I love coming together for a meal at the dining table. The great things about this space is that it can exist in varying degrees of formality, but the simple act of sitting at the table brings a special touch to a meal. Here's how I approach the styling of a dining room.
I think that the styling of many dining rooms puts too much emphasis on the table itself. It is definitely the centre of the space, but it also has to be functional and encourage conversation. I think too often, styling can become a little fussy, which leads to dining tables that take the dinner party tone to a far too formal place. I'm more interested in keeping it simple on the table and using the surroundings for styling fun.
1 | This was my inspiration for this dining room, inspired by my trip to Indochine. The setting is the point of interest for the dining room, leaving the tabletop to stay free and open for big share plates and casual conversation. The mix of seating plays with height and the boxes as the backdrop against the brick wall makes a fine foil for the darker timber table. The open-weave baskets take me back to my time at the busy food markets of Luang, Saigon and Prabang. I like to use these everyday materials in a decorative way. Here, they are lanterns, but you could even add bulbs and use them as pendants.
2 | Plain spaces have their beauty. This simple setting draws on a piece of lustrous fabric and some jolts of colour for interest, but that's the way I like it. The sense of scale shown here, is not something many of us city-dwellers can hope for, but I think it's worth thinking about the size of your pieces within the space you have. The small table and chairs are given a grand feel due to their positioning here.
3 | This dining room exists more as a reading room in this shot, as the table is stacked with books. But, as I mentioned earlier, I'm all about the table remaining fairly simple and the action of the dining room surrounding it. This example is perfect to demonstrate this. With the sparkling lights and the interesting rope arrangement (plus pendant lights, of course) simply set the table and you have a dinner party waiting to happen. You've lost the need for intricate place settings and the like as your guests can enjoy what's happening around them.
4 | This dining table is just gorgeous. I love the weathered blue tabletop that can be seen to replace a tablecloth with a rustic, earthy quality. Inspired by my journey to Turkey and a long lunch in Bodrum, this dining room masters that welcoming casual feel. The lunch I attended was made up of lots of different mezze plates and went on for hours. Invoke that atmosphere of afternoon casualness and a sense of sharing with plates of different sizes and whatever glassware you happen to have. Even if you're not outside, it will feel like it.