Choosing furniture is often difficult at the best of times, but an open plan dining room makes it even harder.
Open plan living spaces are not the easiest to furnish or decorate, so here are some tips to help you avoid some of the more serious errors that can turn a creative dining room into a mismatched jumble.
Open areas cannot be regarded as individual rooms, with their own style of décor and furniture, but as matched or contrasting split living areas – which in reality is exactly what they are! When choosing furniture for an open plan dining room you should also consider the décor and lighting, and the need for a focal area in each room involved in the open space. For example, this might be a fireplace or entertainment unit in a living room, and a dining table, buffet or even a specific window in the room. Your furniture should comfortably fit the available space – cramming in too much furniture will spoil the effect. You should select a table, for example, that allows ample room for traffic and for guests to be seated. This applies to any room of course, but is particularly true of an open plan arrangement. Many open dining areas are fairly small, so a small table would best, but one that can be extended to seat more when you have dinner guests. A slimline buffet for your crockery and cutlery would also be useful, and many are available today that take up very little floor space when set against a wall. They also look good
The materials and colors you select can make all the difference to open plan living, and you have a wide choice of each when choosing furniture for a dining room. If you have a small room, you can give an illusion of space by using metal frame glass tables, or even acrylic furniture. However, for many that might be too radical, and light-colored dining room furniture is a good alternative. Many people furnish the living room with solid ark stained oak or American cherry, and use lightly stained oak or even white furniture in the dining area. By combining a good choice of furniture with well-placed lighting, it is possible to expand the apparent depth of any room in comparison with the general living area. Mirrors are an excellent way to make a smaller room larger. When choosing furniture, you might also consider one or two mirrors that can enhance the overall open plan effect. Some people elect to use mirrors in their living and dining areas that reflect each other, and in so doing not only add depth, but also bring the two together. Carvers’ Guild, for example, offer decorative mirrors suitable for both living rooms and dining rooms, and are ideal wall decor for open plan living areas.
Many people ask whether the various areas in an open plan design should share a common decorative theme. If you use the same style, such as employing a contemporary, colonial or traditional style of furnishing for each area, the living and dining areas will flow into each other, and it is generally recommend that you do this: you should treat the two as being a single large room, although you can accentuate differences using accent pieces and individual items of home décor. For example, do not use a Stickley classical colonial style in your living room and Simply Amish mission furniture in your dining room because they will clash and not look right together. By using lighting such as spotlights, accent lighting and even different levels of lighting, you can differentiate between the two areas visually, and you can also do a lot with the windows in each part of the area. If your dining room is also an open plan kitchen, then solid wood cabinets can be used to match up closely with the style of the dining and living room furniture. A hardwood dining table and chairs, and the other furniture then match with the style of the living room. One important factor is that the curtains or drapes in each area do not clash, and that the wall covering, be it paper or paint, match well between the two. It is often difficult to add your own personal touch when choosing furniture for an open plan dining room, but there are ways to add character. The way you divide the space between the two areas offers several options, and you can often produce stunning results that will impress your dinner guests and your visitors. By use of individual focal areas, home accents such as mirrors and lighting and also dividing the rooms using a good choice of furniture, you can stamp your own personality on your home while maintaining a continuity of design between the open areas. Choosing furniture for an open plan dining room is not as difficult as you may at first believe because there are many furniture stores that will give you all the help and advice you need to do a good job.