Impress your guests. Marble is a big investment but without exception marble dining tables are nearly always showstoppers. Tables crafted from quality imported marble are extremely beautiful. Buy without guilt if you truly fall in love with one – marble's timeless appeal will make it a table that is always in fashion – but do be aware that a marble tabletop comes with a couple of drawbacks. First marble tables of any kind are bulky and heavy. Second they have to be well looked after as the marble can crack and stain. To overcome these limitations to buying a marble table as a forever piece choose a small round table which is a lighter choice than most rectangular ones while still being able to seat four to six guests. To avoid stains keep the table cleared and clean at all times covering it with a tablecloth or placemats when red wine and foods that can damage marble are on the menu.
Smoky glass chandelier. Smoky glass paired with filament bulbs creates a one‐two ambience punch that is ideal for intimate dinner parties. In the dining space shown here the sculptural chandelier is complemented by a smooth walnut dining table and midcentury teak chairs.
Swing‐arm sconce. A swing‐arm sconce designed to extend over the table (like the one shown here) is an unexpected alternative to the traditional chandelier and can work even for renters if you choose a plug‐in version. Because the bulb is exposed you'll need to use a lower‐watt filament bulb to create that lovely soft glow. But because one low‐watt bulb is not enough to light a room on its own it is necessary to supplement with additional lighting – try a second sconce or a pair of lamps atop a credenza.
Statement chandelier and flowering branches. A gorgeous statement‐making chandelier like the hot‐pink one shown here plus tall vases of flowering branches creates a subtle separation between spaces – perfect for an open‐plan home.
Massive paper lantern. Suspended over the table like a full moon the paper lantern is on a grand scale making this dining space so impressive. And while an authentic Noguchi paper lantern is stunning there are paper lanterns available at all prices and in all sizes.
Same chair same color family. A riff on the same‐chair different‐colors idea but with more subtlety. The idea here is to choose closely related colors – try earth tones or shades of a single hue.
First‐class compartment. In keeping with the warm minimalist elements featured elsewhere in this California ranch house this nook has cedar ceilings Sheetrock walls exposed timber framing and structural steel windows. The site for the house is edged with mature evergreen trees and opens to a field with views out to the Pacific Ocean. With its panoramic‐size window and glorious outlook to a countryside vista this sleek dine‐in nook is a stylish way to eat at home.
Covered dining. This dining space has a wood alcove built up and over a table creating an elegant dining space that looks like a private dining booth in an upscale bistro. The mix of materials from the timber paneling to the channeled upholstery and stone table adds sophistication to the alcove's slick urban look.