After struggling to easily find the right items to furnish her own apartment, Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, was inspired to create an online platform to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible. Here, Deirdre shares her advice to help you compose a beautiful dining set that is both functional and fabulous.
For many of us, entertaining at home is a favourite way to socialise with friends and family. To make your gathering extra-enjoyable, a well-presented eating area can elevate a simple meal to a full-on hospitality experience. Your whole dining set is much more than the individual pieces within – it’s about the entire environment. Whatever the budget and space you have to play with, here are my top tips for putting together a dazzling dining set that will impress your guests at any occasion.
Top tip 1) First, focus on the table
From elegant and traditional to modern and contemporary, a befitting table is key to creating the perfect dining set – it’s where all the action will happen after all! The size and shape of your room and your overall interior style will dictate the type of table you should opt for, but remember that furniture looks best when it fits comfortably into a space, so avoid anything that is too big.
When you first choose a table, think about the functionality it needs to offer. With the rise of open-plan living, the dining table is often highly multifunctional and used for everything from daily dinner time with the kids, weekly Sunday roasts with the extended family through to the occasional lavish dinner party, so it’s crucial the design delivers the versatility you need. However, there are many flexible, extendable options available, so even if you only have dinner guests a couple of times a year, you can be ready to accommodate them.
Consider the best position for the table within the room and imagine you are ‘setting a stage’ to ensure the most successful, stylish dining set-up. Make sure the size and shape will allow clear walkways on all the sides, movability for chairs and easy access to adjacent sideboards and cupboards.
Take a look at our Top Tips for Choosing the Perfect Dining Table for more advice on the key factors to consider
Top tip 2) Choose chairs for comfort
As with your dining table, chairs should offer the practicality you need for everyday life, whilst also having the features to create a welcoming location where guests feel settled. People tend to linger much longer at the table on special occasions, enjoying drinks or after-dinner chat, so choosing a comfortable design is an important part of ensuring your dining set is fit-for-purpose.
Make sure chairs easily fit underneath your table and allow adequate manoeuvrability, lap and leg space to guarantee comfort. Also think about the symmetry of chair placement around the table for a carefully styled look.
When picking a material, consider its suitability for both ad-hoc entertaining and your daily requirements, and think about how the chairs will complement your table in terms of aesthetics and your overall interior decor.
You could also consider buying additional chairs; this will provide future flexibility in the event of a larger dinner party, and could be used elsewhere in the house in the meantime.
Top tip 3) Dress your dining set
Whether your table is large or small, round or rectangular, what really creates a wow factor at a special event is one that is beautifully dressed with clear attention to detail. Stylish table dressing can be done relatively inexpensively, and choosing gorgeous crockery, cutlery and accessories can transform a standard meal into a really special event.
Celebrations such as significant life events, religious days and get together’s provide the opportunity to experiment and add some fresh ideas to your dining set. Using accessories such as garlands, table scatters and candles will create a warm and cozy atmosphere, with flowers providing a year-round way of injecting splashes of colour or fresh, crisp greenery.
Exploring different ranges of glassware and dinnerware with various shapes, sizes, shades and designs can change the mood of a dining setting. Choose matching tableware for an elegant effect or a contrasting mix of dinner and side plates for a more playful design. Even if you don’t want to go all out, simple napkins and holders in a striking print will add a chic and thoughtful touch without overwhelming the table
Top tip 4) Incorporate textiles and soft furnishings
Positioning a rug underneath your table is an excellent way to ensure the space is welcoming and aesthetically striking, and can link your whole scheme together by bringing colour, texture and warmth to the dining area.
To choose one that is both pleasing and practical, pick a flat weave or short-pile rug in an easy-clean material, and go for a size that allows a border of at least 60cm of room on all sides of the dining table so guests can easily pull out chairs without catching on the edges.
You can use the rug to set the tone for the space and develop a colour scheme, and can extend this by adding soft furnishings to your chairs. Don’t just be limited by standard seat pads – scatter cushions, slip-on covers or even small faux fur rugs draped over the backs are interesting ways to add additional depth, interest and comfort. Table cloths, runners and place mats in your chosen colour palette all add a touch of well thought-out design. Be careful not to over-layer though, and mix prints and patterns tastefully.
Top tip 5) Style the surroundings
The key to a beautiful overall dining set is to ensure the area around it supports the look – a carefully laid table is going to be seriously undermined if there is clutter and chaos surrounding it in the rest of the room!
A sideboard, dresser or wall unit placed close by can help you keep surfaces clear, and also provide convenient storage for extra items you might need throughout a meal without having to keep dashing back to the kitchen. If you don’t have room for a permanent piece of extra dining furniture, a fold-away side table can provide a very useful over spill space for drinks and extra dishes so as not to overcrowd the main table.
To add a sense of balance to the dining set-up, hang pieces of art, prints or a mirror on a wall close by to enhance the personality and intimacy of the area, and create a complementary statement to the table layout.
Top tip 6) Choose movable features
Extending your dining set with a variety of movable seating options can be an ingenious and often overlooked way of accommodating guests and creating an area they really want to spend time in. This will be space-dependent, but incorporating additional stools, cubes or pouffes can evoke a relaxed, sociable dynamic and encourage movement and interaction during post-dinner conversation.
If your available space is particularly small, or you have an open-plan layout, there are some beautiful movable screens available that can help demarcate the dining area and highlight its function, attributing more focus on your dining arrangement and screening off areas you don’t want on show, such as a messy kitchen!
Top tip 7) Light up the dining area
Incorporating light fixtures that will offer the right combination of task and ambient lighting is essential to creating an environment perfect for entertaining. Delicate, dimmable lighting is the ideal option for a dining area, and will allow you to adjust the specific mood depending on the occasion and the time of day – as well as being more flattering for your guests.
Base your lighting around the dining table with a really stunning feature piece such as a statement chandelier, pendant lamp or, for a really on-trend look, a series of drop lights above the table; typically, the bottom of the light fixture should be around 90cm above the table.
Whilst the emphasis should be on the table, multiple light sources will have a mellow effect, so layer your focal lighting with afew other lamps to create a softer, more intimate feel to beautifully illuminate your dining set.
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