Dining room design takes a special touch as the space is usually a feature spot in a home, yet it needs to be quite functional. At Hoskins Interior Design, we approach these design projects first by examining how the space will be used. How often do you entertain? Are you the central point for most family gatherings? How many people do you typically seat? Will you be using your dining room for other things besides eating and entertaining? Creating a design around the functionality you need will give you a space that is not only beautiful, but can also serve you well.
Dining Room Design Tips of the Trade
Designing for space is central to the functionality of a dining room. You need to make sure to create flow and comfort for you and your guests.
Dining Table Length: The size of your room along with your entertaining needs will help determine the best table length. To seat your guests comfortably, you will need 24” of table length per chair. So, if you would like to seat 10 people, you will need at least an 8-foot table. However, if your table has legs on all four sides, you will need a longer table as that design tends to push chairs closer together and you do not want to make your guests uncomfortable.
Dining Table Width: We suggest a maximum width of 48” to 52”, otherwise the table is too wide for guests to reach across it. A wide table also puts people so far apart that it makes interaction difficult.
Dining Room Seating: Dining chairs should encourage guests to linger at the table long after the meal is complete. Therefore, comfort is an important part of your seating choice. While expansive chairs may seem like a natural option, less generous dining chairs are easier to fit around a table, providing more room for each guest. We also recommend providing your guests with upholstered rather than hard seating. Your design philosophy will determine your upholstery fabric choice. Elements like lighting, food, table centerpiece, and music can set the magic of the dining space, or you can use the 8-10 chairs covered with a wow fabric to create the tone. At Hoskins Interior Design, we prefer subtly in the dining chairs unless our clients plan to change the fabric often. Something to consider is that while light-colored fabric offers a lovely look, it tends to become unsightly once mustard, gravy or béarnaise sauce has been spilled on it. If you are set on a pale color, we recommend using leather, applying a stain-resistant fabric treatment, or having slip covers made.
Lighting A Dining Room: It makes sense that the bigger the table, the bigger the light fixture you can choose. Two chandeliers can nicely complement tables that exceed 76-78” in length, as long as your ceilings are at least 9 feet tall. Chandeliers should be hung with the bottom-most ornament at a minimum of 60” off the floor. American tables are typically 30” from the floor, leaving 30” between the table and the bottom of the chandelier. If the fixture is placed much higher than that, it will not relate well to the table unless the chandelier is particularly large. Dining room lighting is more about ambiance than task, though canned lights are a nice addition for set up and cleaning. Make sure all of the lights are on dimmers!
Color in Dining Rooms: Some interior designers and chefs believe that the colors of a dining space should support the food. At Hoskins Interior Design, we are of a different mindset, feeling that your home is first and foremost a reflection of your personality. Separate dining rooms offer an opportunity to bring out your fun side, as the limited amount of time you spend in the space will keep you from getting tired of it. Consider bringing in more saturated colors, or hanging some texture on the wall through a large tapestry. Paneled wall coverings or wall papers with distinct patterns can add some pizazz as well.
Dining Room Floor Coverings: If you are choosing a rug to compliment hardwood or tile floors in your dining space, make sure it is large enough for the host and hostess chairs to be able to slide back and still be on the floor covering when the table leaves are in. For example, an 8-foot long table requires at least a 12-foot long rug.
Dining as Part of a Great Room: Many of today’s homes combine the family and dining room into one great room, which works wonderfully for entertaining. The flexibility of the space allows you to instantly change it to suit your current needs. Planning for the many ways you will want to use the space will drive the overall design, particularly the size and placement of furniture. There is no need to hang a chandelier in relation to the dining table in this type of space. Creating an overall lighting plan for the many functions of the room will allow you to move the table, or to expand it into the shared space. It is important to provide enough indirect dimmed light to provide pretty ambient lighting while ensuring your guests can see well enough to avoid eating their napkin.
The goal of designing a dining room is to create a space that encourages guests to enjoy the food and the company. While the room needs to be smashingly beautiful and welcoming, it also needs to function well for how you plan to use it. No one wants to have to sit at the children’s table unless they are really children! Planning for your lifestyle will make entertaining in your home more enjoyable for you and your guests. Looking for more tips on designing a dining room? Send us an email or give us a call at (317) 253-8986.
Light plays a dramatic role in interior design, going beyond look and functionality to how a space affects our mood. The amount and location of natural light sources, how you plan to use the space, and the overall feel you want to create should all be considered when examining the role of light in interior design schemes for your home.
Light Sets the Mood:
Serene, vibrant, gloomy – the amount of light in a space will determine which of these adjectives you use to describe it. While mixing light and color is the best way to create the mood you are looking for, it is imperative that the symbiotic relationship between the two be considered when choosing a color scheme. Paint, which covers the vertical plane of a space, is particularly affected by light. The same color on four walls can take on four different looks depending upon how the light at that part of the day interacts with it. When we choose paint for our clients, we insist that they test the colors by painting a large piece of cement board or poster board and place it all throughout the room at different times of the day. Many times that grey-toned tan during the day becomes greenish at night, bringing a totally different look and feel.
It is also important to consider how the mood you want to create in a space may change depending upon the time of day. Perhaps you are a person who likes to wake up slowly in the morning by sitting in a softly-lit kitchen enjoying your coffee and paper. However, during the busy evening time, you need enough light in that kitchen to cook, entice the kids to do homework, and have family discussions. Into the later hours of day, dimming the lights down helps evoke a relaxing atmosphere. Light is at the heart of all of these moods and people use it this way without even thinking about it. Your design scheme must give you the ability to control the light in your space, allowing the mood you want to create to come alive. Dimmers are central to this control. If your lighting fixture can take it, put a dimmer on it!!
Light Is Functionality:
A central determining factor in your ability to use a space effectively is the amount of appropriate light. The size of the room does not matter—inadequate or improper light affects the quality of your living! A poorly-lit kitchen makes preparing meals challenging, while a southern-facing bedroom with lots of uncovered windows makes the all-important toddler nap impossible! The effect of natural light should even be considered when placing a new home on a piece of land. The western sun beating down on a wall of windows will make that space unbearable to use in the late afternoons and evenings.
How you plan to use a space throughout the day must be considered when creating a lighting plan. What kind of light do you need: ambient? task? accent? layered? Each room will have a different lighting need. Most rooms in today’s homes have canned lights for overall lighting. However, placing too many of these lights can make your ceiling look like Swiss cheese (not attractive), provide more light than necessary, and give the space too much of the same kind of light. Canned lights are direct illumination sources that come from the ceiling. Indirect light from other heights creates a more pleasing and functional design. At Hoskins Interior Design, we try to light most rooms with a combination of lighting to create the desired look. We love lamps because they allow better control of the functionality of the light since you can place them where you need them. In a kitchen, under cabinet lighting, appropriately sized-pendants over an island, and cabinet lights for mullioned doors are a must. Again, don’t forget the dimmers!
Window treatments and glass-tinting film are your friends when you are trying to control how natural light will affect the functionality of your space. Sunlight fades fabrics and flooring, so place tinting film on windows to protect your design investment. Natural light also adds glare to computers and TVs – window treatments can help alleviate this issue. And, for that napping toddler, room-darkening shades are a lifesaver.
Finally, the style of your lighting will affect its functionality too. For example, sconces with opaque shades will provide directed light with no ambient illumination coming off it. Lighting has become quite technical these days as technology continues to advance. Many lighting options require special bulbs that have the same wattage you are used to but give off fewer lumens and therefore less light. If you are planning a large remodeling project or new home build, we suggest bringing in a lighting specialist to help guide you through your options.
As you can see, to create a beautiful and functional home, light cannot be an afterthought. For more information on choosing the right lighting for your space, read our blog: Creating a Beautiful and Functional Whole House Lighting Design. Or, feel free to send us an email or give us a call at 317.253.8986.
From a functional and stylistic view, lighting is one of the most important aspects of an interior design scheme. Appropriate illumination is needed for different tasks and different times of the day. Also, decorative lighting is like artwork or sculpture for your home. It is usually placed within your line of sight and tends to be the first thing visitors notice, making the quality of your fixtures central to the look of your home.
Since it plays such a large role in the success of our designs, we work with the contractor on a new build or remodeling project to manage the whole house lighting design. Many times we end up making many changes to the original design to reflect the planned functional and stylistic needs of the space. We also prepare our clients for the real cost of lighting; when you are building or remodeling a home, you should plan to spend a minimum of 2.5% of the total value of the home on lighting. Since these elements are illuminated, and therefore immediately draw the eye, it is quite apparent when your lighting scheme is not done well. Why diminish a gorgeous design you are already investing in by holding back on this vital piece? Admittedly, we sometimes have to convince our clients to increase or rearrange their budget to accommodate quality lighting, but in the end they always thank us. When the project is complete and every visitor comments first on the lighting, its central role in the overall design becomes crystal clear.
Here are some ideas to consider when creating a whole house lighting design:
Develop a Plan: The key to success in whole house lighting is balance. Mixing the general illumination of recessed canned lighting with task and decorative lighting is what creates the ambiance of your home. Consider how you will live in each space and develop a lighting plan that suits your needs. Take into account the overall look of your home as well. Is there a special piece of art you want illuminated? Have you created a design feature you want to highlight? If you are not consulting with an experienced interior designer, work with a qualified lighting specialist to ensure your lighting plan is going to achieve what you need. Functionality, safety, and aesthetics are all a part of that process.
Create a Cohesive Look: Just like other design elements, it is important to keep the look of your lighting fixtures cohesive throughout your house. Classic lighting styles are your best investment if you plan to keep your home, as there will be less need to change it over time. However, if you want to try trendy, go for it! Just understand that you will be changing it out as styles evolve. Cohesive does not mean the same -mix different types of fixtures! Chandeliers, sconces, pendants, flush mount, semi flush, track lighting, canned lighting, art lights – have some fun with your options.
Scale Can Make or Brake the Success of Your Design: We talk about scale in almost every blog post we write, because it is usually the reason why something seems “wrong” with a room. Because quality lighting can be expensive, some homeowners will purchase pieces that are too small for the space. We draw all fixtures into our design schemes, ensuring they will complement rather than underwhelm. When you are weighing your options, also consider how scale will relate to functionality and space: does the fixture have enough wattage for your needs? Does it give off light where you need it to go? Unfortunately, the prettiest ones may not be the best choice when weighing all of your needs.
Add Dimmers to All of Your Switches: Adding dimmers to each piece of lighting allows you to control the mood of your space. Have you ever realized that you need more light during the day than at night? Daytime tends to be the most active time in a home. But once dinner and early evening busyness is over, we dim or turn off the lights to create a relaxing atmosphere. Note: There are special considerations with adding dimmers so make sure they are reflected in your lighting plan.
At Hoskins Interior Design, we firmly believe in “no more boring lighting”! There is no need for your lighting to look like everyone else’s when you are working with an experienced designer with access to trade-only resources. Lighting warehouses and websites are overwhelming, and we find that many homeowners end up choosing fixtures they really do not like. Because we understand the many details behind what makes a fixture the right choice, we are able to lead you through your options toward those that fit your design. Your lighting needs to match the style of the home you are creating. If you are investing in quality design, architecture, materials, and furniture, your lighting should follow suit.
Questions on how to create a beautiful and functional whole house lighting plan? Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986.