These days I see a lot of customers milling around the shop pulling out pillows and accessories to prepare for their holiday entertaining, and it’s been making me think about the best way to furnish a dining room.
So where do you start? If you walk into a traditional furniture shop, you might see an entire suite you like, which makes it easier to quickly style the whole room.
However, if you have a love for antiques, you might prefer to build a look through the use of individual pieces – pieces that tell a rich story, through their materials, where they’ve been, and their age, which is usually suggested by the patina and the quality of the wood.
Here’s where I like to start – with some good old-fashioned paper and pencil. Take a look at your room – is it square or rectangle, and what are the dimensions of the space? Do you have an open plan, or a lot of wall space? The next step is to measure both the length and the width of the room and sketch out the shape with your dimensions.
Drawing up a simple floor plan will help you know what to look for when you’re choosing individual pieces that might not be part of a ‘set’.
If you have a long or continuous wall, which many dining rooms do, that’s where I would draw in a buffet. Buffets come in a large variety of widths, so you can place a petite 48″ buffet all the way to 6′ and 8′ long for a triple buffet.
Next week we’ll be talking about tips on selecting the perfect buffet to accent your dining room, but until then, check out some varieties that are at our shop right now:
Design tip: I always leave a little bit of space on either side of each buffet so you can add side chairs that aren’t always in use; that way the table space doesn’t feel too crowded or over-full.
Once you’ve placed your buffet, move 4′ away from the buffet and draw the line for your table. A quick way to determine the correct size for your table is to then draw a line 4′ away from all your other 3 walls to create a rectangle or square. Then take an overall measurement of the lines you’ve drawn – this will give you an approximate size for your table. So if you the lines you drew in create a 9′ x 4′ shape, you might look out for a 96″l x 40″w table, which is a more typical table size.
Or you could take the overall width of your room and subtract by 8. Then on the side with the buffet you can subtract by 10 – leaving 20-24″ for a buffet.
As a general rule, I like to have at least 4′ around my table as circulation. It keeps the room feeling open and airy, especially when people are sitting at the table and have the chairs pulled out. If your room is especially large you might want 5′ behind your chairs. And, if your space is small or more compact, you can work with a 3′ circulation around your table. I would just suggest that in that scenario, the chairs you select are on the more petite scale, so that when people are sitting at your table others can pass from behind.
Your sketch will give you the basic dimensions to look for, so now you can head off and start your hunt for the perfect pieces! When you shop, you will already have an idea of what size tables might be a good fit for your room. Once you narrow down by size, you can then start to look at all the gorgeous finishes and decide which one suits you best. That might be a classic stained wood table like this gorgeous Louis XV-inspired table with elegant cabriole legs.
Or if, like me, you simply love pattern, how about this intricate parquet pattern table?
Yearn for a lighter look? Check out this charming painted table paired with classic Louis XVI chairs.
The hardest part is figuring your dimensions. Once you’ve done that, the right table will start to speak to you as all one-of-a-kind treasures do!
Stay tuned till next week to find out how to pair a table with the perfect buffet, and get other helpful tips on completing your dining room in time for holiday entertaining!
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