In the age of on-the-go meals, TV dinners and takeout, the dining room can be an under-appreciated space. Show a little love to this often underutilized room by making it pull double duty. By adding simple elements to glam up your space, you can easily transition this room from daily dining to sophisticated dinner party. Here are a few dining room decor ideas to get your space into tip-top shape in no time.
1. For lighting, dial up the drama by creating a grand cluster of humble lanterns. The key to transitioning from everyday to glam is making the most of your ambiance. Use existing lighting and add 10-12 Chinese paper lanterns to create a conversation piece that diffuses the light and makes a grand statement. The lanterns come in three sizes and are around $10, while you can find packs of 10 lanterns from retailers such as Oriental Trading. Hang each lantern from a brightly colored ribbon attached to your existing chandelier. Cluster the lanterns loosely – it doesn’t have to be perfect to make a bold statement of visual art and give an element of the unexpected. Have some fun with it, and play with color palettes to match your theme, like bright pinks if you’re planning for a spring fling party. Just be sure that the lanterns do not come into contact with a bare light bulb.
2. Turn wine bottles, cake stands and candles into stunning centerpieces. By using everyday items, you don’t have to break the bank to create a homemade candelabra with major visual impact. Oftentimes in decorating, the most humble of things can transcend the sum of its parts when you gather and cluster. If you’re anything like me, you might have a few empty bottles of wine lying around the house. So instead of tossing them out, soak 15-20 empty bottles of wine in soapy water so you can easily remove the labels. Keep the bottles all green hues or all white, or get creative and mix and match. Use tapered candles in each bottle and cluster the bottles together in the middle of the table. For an unexpected candelabra that tricks the eye, use one tall and two shorter cake stands, and cluster votive candles on top, playing with different heights and levels. You don’t have to do anything else to make an impact; it’s that simple.
3. Freshen things up with flower arrangements. Use greenery and other elements of nature to create something that is more special than the everyday. It’s important to be mindful of the freedom of conversation, so keep floral arrangements low so guests feel comfortable conversing with table mates. Carnations are often the redheaded stepchildren of the floral world, but they are an inexpensive, accessible option that can make a big impact when clustered tightly in teacups or low bowls – just make sure to show the fluffy heads of the flowers, no leaves. Use your own backyard for inspiration, picking up branches, fallen leaves and flowers to create the power of presentation.
This article was written by TV host and design expert Kim Myles, who partnered with Apartment Guide for the 2012 “Your Picks. Your Place.” sweepstakes. Kim Myles won the HGTV reality series “Design Star 2” and hosts HGTV’s “Myles of Style.”