Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Community News Network

November 15, 2012

Tips for "decor-taining" in the dining room

The countdown has begun: Only a precious few days remain before the holiday entertaining season begins. For some of you, the impending deadline means sprucing up your neglected dining room, scrambling to find enough seating and silverware, sculpting your centerpiece and, of course, planning your menu. Well, don't panic. The only thing more fun than decorating and entertaining is the intersection of the two — what you could call decor-taining.

To decor-tain successfully, start with the basics: a table, chairs and lighting. I chose an unfussy modern table of white lacquer. It always looks as clean and crisp as a white linen tablecloth, but all you have to do is wipe it down — no staining and no ironing required. My table seats a maximum of 10 guests, which, to me, is an optimal size because you can have three conversations going or just one. (If you have more than 10 guests, consider some temporary furniture.) You also don't want your dining table to take over the room. A good rule of thumb is that the footprint of your dining table should be no more than a third of the floor's total space — you want room for people and chairs.

As for your chairs, they need to be not only comfortable, but also interesting. For me, that means chairs that do not match the table. Instead, mix things up with contrasting colors and materials. Dark wood chairs? Pair them with a marble-topped table. Antique mahogany table? Add a set of modern white-frame chairs.

For my dining room, I paired 1920s French red leather upholstered chairs with my modern table. If you want a chic dining room, you have to blend styles and finishes: old with new, light with dark, slick with aged.

Whatever you do, never underestimate the importance of lighting. You should take your cue from your favorite restaurant and keep the lights low. If you have several light sources, keep each at a flicker (which might require installing dimmers). There should be enough illumination to help you get around and to see your food, but not so much that the light is harsh and unflattering. I always include candles in the lighting mix — tapers, votives or pillars — to add a little ambiance.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014