The dining room in Josh Hildreth’s Wesley Heights home has the unexpected combination of antique English dining chairs with seats upholstered in chartreuse leather. (Stacy Goldberg)
In recent years, the concept of “dining” in the home has consisted of grabbing a plate of food to eat at a kitchen island or on a couch or chair in front of a screen. Even when a home has a separate formal dining room, the table is commonly used for homework or, at this time of year, as a tax-prep command center.
However, according to the Washington Post, designers are indicating that dining trends are reverting back to the traditional dinner table. Designers say that their clients are getting tired of eating meals in the “great room,” an informal, open space that often accommodates casual eating and lounging. Some of their clients are annoyed with noisy, busy restaurants and want to do more entertaining at home.
A McLean dining room designed by Thomas Pheasant has classical details. The walls are upholstered in velvet damask. (Durston Saylor)
Bethesda designer Erica Burns says, “Everything is so casual these days, it’s nice to be a bit more formal in a room where you entertain or gather your family. The room sets the tone, since there’s no TV in there and hopefully no cell phones. It’s a space focused on conversation and eating.”
A separate dining room is also on many homeowners’ and homebuyers’ wish lists in 2017. In the January 2017 Home Buyer Reference survey, 73 percent of homebuyers said the dining room was “essential or desirable,” according to a spokesperson for the National Association of Home Builders.
A Potomac, Md., dining room designed by Erica Burns shows how she added interest to the Restoration Hardware side chairs by using brown velvet on the seats and front and a linen print on the back. (Anna Routh Photography)
If you’re ready to reclaim your dining room, be sure to follow these tips from designers:
New York designer Katie Ridder says she advises clients who are renovating or redecorating a dining room to add down-lights around the chandelier. Ridder says, “It’s nice to have light pointing down on the table as well as chandelier light and candlelight.” Her favorite source for dining room table candles? Creative Candles, where she stocks up on 24-inch tapers in Paris Gray and Chocolate.
Mix it up
There’s no need to be so matchy-matchy anymore. Burns suggests opting for a different style for the host chairs at both ends of the table to make a statement. Also, instead of the usual chandelier hanging over the center of the table, try two pendants.
Go for drama
A dining room is a great place to do something more dramatic. Washington designer says, “If a client said, ‘I want glazed turquoise walls,’ I’d say we probably should not do that in a room you’re in all the time, if you want to be wild or crazy, a dining room or powder room is a good place to do it.”
Lots of memorable moments take place in the dining room, yet it’s a space that’s often at the bottom of the list for refreshing or redecorating. It’s time to take back the dining room and make it fun and useful again.