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.
You can't go wrong with a classic country table. Generally the country‐style dining table is large and therefore suitable for families or for people who regularly entertain. These tables are usually made from a solid timber like oak or pine making them very robust. They also have an uncomplicated design suitable for most schemes although pleasingly many country tables feature elegantly turned legs that support the tabletop. The only real consideration in buying this style of table is whether to go for an upmarket one such as a French colonial table or one with the rustic appeal of an English country farmhouse. Whatever you choose to suit your home you can be assured that both will look drop‐dead gorgeous when they are set and dressed for a country farmhouse feast.
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.
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.
Norwegian wood. In this country kitchen designed by architect Christine Fikseaunet a simple window seat with an upholstered banquette cushion is paired with a wood table to create a casual dining setting. With the addition of a small screen in the corner of the nook it also allows for communal television viewing among family members or friends.
Retro kitchen and dining nook. This small eating nook would work well in a house with midcentury aspirations. It's plain and simple but has been well decorated with a set of shelves that also acts as a divider. The wall map is a retro classroom touch that can encourage guests to share after‐dinner stories of their world travels. Decorating the area with fun travel posters from faraway places can also encourage the exchange of personal travel stories and tips for future adventures.
Color is cool but beware the trendy hue. Today's on‐trend shade is tomorrow's fashion fail so choose wisely. Classic colors such as the primaries (red yellow and blue) usually have staying power mainly because they are so unapologetically basic. Red is a very popular color especially in homes that have a subtle Asian theme as red is a color traditionally associated with celebration and this will work even if the home is minimalist and modern.
Geometric play. This small dining nook was designed by Kimball Starr Interior Design in San Francisco. Starr says her clients wanted the area off the kitchen to be used as an activity nook for playing board games with friends; she added a touch of grown‐up glamour with impressive geometric pendants and a custom banquette upholstered in a playful fabric.
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