Dining Room Decorating Ideas
Ideas and advice for decorating a dining room, whether small or large, in the country style of Gustav Stickley.
¶ Next to the living room the most important division of the lower floor of a house is the dining room. The living room is the gathering place of the household, the place for work as well as for pleasure and rest but the dining room is the center of hospitality and good cheer, the place should hold a special welcome too guests and home folk alike. Instead of being planned to fulfil manifold functions like the living room, it has one definite use and purpose and no disturbing element should be allowed to creep in.
¶ In planning a dining room two considerations take equal rank: convenience and cheerfulness. Convenience must come first, for in a carefully planned house the work of the household is made as easy as possible. Hence it goes without saying that the dining room should be placed in such relation to the kitchen that the work of serving meals goes on with no friction and with as few steps as possible. A noiseless and well fitted swing that door serves as a complete bar against sounds and odors from the kitchen, even if the connection be direct. If a butlers pantry should be preferred for convenience in serving, it would naturally be placed between the kitchen and the dining room. Much time and many steps are saved also if the principal china cupboard is built in the wall between the dining room and kitchen or butlers pantry, with doors opening on both sides so that dishes may be put away after washing without the necessity of carrying them into the dining room. Such an arrangement results in a great saving of broken china as well as in added convenience. This kind of a china cupboard may he made very decorative by putting small paned or leaded glass doors on the dining room side and treating the wooden doors at the back like the wood trim of the room, which makes an effective setting for the china.
¶ If possible, the dining room should have an exposure that gives it plenty of light as well as air. The windows play such an important part in the decoration of a room that a pleasant outlook is really to be desired. The brilliance of a sunny exposure may always be tempered by a cool and restful color scheme in walls and woodwork. On the other hand, if the room has a shady exposure and threatens to be somber on dark days, an atmosphere of cheerfulness may be given by the warmth of color in the room. A richness and decision of wall coloring that would grow wearisome in a room lived in all the time has all the pleasant and enlivening effects of a change when seen occasionally in a dining room. If the dining room is to be a part of the living room, it is well to plan it as one would a large recess. In that case the color scheme should, of course, be in close harmony with that of the living room; but even then it may strike a stronger and more vivid note in the walls, while the woodwork remains uniform throughout. A large room screen placed in the opening of the recess may be made very decorative if it serve as a link in the color scheme as well as the leading element in that pleasant little sense of mystery that always accompanies a glimpse of something partially unseen.
¶ Nowhere more than in the dining room is evidenced the value of structural features. Almost all the decorative quality of the room depends upon them. In addition to wainscot and ceiling beams, or instead of them if the room be differently planned, the charm of well placed windows, large and small; of built in furniture such as cupboards, sideboards and cabinets for choice treasures of rare china or cut glass; of shelves and plate racks ; of window ledge and window seat; and above all of a big cheery fireplace, is as neverending as the ingenuity which gives to each really beautiful room exactly what it needs. And always it should be remembered that, in the dining room as in the living room, there should be one central structural feature which dominates all the rest.
¶ Some examples of these ruling features are given in the accompanying pictures. In one there is the wide sideboard built into a recess surmounted by three casement windows and flanked by a small china cupboard on either side. In another a wide window is recessed, giving a broad ledge for the growing things that always add beauty and life to a room. Still another recessed window shows a row of small paned casements with plant ledge and a well cushioned seat below.
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