Monday, March 11, 2013

Never Use The Dining Room

I never did either.
In most homes the dining room lies empty most of the time. No relaxing and reading the paper over breakfast, no conversations over dinner, it's just waiting around for the next holiday. If you don't have a separate dining room but an area for eating in the kitchen, we covered that in a previous article on the kitchen. This time, we're going to concentrate on the actual separate dining room.

Beautiful but cold Dining Room via Houzz

In Feng Shui, the dining room is related to the earth. It involves sustenance, refueling and replenishing nourishment. Hard to achieve with on the go, standing up eating over the sink meals!

Earthy, warm and serene Dining via Houzz

Dining rooms should have an intimate, peaceful energy to it. Taking time to sit down and eat is vital to health and digestion. When we wait for a special occasion to do so, we are telling ourselves we aren't worth the daily effort. Psychologists say that sitting down to a meal at least once a day helps the family reconnect and stay together. So when we make a peaceful, serene haven to dine in with quiet music, no TV or cellphones and soft lighting we are nurturing and energizing our lives.

Dark, intimate and mysterious dining via Houzz

First we want to select the right chair. It must fit and support the body and have enough heft for safety. Ever get up from a lightweight dining chair and have it fall backwards? Annoying! Make sure you can sit back and relax with no pokies to gouge your back. Any material for the frame is fine, blending into your decor is important for a cohesive look. Just make sure it has padding and upholstery for comfort in all the right places. Comfort means staying seated longer to enjoy oneself instead of jumping up to rescue a leg that has gone to sleep! I prefer to keep all the chairs equal in size. Feng Shui tells us that King and Queen chairs communicate inequality around the table and keep give the impression the "secondary" diners have less status in the home. Make sure everyone has a good view, sit in all the seats and adjust where they are at the table if need be.

Pick a favorite color to sit on via Google

The artwork should be complementary to your decor but have a more simple feel rather than complicated abstracts. Seascapes, landscapes, still lifes and people are good choices.  I don't usually like to have portraits in the dining room, too distracting to have ancestors watching you eat! This is the place to put your prized possessions whether in a china cupboard, on the table or displayed around the room. Mirrors are usually not recommended in dining rooms, people have a tendency to watch themselves eat. I have had good results using small mirrors with artwork to send the light sparkling all over the room. Enchanting!

Artwork via Pinterest

Speaking of lighting, mimic outdoors whenever possible. Lighting changes throughout the day and seasons, notice how it affects the room. Add lighting in dark corners and use soft illumination overhead with dimmers. No harsh fluorescent bulbs or high wattage bulbs please! I personally feel that candlelight  for evening dining should make a comeback. Romantic and soft, it makes everyone look and feel good! Ceiling fans should be high up and not directly over the table. Use room fans in regions of high temperatures.Ceiling fans low over the table promote arguments as the ch'i chops up and keeps people on edge.

Good lighting (not so good artwork) utilizing daylight, track and overhead via Houzz

Place plants in the room for softness and adding nature into the room.Flowers on the table are always welcome. Make sure they don't overpower the table and stay low enough for conversation to flow across. Keep them in perfect shape if they are silk or dried arrangements. Fruit is always welcome on the table as well as beautiful sculptures. In the above example, soft shades or draperies would also be appropriate.

Nice linens and simple tablescaping via Pinterest

Let's discuss table shapes. Round and oval tables are soft and curvy in feel. Rectangles can work, just make sure the corners are rounded. Right angled corners have no place on the dining room table.  Not only are they sharp but the shape represents inequality and inflexibility. Glass tables are generally considered too uncomfortable for diners, if rectangle, the  edges are too sharp and  if it's oval, too cold for lingering diners. If you have a glass, rectangle or square table, don't despair! Just throw a tablecloth over it when dining. Make sure the table is to the size of daily use and not overly large. A single diner would feel lonely at a table for six. Take out a leaf or two if need be. Table can't be smaller? Set one end for small dining and place plants, sculpture or crockery artistically on the other end. It's all about comfort and lingering!

Curvy and shapely table via Houzz

Remember to add the five elements into the decor, follow the basics above and have fun decorating a perfect dining sanctuary for fabulous meals. See you next time!

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