Decorating & Design

November 28, 2008

Irregular Dining Room

Q. Our dining room is a 12’ by 12’ irregular shape with a rounded ceiling, a small nook with leaded windows overlooking the mudroom on the north side, a window on the west side, and a glass door accessing the kitchen on the east side. There is a 6’-long wall with an opening to the living room on the south wall. What style and colour of table do you recommend?

— Marie

A. Square-shaped rooms are often a great excuse for using round tables. A 42” or 48” round table with a pedestal base would look stunning in your dining room. A pedestal base lets more people sit around the table without banging their legs. Choose a table with at least one leaf extension, allowing you to open it up to an oval if you need the space. Your chairs, with the light, neutral upholstery will coordinate with almost anything, but since you already have dark wood as a foundation, consider a mahogany/walnut coloured table to keep the look cohesive. A large, white, shallow bowl set in the center of the table can act as a centerpiece, and will brighten up the wood. Your chandelier seems a little small for the room. Think about installing a wrought-iron cage hanging lamp, which would mirror the leaded glass, or a simple wrought iron chandelier with at least 6 bulbs. The fixture also seems too high for the table. 30” above table height is a good guideline for hanging dining room chandeliers.

Your current wall colour is quite inviting. For an interesting ceiling twist, think about painting the ceiling a shade or two lighter than the wall colour instead of white. Keep the trim white for contrast, but the height and shape of the ceiling seem to be begging for more attention.

To modernize the room, consider replacing your drapes with linen or cotton drapes, in a similar colour as the walls. This will make the room seem even bigger, and the textural difference between fabric and wall will add subtle interest. A straw coloured wool sisal area rug under the table would add more contrast and lightness to the room, and a pair of small, glass-base lamps under the leaded windows would give you just a little more light and balance. Top them off with white shades trimmed in black for understated sophistication. Finally, a vase of bright red or yellow tulips will add just the right colour burst.