for your new dining space should illuminate your table. Tuck in sconces and dimmers for versatility. Tabletop candles are fun too (be careful with fire).

Also beware the reverse problem. You don’t want lighting so intense your family and guests feel as though they’re seated under an exterior floodlight.

If you opt for a statement fixture over your dining table, don’t position it three feet over everyone’s head. That encourages the washed-out effect that makes it difficult to determine whether broccoli or cauliflower is on your plate.

You want guests to exclaim over the fixture, then sit down and exclaim over a well-lit, delicious meal. If you’re unsure how high to hang your dining light fixture, ask your ICI Homes designer for advice when you select interior design materials at the opens in a new windowICI Homes Design Center.

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