Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dining In Style

My Dining Room
Is your dining room a room where you can gather with family and friends while enjoying decor that sets the mood for a great time?  In its perfect state, my dining room as a room is both functional and intentionally styled.  However, if you are like me, then that perfect room status occurs only when company is coming!  Below are some ideas for decorating and for maintaining your dining room in style.

Styling Your Dining Room
Everyone has decorating needs for their dining room.  Some of these needs are met to achieve functionality, but if you take time to consider further you can have function and style.  Finding out the needs of your dining room helps you to style your room custom to you and your life.

How often do you host?  You want to have the chairs that you need for dinner parties, family parties, and even for the holidays.  If you host parties regularly for six people, but have over ten people during the holidays, you will want to have a table that seats at least six people with six chairs.  For the holidays, you can utilize quality folding tables and chairs for the extra four guests.

Are you a table cloth or a placemat kind of person?  Both tablecloths and placemats help protect your table from hot dishes and hot drinks, but a tablecloth will need to be wiped down frequently, while a placemat will collect crumbs and be tossed in the washer at whim.  A tablecloth will hide unseemly table tops, but a placemat will allow pretty tables to show.

Each element that you consider and plan for in your dining room helps to create an aura for your room.  If you stick a card table with four chairs in a room with some food, you had better have some wonderful social skills to create the mood for a great party.  However, if you have a longer table with six chairs, your company is spread evenly a the table allowing for conversation, each person has their own placemat and no one is fighting over space, candles are lit, the painting on the wall brings extra comments and discussion, and the rest of the decorations make for a cozy feel, then your company will naturally enjoy themselves with the added enjoyment of your wonderful social skills.  Every detail matters.

Maybe you already have your dining room styled how you like it.  You have the wall decor placed perfectly, the perfect number of chairs, and the perfect table.  Then you probably have little to do to make your dining room a place for fun and merriment, but you do have to maintain its perfect condition.  Certain household items creep onto my table, pile up, and never seem to leave!  Mail, books, crayons, and pens all are regular visitors to my table top.  The way to maintain a litter free table is by allocating places for these items away from your dining room table.

Place a mail holder on your desk with slots for each mail recipient in your home.  Put an extra bookshelf in your dining room or kitchen for those extra cookbooks, coloring books, and place a box for crayons right there on the bookshelf for easy access.  Those items that clutter your table can stop making their way to your table, if you intentionally make a new home for these items.

Maintaining with Children
I have a two year old son.  Kids make dining rooms into dining nightmares!  My floor becomes a colorful array of peas, carrots, and yesterday's noodles.  As a mother, I need to come up with a plan for keeping my dining room from becoming a daily disaster.  Here are some ideas for maintaining a dining room even when your children would rather you maintain it as a playroom:

1.  Buy thick, yet pretty, towels to go over the seat of each of your kid's chairs.  This will catch most spills that will coat the seat of your chairs and allow you the ease of pulling off the towel when company comes and having a perfect seat underneath.

2.  Consider buying colorful vinyl tablecloths to go under the seat of your young children to catch the big spills and daily spots of ketchup, milk, and yogurt.  They can be pulled up easily for washing and save you from having to sweep and mop daily.

3.  Develop a no toys at the table rule.  This keeps toys from collecting on your table and makes the table special for projects, coloring, and play dough time.

4.  Finally, remember that kids can help to maintain your dining room.  Yes, really!  Kids can wipe down the table, sweep the floor, and even help you to pull off the towels and take up the spill mat when company is coming.  Not only are children makers of messes, but they can also be taught to clean up those messes.

Make your dining room into a haven for hosting and decorate your room to perfection.  Plan your seating, dress your table, and be sure to consider the details around your dining room that pertain to your life and daily eating habits.  Remember that maintaining must be intentional and can be done!  Best of luck with dining in style!

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