>> Jul 23, 2013
Out of all the rooms in a household, the dining room represents the hub of a home. As opposed to gathering in a living room and watching a movie or listening to music, meal times are when a family will actively engage with one another on a variety of topics. In fact, some of the most indelible memories are created in such an environment. So, it only makes sense that the centrepiece of this room be truly unique and attractive. A few considerations need to be made to transform what otherwise may have been a rather dull room into an area that is both entertaining and welcoming.
Before we can address how to decorate a table, the design of the table itself must be chosen. A table should be large enough to accommodate all family members (or in the case of a young family, even some members that may not be around just yet). At the same time, a surface that is too large can feel impersonal and take away from the very intimate atmosphere a dining room should embrace. Round tables are excellent for a small family while rectangular ones are better suited for a family of five people or more. The materials can vary as well; wood represents a softer and more traditional option while metal or glass echoes a sleek, modern and refined appearance.
The next step is the decor of the table; that is, what additions will turn a table into a true centrepiece. A rather interesting idea that many homes have employed is to associate the items on the table with the outdoor seasons. Thus, a winter motif may consist of a store-bought ornamental snowman in the centre above a white and red tablecloth and surrounded by seasonal placemats. Autumn can be represented by a wicker basket full of multicoloured leaves joined by a few small gourds or (for the Americans out there), ears of dried corn.
A final consideration that is certain to make a lasting impression is by choosing to personalise the very items on the table itself. Bespoke glass platters displaying a photograph or unique artwork are an excellent idea. Individual aprons donning a monogram or a full name are ideal for holiday gatherings. In the same respect, glassware with each family member's name is another way to bring a sense of connectivity and belonging to an intimate gathering.
The bottom line is that there is a fine balance between a catchy design and an obtrusive and even overwhelming dining environment. Designs should be kept simple, entertaining and above all, they should be changed every few months. After all, a family should not anticipate a meal together for the food alone!
Tim Aldiss writes for Scarlett Willow, the home of personalised tableware.