Question: We have lived with
a formal dining room for years, and although I love having the separate dining
space, I don’t like the way it feels. It is just too stuffy. How can I create a
casual - but still sophisticated - dining room? We have a separate breakfast
room, so this is mostly for dinners.
Phoebe's Answer: The main ingredient you need to remove from a room in order to create a relazed atmosphere is fear. Fear of ruining something, spilling wine, or causing any other damage that might make you less likely to use the space. A dining room generally takes up a lot of space in most houses, and it is a shame to let this room go to waste. There are several ways to make a dining room feel more casual and carefree:
- Slipccovers on dining chairs not only look relaxed, but are practical because they can be easily removed, and washed, and also replaced with new ones from time to time.
- Outdoor fabrics make it so much easier because of stain repellents in the fabrics. There are many wonderful options in a variety of textures and colors today.
- Use a more casual chair frame, and shy away from tradition mahogany chair frames.
- Avoid the cliche double-pedestal mahogany dining table, and consider painted or lighter wood tones. This not only loosens up a dining room, but also is more durable for family wear and tear.
- Be more creative in chandelier choices, this is an area to have some fun!
- Use a less expensive rug, or no rug, so you don't need to worry about stains.
Here are some examples of casual dining rooms from our projects: