4 Tips from the White House State Dining Room

We have the White House on the mind lately, what with the recent election. We were surprised to find a few elements of its large dining room that stood out to us for inspiration in our own home. Here are the four things that we related to most in this photo of the White House's State Dining Room...

  • Fire Element: There is nothing quite like eating at a hearth. Linking the fire element to the dining experience creates a comfortable atmosphere and refers back to the fire used in creation of the meal. If you don't have a fireplace in your dining room, candles are another way to introduce fire to the setting.
  • Symmetry: A symmetrical layout is one of repose and serenity, allowing you to focus on your meal and your dining companions. Dinner tables naturally lend themselves to symmetrical positioning within a room.
  • Calming Colors: Linger on this photo and you'll recognize that the State Dining Room is almost entirely a soft white color with just pops of color from the yellow seat upholstery and dark accents from the wood and the painting over the mantle. The soft white color of the room is warm, soothing, and inviting. The room's color, like its layout, allows one to focus wholly on the dining experience.
  • Versatile Table Size: The single table shown here has several leaves in it. It appears that it can be downsized to a small round table and upsized to the long table as shown. The ability to adjust the table's size can be a great asset to a dining room. A small dinner can feel snug and intimate while a large gathering can be accommodated with plenty of elbow room. If the table were always so long, a dinner for two would be too spaced out.

The State Dining Room is where where large dinners are held (the room can hold 140 dinner guests). The President's Dining Room is for smaller family dinners, but we found only one photo of it. Shown as decorated during Bill Clinton's presidency, it offered less inspiration to us so we chose to highlight the State Dining Room here instead. Photo: Visiting DC.

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and son in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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