Last week we gave you tips on the steps you should be taking to get your kitchen ready for Christmas, don't just stop there however, whether you have an open plan dining space, or a dedicated dining room, now is also the time to start thinking about how you can get it ready for the 25th of December.
Many of us ignore our formal dining areas for much of the year — No matter if we’re just eating a regular weekday meal or we have friends over, we often choose to do so at more informal places like the kitchen island, or even on the sofa in front of the TV.
The irregularity of use of the main dining room table, in many homes, wherever it is. Means that this is an area we tend to forget about when it comes to making improvements and decorating. Choosing instead to focus on the living room, kitchen, bathroom or bedrooms. However, this becomes a problem at events such as Christmas, when it really is this area’s time to shine.
Don't worry if you're dining room could do with a little TLC, the truth is turning a sparse or gloomy dining room in a bountiful room fit for a banquet is really easy, just follow these tips.
Clear the clutter
This should be the first step on anyone’s list, and should perhaps go without saying. But we’ve all been there, visiting friend’s or family for a meal, and being forced to eat in a dining area that’s crowded with items that could easily be somewhere else in the home. Hoovers, kids toys, clothes horses covered in damp tea towels. We know these items get in the way, but you should surely be able to find a better place to put them on Christmas day. You toiled for hours getting this meal ready, don’t let it down by making your friends and family feel like they’re eating it in a utility room.
Fix up your table and chairs
If you can, try to ensure that all of your guests have matching dining chairs, we do appreciate however that this is expensive. If you want to avoid the cost of buying a new dining set of chairs to accommodate every one then mix and match, just try to ensure that all of the chairs are the same height so you don’t have diners seated at different levels.
Check places like eBay, junk shops and Gumtree, to see if you can relatively inexpensively pick up a set of vintage dining chairs. A couple of hours one weekend spent with some sandpaper and pastel paint could be all it takes to create a beautiful set of new dining chairs. If you want to take it even further and you’re a dab hand with a needle and thread why not pick up some fabric and stuffing and try upholstering them yourself?
Space around the table can also be an issue especially if you’ve got the whole extended family around. Rather than putting together a selection of different tables you’ve fished out of the shed to try and gather everyone around, see if you can get extendable table that will accommodate everyone. The great thing about these is that if you’re worried about it taking up too much the rest of the year, you just need to remove a couple of panels to reduce its size.
Give it a lick of paint or a splash of wallpaper
There still might be time to have the walls touched up by a professional(why not give Opun a call to find out?) after all it’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to breath a bit of life into an area. Still, sooner is better than later. Remember that the scent of fresh paint can linger for a little while, and we’re sure you’d rather your home smell of mulled wine, cinnamon and all manner of delicious treats this Crimbo rather than paint. Certain low and no VOC brands of paint such as those by Farrow & Ball are supposed to have less of a odour issue, which could by you more time.
If you go for wallpaper, we know it can be tempting at this time of year, even sublimely, to go for a pattern or colour that’s a bit festive, so before you commit imagine how it will look at a dinner party in June. No matter if you go for paint or wallpaper, Nicola Taylor, one of Opun’s interior design experts stresses that you should avoid blue and green hues at all costs. Believe it or not, these colours have been proven to psychological cause food to seem less appetising.
Create a themed centre piece
Although some may consider them a bit ‘fussy’ centrepieces are seeing a resurgence in popularity in the UK. If you like the aesthetic, why not try creating one yourself rather than buying one? not only will you save cash but it will be probably nicer than any you could buy. It’s also a great activity to do with the kids to keep them distracted from the presents under the tree, during their Christmas holidays before the 25th.
Check websites like Pinterest for inspiration, or be creative and create one purely from your own imagination. You can make a beautiful centrepiece practically for free if you already have a glue gun — just fish out a church-style candle you probably already have laying about then go for a walk in your local park or woods to see if you can forage a few pine cones and some holly and ivy.
Get your lighting just right
The secret to good dining room lighting is perfecting that balance between ambiance and it still being bright enough to see, no one wants to accidentally bump their elbow into a bowl of Brussels sprouts. This is what makes dimmer switches such a great yet simple home improvement.
Nicola Taylor, reminded us in the most recent issue of Make Life Easy® Magazine, that if you go for dedicated dining pendant lighting, you should hang them lower than seems right. But do remember once you install this type of lighting you’re essentially committed to keeping your dining table in the same place.