The dining area is more than just an area to place the tables and chair. It should be inviting, warm and cozy, a place where the family enjoys sitting together.
Think back to your childhood. Chances are, mealtimes stand out in your memory. The family sits together, eats, and talks. If you don't want everyone to just eat and run, strive to make this place as inviting as possible. Here are some tips.
All too often we come across sleek dining room chairs with little or no padding. Although these may look good depending on the rest of the décor, they are not the most comfortable. If you like to linger over a meal with your loved ones, ensure that the seats are as comfortable as can be, with plenty of padding.
If the dining table is placed in the corner of a room, consider placing sofa-bench style seating on the wall-side of the table. You could have comfortable chairs on the other side.
Eat by candlelight! You don't need to spend a fortune replenishing candles. Take a tall glass, fill it up with water, and float a tea-light on the top. Light this every night. A single tea-light burns for around four hours, so it should last you three or four nights. You could lower the lights and truly enjoy the experience and reduce electricity costs. Place a dimmer switch on the lights.
Keep a tall candlestand on the center of the table to hold straight, elegant candles. Light these when entertaining.
A vase of flowers looks charming. Ensure it doesn't occupy too much space, and you don't need to remove it when serving the food or when seated at the table. Also, remember that the flowers should not prevent people on the table from seeing each other.
Stay clear from plastic tablecloths, no matter how practical they are! If your children spill when they eat and want to avoid staining wooden polish, invest in a table with a glass tabletop. Alternatively, use a regular 'cloth' tablecloth. Anything simple, which you can subject to regular wear and tear, will do. Keep the fancy tablecloths for entertaining.
When purchasing tableware, don't pick up anything that catches your fancy. Try to co-ordinate the items. This is easy to ensure when you are decorating your home from scratch. If you already have a crockery set that you use on a daily basis, pick up a couple of tablecloths to match this crockery. Pick up a separate tablecloth to go with your expensive crockery that you plan to use only when entertaining.
In any case, whether to use a tablecloth or not is entirely up to you. If you table is very attractive by itself, skip the tablecloth entirely. But if your table is stained or otherwise in poor condition, cover it up.
Always use placemats though. A table is not completely set without mats. If you are using cloth napkins, it is a good idea to starch them.
If you have the space in your dining room, invest in a sideboard. You can store your crockery, cutlery, placemats, napkins and tablecloths here, so when you are setting the table, everything will be easily within reach. In addition, you can always keep valuable crockery, like silverware, in your sideboard under lock and key.