Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dining Room Daydreams

While I've been working on the foyer/stair/upstairs hallway painting project that I mentioned here, I've had a lot of time to think about the other rooms in the house that will need my attention once the painting project is complete (which hopefully will be this weekend - fingers crossed!).

Although I'd love to start tackling the upstairs rooms, I've also been thinking a lot about the dining room.  Our dear old dining room has had many transformations over the past few months, from getting a new rug here, to being the destination of our Thanksgiving feast here, and bunking up with our Christmas tree here.  It's been very convenient to have a versatile room that can be changed around to meet our current need whether it is opening up some space for a casual party for friends or setting up some tables for a formal sit-down dinner with our family.  However, with the holiday season behind us, the dining room has become a virtually empty, unused space.  Over the past week or so I've thought a lot about how I want to furnish the room in order to promote as much use as possible.  Since we don't have a "bonus" room, the living room, dining room, and kitchen comprise the total common space in our house.  Because of that, I really want the dining room to function not only as a dining space but also as an additional living space.  Figuring out how to get a combination of both has been a challenge.

I started thinking about some restaurants that I really enjoy as a source of inspiration and direction for this project.  Right now I'm just in the planning stage but I want to make sure that I'm certain of the plan before making any major commitments.  One restaurant that immediately came to mind was the Wild Horse in Beverly.  My friends and I have been going to the Wild Horse since we were in college, and I believe what keeps us coming back there time and time again (aside from the delicious martinis and unbelievable nachos) is the cozy ambiance that the Wild Horse achieves through dimmed lighting and very comfortable seating.  The Wild Horse has arranged an eclectic collection of oversized chairs and couches with small cafe-sized tables to crate a cozy atmosphere for its patrons.  As soon as you sit down, you feel instantly relaxed.  I want to achieve the same feeling in my dining room.

Once I had a clear picture in my head of what I want to try in the dining room, I went on Pinterest so see if I could find a few pictures that combined cozy, comfortable seating with a dining table.  Here are some of my favorite pictures.
The picture below doesn't have the cozy seating at the table, but I liked how they added some living space to the room with the comfortable chair in the foreground.  I also like the combination of the rustic benches with the modern table.
I'm pretty much 100% sold on the idea of using at least one sofa/settee in combination with a bench or chairs for the seating at the table.  These pictures confirmed that it can be done while keeping the overall look very clean and cohesive.  I like how the sofa/settee creates a surprise element but is also very inviting.  Today I found a settee online that I might plan to purchase as a starting point.  I ran it by Ryan and he approved (hooray!).  Now I'll have a lot to think about while I finish painting over the weekend!

Photos: here, here, here, here and here

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