Dining Room Design - Part I – Color
When I was growing up, we used to visit my grandparents - who lived about an hour away - every other Sunday or so. I loved them dearly and fondly remember those days. I have particularly vivid memories of playing with the tassels on the grand window treatments in my grandmother's dining room, which was somewhat off-limits. You see, this was one of those dining rooms that was only used on Sundays, a really formal space with burgundy brocades and velvets, a table that could easily seat 14 - it could never be 13, that was considered bad luck - and a highly prized collection of Val St Lambert crystal on the polished sideboard. I always thought it was a shame the room was not used more often, as we had such special gatherings there.
Years later, as I moved to the USA, I heard similar stories from friends whose grandparents went to great lengths to keep the dining room in pristine condition. Clear plastic covers on the seats were a big thing it seems. One particular grandmother went completely overboard: in addition to the seat covers, she also wrapped every single door handle and knob in the house with tin foil, and laid down Saran™ wrap “pathways” on all the carpets in the house. I think we can all agree that she went a little overboard...
Thankfully such measures are no longer necessary. Calico's wide assortment of performance fabrics – Crypton Home, Sunbrella, Bella-Dura and Sensuede – are available in a gorgeous array of colors and patterns, makes it easy to decorate for the real world. You know: the world where we embrace our messy kids, clumsy husbands and occasionally ill-behaved pets. After all, the idea is to spend quality time at dinner with your family and friends, not with your dry cleaner.
Now that those practical concerns are a thing of the past, it's time to look at dining rooms in a whole new light. Here are some of my favorite designs. How about these gorgeous all-white dining rooms? No one in their right mind would host a toddler's birthday party in a room with white silk chairs, but if they were upholstered in Calico's Crypton Home fabrics, no problem - spills roll right off and stains spot clean easily.
If you like the look of vintage linens and ticking stripes in the summer, slipcovers are the way to go. Upholster you chairs in a heavier fabric for the colder months – velvets are a perfect choice, and they come a wide array of colors – and invest in one or more sets of (washable) slipcovers for a seasonal decorating update.
The newest trend in dining room shades? Soothing “spa” colors, such as pale blue, seafoam and celadon.
For the more adventurous among you, try the bolder version of this trend: from peacock greens and deep teals to vivid cobalts and electric blues. Major style statement guaranteed!
The sleek lines of mid-century modern style chairs are perfect for these brighter colors. Keep the rest of the room's décor simple and the walls light in color.
Custom “couture” touches, such as embroidery details on chair backs, and seat cushions with bow ties and scalloped skirts - make a world of difference.
And don't forget about the trimmings: nailheads, tapes, cords, even tassels! Talk through all the options with your upholsterer or Calico design consultant. To be continued....