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.
Black is always the new black. If you aren't expecting your table to suffer wear and tear choose the most sophisticated and elegant table you've always dreamed of owning. Black tables are notoriously tricky especially if they are veneered because the smallest scratch will show up. If you are the careful type however black is super cool and will always be so.
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.
Settle on a shape that will work in most rooms. Round tables look good in compact rooms and living areas that have square dining zones. They also offer flexible seating. If you buy a six‐seater eight can usually be accommodated at a pinch – the larger the diameter the more people can be seated. On the other hand rectangular tables have limited seating spots due to the position of the table legs and because only one person can be seated at each end. However if you choose a rectangular table with leaves the table can be extended to accommodate extra guests whenever an event is planned such as for a family Christmas or birthday party.
Invest in a blue chip: A case for retro. Anything retro should be considered a keepsake piece of furniture that has the potential to be handed down from generation to generation. The dining table that catches your eye at a market or auction may not be particularly fashionable or even fit into your present decor scheme but don't let that deter you from buying something of quality and style from another era. It may well prove to be the best investment of all escalating in value in the decades to come.
High‐backed bench on one side folding chairs on the other. The casual vibe of simple café‐style folding chairs is balanced here by a comfortable upholstered settee on the other side and slipcovered chairs at the ends. If you already have a stately traditional piece (like this settee) folding café chairs can make it feel more casual – plus they are easy on the budget.
Bump‐out table and globe light. A waterfall‐edge table attached to the wall takes up little floor space yet has a big presence. Hanging a simple pendant light directly over the table focuses attention on the area and provides a warmer glow than the regular kitchen lighting.
Different chairs same color. Sort of like the trend in bridesmaids' dresses to have the ladies pick their own dresses as long as they are in the same hue mixing and matching chair shapes is easy when you match the color. It does help to choose chairs in the same general style (modern traditional) to keep them feeling like a set.