Maybe you envision the space as being too formal to use every day, or you’re worried that – especially with kids – your beautiful dining table will become a magnet to scratches and spills. But don’t fret, just follow these tips and transform your neglected dining room into a 2 in 1 office/dining space with decoration that is both formal and functional…
All the Desk You Need
If your home is in need of an office space, don’t rush out and buy a desk – if you have a dining table, there’s your desk right there! Working on a dining table actually comes in pretty handy as you have masses of room to spread your work around, and the only thing that could be slightly annoying about working there would be a lack of storage for paperwork and technology. A clever solution for storage would be this Martha Stewart tutorial on how to turn an ottoman into an attractive filing cabinet.
As for your desktop computer, take a second look at a hostess trolley on wheels and see if you can store your system unit and monitor on it, so you can wheel it to the table at your convenience. All you would need to do then is move the monitor onto the table, pull out a wireless keyboard and mouse and you’re ready to open up shop.
Protecting Surfaces and Floors
If you are really worried about damaging the finish on your table, get a table protector to go underneath a table cloth, or you could order a glass/Perspex top to cover the table if you need a flatter, more ‘permanent’ surface to work on that can still be removed for dinner parties.
As for floors, if you’re worried that your dining chairs will scratch your flooring with all the additional use, affix felt pads to the bottom of your table and chair legs to keep scratches at bay.
With 2-in-1 office and dining spaces, finding an appropriate, dual purpose lighting system can be tricky. Luckily, interior design trends for dining rooms are pointing towards installing a pendant light above the middle of the table and setting the cord to hang quite low (around 28 to 34 inches above table top). This means that your attractive pendant fixture can double up as a task light that hovers just above your workspace – perfect!
Creating a comfortable atmosphere in a rarely-used room is all in the finishing touches. At first, I would settle on a cohesive colour scheme made up of three colours: a neutral shade, a splash of bright colour and a complementary hue to tie it all together.
Just because a dining room is for eating doesn’t mean it can’t be plush like a sitting room too. Invest in some soft, comfortable seat pads to match your chosen colour scheme – you’ll be much more likely to spend time here if you don’t get a sore back doing it!
Setting a table needn’t be a lesson in the stuffy old rules of etiquette. You don’t need a full silverware set, shrimp forks included, to lay a beautiful table. Here is a quick run-down of the essentials:
- Dinner Ware: A cheap, white dinnerware set is timeless, plus if any item breaks it can be easily replaced. But if you’re looking to add some design detail, dessert plates are a good place to start. Investing in fancy dessert places are a safe option because they don’t get used very often (so they’re less likely to get chipped or smashed) and they provide a nice contrast to your larger, plainer plates.
- Table Linen: Following your colour scheme of three harmonious colours, buy a table cloth in the neutral tone, a table runner in a bright shade and then placemats in your complementary colour to pull the look together. It is wise to invest the most money in your choice of placemats, as these will be used the most frequently.
- Candle Sticks: Everything looks better by candlelight; make sure that your dinner table has one, to create an ambient atmosphere for special occasions.
- Napkins: Cloth napkins are environmentally friendly and add a touch of luxury, so invest in some beautifully patterned ones with napkin rings to get the ‘wow’ factor.
A large scale piece of abstract art or any kind of art for that matter makes your dining room space a lot more entertaining to be in, and it can also be a conversation starter. Consider hanging your favourite pieces of art here instead of in your bedroom, where guests aren’t likely to see it at all. This will also help you appreciate the space more!
Is there anything else to consider when making your dining room more inviting? Share in comments below.
Estelle Page is an Interior Designer and blogger from Sussex. She’s on a mission to get people making the most out of their homes and she writes for Oak Furniture Superstore.