An ample table and soft colour bring sophisticated edge to a drab dining room.
Q. Help! My search for the perfect dining set that seats up to 10 has been going on for 15 years. I'd like something elegant and contemporary that suits our dining room. Any other suggestions to finish the look are welcome.
— V.N., Toronto (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)
A. Your dining room is definitely spacious enough to accommodate a large dining set. It's also very bright, which is an added bonus. First, let's find a table. Since the space is long and narrow, look for a rectangular dining table, like the Vase table (shown) from Structube in a dark wood. It's nearly 8' long, so it will seat 10, and the classic dark oak finish means it won't feel dated anytime soon. Comfortable upholstered chairs encourage leisurely dinners, and are a great way to introduce colour and softness in a dining room, as in our inspiration photo. The Antoine dining chair (shown), from Sunpan Imports in muted turquoise with matte black legs, has an oversized seat for extra comfort.
A handsome light fixture should be next on your shopping list. I like one with simple lines but a lot of presence, like Currey & Company's Mainstay chandelier (shown). Its angular arms with an antique-look silver-leaf finish give it just the right amount of impact.
Your current wall colour is quite nice, but if you're feeling daring, consider a wallpaper in a large-scale floral, like Jocelyn Warner's Wisteria in Turquoise (shown). Its palette will work well with the upholstered chairs,and the paper will introduce a dramatic note.
Next, an area rug will help define the space,and add more softness and pattern. While the Chloe rug (shown) from Company C has a graphic Art Nouveau floral pattern, it's done in a subtle pewter tone, so it won't compete with the wallpaper (or your wall colour). Your drapes look great — just add an extra panel on each window to balance the look.
When not entertaining, keep a large bowl on the tabletop for a bit of layering. Have a look at Mud Australia's Pebble bowl (shown) in slate; it's a modern classic with a subtle organic quality that will suit your new space.
1. Mainstay chandelier, Currey & Company. 2. Wisteria (JWP-1503) wallpaper, Jocelyn Warner. 3. Antoine chair, Sunpan Imports. 4. Vase table, Structube. 5. Mud Australia bowl, Design Within Reach. 6. Chloe rug, Company C.