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9 Tricks for Creating a Cozy, Welcoming Dining Room

9 Tricks for Creating a Cozy, Welcoming Dining Room

Eating together as a family is a great way to reconnect, and whether you have a formal dining room, eat-in kitchen or both, a streamlined, pretty dining area will make the experience even more special. If your dining area has been a little neglected, it’s time to clear it out and make way for the holiday season. Here are some of my tricks for creating a cozy, welcoming dining room.

  1. Decide what functions take place in your dining room. My dining room was just for eating and hosting company…until my son became a Cub Scout and his den started using it for meetings. Now I need to figure out how to gracefully combine scouting into a formal dining room.  What functions does your dining room fulfill? Is it strictly for eating, or is it also used for office work, kids’ art projects, homework, entertaining, crafts? Remove everything that isn’t directly related to those functions so you can see what you have to deal with.
  2. Clear off the table, and do your best to keep it clear. You can’t do any of the functions listed above if you can’t find the table!
  3. If you have storage pieces in your dining room, such as built-ins, curio cabinets or bookcases, clean them out so they only contain items related to the functions of your dining room. It’s great to store extra dishes, entertaining pieces, placemats and tablecloths in the dining room. It is not great to store extra toilet paper, bed linens or toys in the dining room.
  4. If you use the dining table as an office space, find a place to store your office supplies and files so they aren’t always on the table. A rolling file cabinet, some baskets or a pretty box can hide office paraphernalia so you can enjoy your dinner without distraction. This will be the tactic I take for the scouting materials that are currently taking over my table.
  5. Some people like to keep the table set for a meal all the time, as decor. I have cats and kids, so I don’t do that. I like my table clear, with a simple centerpiece of candles or flowers, so I’m ready to set as soon as we’re ready to eat. If the table needs to be used for something else, it’s simple to clear away that one little centerpiece.
  6. If you have kids and upholstered chairs, consider throwing together some simple seat protectors to protect your seating. Spraying the fabric with a stain resister works too. Make sure to attack any stains quickly so they don’t have a chance to set. I love my microfiber chair covers because (so far) I’ve been able to easily clean off anything my kids can throw at them.
  7. Dust off your light fixture, and if you can, add a dimmer to your overhead lighting to instantly add ambiance to any meal. I had to change a light bulb and the new bulb was perfectly clear while the rest were hazy. I had no idea it had gotten that dusty up there. A quick wipe down with a damp rag made all the bulbs clear again (and brightened the space immensely). How long has it been since your lighting has seen a dust rag?
  8. After every meal, clean the table. It’s annoying to find crusty sauce and milk splatters on the table hours after your last meal. Make sure you use a cleaner suitable for the type of table you have — no harsh cleaners on wood tables, please! Check under the table too for spills and crumbs.
  9. Don’t forget a little decoration. A clean, harmonious color scheme can set the tone for the space without creating clutter. A few simple pictures on the wall, some unfussy window treatments and a couple of candles can make the dining area feel cozy and welcoming without adding unnecessary clutter.
9 Tricks for Creating a Cozy, Welcoming Dining Room

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