Decorating & Design

November 28, 2008

Formal Dining Room

Q. I have an open concept living/dining room with a window and a patio door. I would like to put up some window coverings like pleated drapes in earth tones in a light material over sheer curtains. Do you have any suggestions? Also, how can I make the dining room look more formal?

— J.P., Ottawa

A. To achieve a more formal appearance in your space, look for drapery with a bit more weight than what you currently have hanging with your sheers. Pleated solid or wide-striped silk in a neutral tone will add elegance to the room and will work nicely with your current wrought iron drapery rods.

You can further increase the feeling of formality in your dining room through lighting, floor coverings, artwork and accessories. From your photos, it’s difficult to tell exactly what you already have in place for lighting in the dining space, but I can suggest installing a sizeable pendant over your dining table, such as a crystal chandelier for some sparkle and glamour. If you would prefer something less grand, a five-arm candelabra pendant with linen shades would also give the dining area a more urbane appearance.

Think about adding a Persian rug beneath your dining table and chairs — you’ll want it to be large enough to extend 18” beyond the back of the chairs. Artwork that has a classic look, such as a series of framed black and white photographs or prints in muted colours will also give the room a more formal feeling. Accessories like sterling silver bud vases, a large crystal or clear glass decorative bowl and some antique nickel candelabras will help complete the look.

Since this is an open concept space, consider carrying the formality beyond the dining area and into the living area, again through lighting, floor coverings, art and accessories.