Casual, informal or formal dining
Dining rooms may not be an element in modern home designs, but they're still very much a part of many homes. Gathering the family together for meals is a tradition and a part of South African culture that will endure despite what leading designers have to say.
In today's electronic age, were too much time is spent in solitary confinement with devices that simulate the real world, and not enough time is spent in face-to-face communication, the dining room offers a place for everyone to get together to discuss day-to-day life - in the real world.
ABOVE: Gleaming hardwood floors and cottage-style furniture set the tone for a casual family dining room. You don't have to spend a fortune on furniture for a dining room, mix and matching second hand furniture is an affordable and fun way to set the tone. Pots of spring hyacinths add a small pop of pink colour to the room.
Before designing or decorating a dining room, take the time to assess your family’s entertaining and dining lifestyle. Don't overspend on a lavish, formal dining table andf chairs if your lifestyle is more the occasional family dinner. Also consider the design of your home and decorate a dining room to tie in with the existing style.
ABOVE: Formal or informal, this dining room is ready for any event. Light and bright for a family breakfast; switch on the chandelier and dress up the table for a special occasion. An electic mix of traditional and country style, the dining chairs are upholstered in a soft green and pink fabric that echoes the pink curtains and splashes of pink on the table.
Design your dining room to be comfortable and choose a table and chairs that are either formal or casual, depending upon the design of the room. A more casual setting will incorporate dining chairs that have a low profile and upholstered seating, or creative slipcovers, in materials ranging from cane to plastic, whereas an informal style will require dining chairs with elegant style and form.
ABOVE: Dining for a small family, although the space would allow for a larger table and more chairs, this elegant space is given shine with black gloss lacquer.
In a casual dining room, lighter colours will convey relaxing and cosy interiors and darker and deeper colours are best for an informal space. For a dining room that needs to combine an element of both formal and informal dining, consider using neutral colours such as beige, taupe, lighter brown, grey, cream and white, with black or white accents to help dress the space up or down. The easier you make your dining room adaptable, the more likely you will be to entertain and truly enjoy your dining room.
The ability to change your setting based on your entertaining lifestyle and family daily life is important to enjoy your home. For ideas on how to decorate your versatile dining room look to fine furnishings magazines and online designers. You will be surprised what inspiration you can get from surfing the Internet. It's so easy to transform a table with creative place settings, candle holders, and table linen to bring about formality or casual aesthetics.
If you are entertaining friends or have planned a special occasion, white table settings, a linen table cloth with attractive candle holders and centrepiece can transform your casual dining table.
ABOVE: Sharing an open-plan space with the kitchen, a cottage-style dining table and chairs blends in perfectly with the French country kitchen. An open-plan dining area doesn't always have to be set apart the stand out, match furniture to that used in the open-plan design to create a harmonious flow between two areas.
ABOVE: Modern dining room for a family that is young at heart with design in mind. The black painted concrete floor and wood-beamed ceiling are just the right touch for eco-conscious living.
Whether your dining space is formal and casual dining space, flooring should be easy to clean. Where rugs are placed under the table, choose area rugs with low pile that can disguise stains.
ABOVE: A dining room that shares a space with the living area combines modern furniture with a few fun elements. The contemporary and eye-catching chandelier above the dining table defines the area, as does the circular rug that mirrors the shape of the dining table.
When decorating a dining room try to include a decorative rug or mat for under the table, especially if you have laminate floors. The perfect rug can effectively define a dining space in an open-plan design, and can quite as easily transform the look and feel of a dining room. The size of the room or space will determine how large a rug should be, but should be larger than your dining table and allow for chairs to be pulled out.
If you're uncertain as to what style or colours to choose for an area rug, choose a few colours already in the room and bring them into the carpet or rug. This will unite the room and keep it from looking too busy for the eye. In an open plan space, use colours from adjoining spaces for a rug.
ABOVE: An otherwise neutral colour scheme in this dining room is given a blast of colour with the framed art on one wall.
For many homes, the dining room needs to be dual-purpose and serve as both a formal and casual dining room. Designing and decorating a dining room to be versatile allows for an easy transition when the occasion arises.
ABOVE and BELOW: The lighting that you choose for a dining room is just as important as the furniture and will determine how you and your guests enjoy your meal.
In most homes homes a single dining room needs to be able to be versatile and serve for casual meals and formal entertaining. The lighting should feel welcoming and enhance the decor of the room, whether you choose a crystal chandelier or a recycled Moroccan lamp.