On the Table – Unforgettable Dining Rooms
TO CREATE A WELCOMING DINING ROOM, SET THE TONE WITH A DEFINING FOCAL POINT, THEN SURROUND IT WITH PIECES THAT OFFER FUNCTION, COLOR, AND STYLE.
A great dining room beckons guests to sit and relax, enjoy the company, and relish in the delightful offerings on the table. Karen Shoener, CID, ASID, president of Designs of the Interior in Westlake Village, answers a few questions about how to create the perfect space.
805 Living: What are the main considerations when designing a dining room?
Karen Shoener: As with any room, consider the floor plan for size and window and door placement (and whether or not to change that), the desired style, and how it will be used to entertain. The owners of the dining room [shown on this page] wanted formal seating for 12 and a space with European influenced furnishings and objets d’art with major elements of contemporary design. The addition of the intricate ceiling detail was a huge compliment to our design team—the client first saw it in a 2013 Pasadena Showcase family room fashioned by Designs of the Interior and had to have it.
805 Living: What does a dining room reveal about its owner?
Karen Shoener: Personality. They may love artistic flair, have a sense of adventure with bold or playful colors, or want a quiet space with 50 shades of beige. It’s great fun to discover that little something extra that makes each room unique.
805 Living: What are some practical considerations when choosing a table?
Karen Shoener: Table heights these days are 30 inches, and seat heights on dining chairs should be 19.5 to 20 inches for a comfortable sit. The size of the table’s apron is more important than table height for armchair selection. It’s very important to measure the distance from the bottom of the apron to the floor and compare that to the arm height to ensure adequate clearance.
805 Living: What other elements make a dining room welcoming?
Karen Shoener: Good lighting is key, as is a place to put and serve food. A sideboard is always a good choice, and we love the ones with marble or stone on top so food can be put on them without worry about harming a wood finish. A great rug makes the space welcoming, too, by adding complementary colors or texture; it grounds the space and eliminates an unwelcoming echo. A rug in a dining room can add a dramatic perspective change—it actually makes the space appear larger.
805 Living: What are some ways to create a pleasant ambience?
Karen Shoener: Great ambience is created with a well-coordinated color palette, including paint and design elements that add interest and exude comfort. Those elements might be textures in fabric, lighting, mirrors, art, or wood finishes.
805 Living: What are some pitfalls to avoid?
Karen Shoener: The most important aspect is to keep the global view in mind. If one likes each piece in the room and adjacent areas individually, but when all pieces are all seen together they don’t relate well in style, color, or scale, the room just won’t feel right. In a welcoming dining room, one must be able to pull out the chairs comfortably and see out of any windows in the space.
(Article by Frances Ryan. As seen in 805 Living, March 2019)