Interior Designer Offers Ideas to Achieve Various Styles

When it comes to their dining environment, homeowners today are increasingly opting for simplicity and open dining concepts, rather than the formal rooms of decades past.

It’s a switch that’s happening for several reasons. First, most people now prefer to eat in more open gathering-type areas, where they can relax and still converse with people in nearby areas. The current trend of downsizing to smaller homes also has impacted the dining room concept, with many areas now designed to serve multiple purposes, said Gia Rose, interior designer and showroom manager for Designer’s Marketplace in Oklahoma City.

With that said, many homes do still contain formal dining rooms, which offer many creative alternatives, she said. In keeping with current home decorating trends, most customers today are selecting open, airy spaces decorated in light colors that produce a relaxed, casual feel. Alternatively, using dark colors can create a cozy, elegant environment that’s more formal.

If you’re thinking about a remodel of your eating space, a critical first step is to make a list of all the activities that will be performed there, Rose said.

“When you think about the dining room, as with any space, think about your lifestyle,” she said. “You may fall in love with an item, but that doesn’t mean it will mesh well with how you live. If you have kids or pets, you don’t want something that will get dirty easily. If you use the area for things that need light, such as kids doing homework, then you don’t want to opt for dark spaces.”

Whether you’re decorating a formal dining room or a breakfast nook, the most important consideration is lighting. “The light fixture will be your statement piece in the dining room, so it’s not only a functional element, it’s also a creative one,” Rose said. “So fall in love with that first, and it will hopefully dictate what’s to follow.”

Once you pick the fixture, make sure that it hangs in the center of your dining table. That may require a visit from the electrician, especially in newer homes where builders typically place the fixture in the center of the room. If it’s offset, it will skew the décor of the room and make it hard to pull off a polished look.

There’s also been a recent trend toward hardwood floors in dining areas. If this is the case in your home, it’s highly recommended you purchase an area rug to avoid damage to the wood, Rose said. Most people do opt to protect their floor, and there is a wide variety of stain-resistant rugs available to fit every budget range. “You want to be sure not to purchase a rug that’s too small; otherwise, your dining room chairs will catch on it,” she said. “Area rugs should extend at least 2 feet from the rest of the table.”

If you want to upgrade your dining space, Rose said, there are many avenues of help, starting with your local interior designer and/or contractor. Rose herself can be reached at Designer’s Marketplace, 749.0070.

Gia Rose holds dual bachelor’s degrees, in interior design and graphic design, from Oklahoma State University.