The other day Beth suggested some ways to loosen up the dining room. Funny, we're not even sure that in our increasingly informal lives there's even much of a need for this room anymore but then the holiday season rolls around and we all find ourselves scrambling to transform it from its use as a catchall for mail back to its original purpose. Here are some other ideas, courtesy of Metropolitan Home, of how to work this room to its best advantage...
- Oh, I'm so stuffed: Comfortable chairs are key whether they're a matching set or a mixed bag. This may be your only chance to catch up with your extended family and hear some of their stories and you don't want to be interrupting the good parts because you're squirming around.
- Spotlight the food; flatter the guests: Good lighting should show off the food and the guests. Think soft, skew warm and, even though it's traditional, don't be limited to overheard lighting and candles.
- Peek a Boo: Table decorations are lovely but the whole point of being at the table is to be able to look over and see the other guests without having to bob and weave to find them behind the centerpiece. Low and simple arrangements not only let you see the other guests but they can be moved aside in favour of the real stars of the dining table, the platters of food.
- Something smells good: If flowers or candles are part of your dining experience, go for ones that don't smell (the only exception are natural beeswax candles whose very faint honey-sweet odor won't compete with the food's smell).
- Make room for strays: The best tables don't only have great food and great atmosphere, they also have a great mix of guests. Say "yes" when your sister asks if she can invite a stray friend; suggest that the new neighbors drop by for a drink with your family; encourage your best friend bring that new guy she's seeing; let the kids sit at the grownup table.
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[image from A South Austin Sunny and Sophisticated Home]