DETERMINE THE FUNCTION OF THE ROOM
Before designing a space, it’s important to understand the function that it will serve. Will the space be used for formal dinner parties or casual gatherings? How much seating is required? Should the space promote intimate conversations or large group conversations? Does the space need to serve or store formal dinnerware? “Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start space planning and selecting the materials and pieces,” says Giselle Loor Sugerman of B+G Design.
“Small round tables are optimal for conversation and flexibility in number of guests,” adds Barbara Eberlein, president and creative director of Eberlein Design. “Long, narrow rectangular tables maximize the number of guests along the perimeter but create a very different conversation pattern. Consider the type of environment you’d like to create.”
ENSURE A PRIVATE & INTIMATE SETTING AND FUNCTION OF THE ROOM
During a social gathering, much of a guest’s time is spent in the dining room. A well-designed dining room should encourage conversation among guests, which means the space shouldn’t be too noisy or in sight of many distractions. Particularly in an open-concept home, it can be challenging to ensure a private and intimate setting without sacrificing style.
Here, the team at Chimera Interiors creatively uses large floating screens to separate the dining room from the rest of the house. “The screens separate and frame views of open areas surrounding the dining area, like the library and the living room,” says designer Marina Mizruh of Chimera Interiors.
ESTABLISH A FOCAL POINT
“Make the table the center of attention, so that your dinner companions are the main focus,” says Tim Button, partner and co-owner of Stedila Design. When the dining table is the focal point of the space, guests will feel more compelled to take a seat and communicate with one another. Once the table is situated, arrange all other furnishings and accessories so that they complement this focal point.
CREATE A CONVERSATION STARTER
Design a space that draws intrigue and promotes conversation among guests, whether it’s with unique artwork, bold wallpaper, or custom furnishings. “Consider what is going to spark great conversation,” says Gideon Mendelson, founder of the Mendelson Group. “The uniqueness of this room partly comes from how we handled the faceted ceiling.” The team uniquely arranged paneling on the ceiling, adding texture and color to the space.
A one-of-a-kind dining room makes a statement and leaves a lasting impression, but it should also evoke conversation and represent the personality of the homeowner. The color palette, artwork, or accessories in a space can reveal information about the homeowner, giving guests a more personalized dining experience. “Use your hobbies or interests as a guide to creating your unique space,” says interior designer Jennifer Fisher. “Anything that brings you joy can be placed on your walls.”
“Whenever possible, make aesthetic connections and personal references,” agrees Eberlein. A bold color palette in this dining room matches the bubbly, colorful personality of its owner. “We couldn’t resist using the multicolored bubbles-within-bubbles as a freeform, and a playful light fixture to round out the room,” she adds. Finally, every dining chair has been upholstered in a different color, and guests are encouraged to select the chair that best fits their character.