Decorate a dining room

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Make your dining room different!
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Be creative with your own personality!

When my husband and I purchased our first home, I was so excited about decorating each and every room and making it as personal as I could. I loved the idea of making my home and furnishings reflect my true personality and style. It was so much fun to watch everything transform from being someone else’s “stuff” to being our own personality, our own flavor and our style.

The room that I had the most fun decorating was the dining room. Since I had never gotten the opportunity to decorate a dining room (having lived only in apartments), I immediately became mesmerized with the idea of Martha Stewart-type touches and thoughts of my guests dining in four-star type restaurants. Dreamer, right?

I envisioned my guests laughing happily as they dined on a seven course meal and fine wine, all while constantly commenting and complimenting me on such a lovely dining room. I envisioned being the house that all my of my neighbors wanted to dine at and be invited to so they could see my impeccable decorating tastes and eat my wonderful cooking. Being a homeowner was going to be fun!

A Martha Stewart double?

After all of that dreaming and envisioning I woke up and realized that it was just that…a dream. There was no way that I was going to decorate a dining room that rivaled the likes of Martha Stewart, nor was I going to serve seven course meals in it! We were a young, hard-working couple in our first new home and funds were limited. The fine wine would have to wait, as would the imported China and the silk tablecloth. I would have to decorate my dining room with my signature personality on my budget and make it my own style.

Was I settling? Absolutely not! No, I was being practical, resourceful and forward thinking and making what I have work for me without trying to be like someone else. I would just take what I have and make it my own, that’s all. And that’s the way it should be, right?

Your Own Space

As I got started in setting up my entertaining space, I realized that I was able to decorate a dining room without all of the extreme costs and furniture that I thought I would initially need. I was able to shop around and find excellent bargains both online and offline, and use my creativity to make my dining space my very own. Here’s how:

- Lighting. Good lighting is very important in a dining room. It helps to set the mood and create ambiance in a room. The very first thing that I did in my dining room space was to replace the chandelier type motif with wall track lighting. This actually made the room look bigger and appear roomier. It also cast a “restaurant” type glow in the room making it feel cozier.

- Storage. Instead of a using a buffet to store dishes and china, I used a wooden, open style, flat table that gave a buffet look. This way, the guests could serve themselves and the table wouldn’t take up so much space in the room. Above the table, I hung scenic pictures of greenery, mountains and streams to give the room a peaceful, serene feel.

Table. Since we only entertained small groups at a time, my dining table was only a six-seater with a removable piece in the middle of it. This was ideal if we only wanted to entertain with drinks and desert or if we were serving a full meal.

- Seating. I didn’t want my dining room to be too “formal”, so I used bench seating around the table. I used a parson’s bench on both ends of the table for the head, and a longer style bench on both sides of the table for the guests. This style of seating also allowed me to use pillows and play with fabric colors to match the room.

- Flowers. When you decorate a dining room, it’s also a good idea to use lots and lots of greenery and dried flowers or even fresh flowers if possible. This touch makes the room absolutely beautiful and gives the room that warm, homey feeling.

- Paintings. I was also very careful and strategic in placing pictures and paintings around the dining room. If the space is large or small, you have to be careful to not overwhelm it with too much activity in the room. Have one focal point in your dining space and work with that, whether that’s art, furniture or greenery.

All in all, I was quite pleased with my dining room after I was done. I found that the key to having a great-looking dining room was to put my own personality on it and play with different ideas instead of making it look too much like a magazine. Sure, I used ideas from magazines, but I worked to give it my own look and my own personality. In the end I was glad that I did.

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