How to Arrange Dining Room Furniture


Dining rooms tend to be static spaces where the decor never changes. Consider the following ways of adding some variety to the room.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop-leaf Tables
  • Scissors
  • Table Centerpieces
  • Tablecloths
  • Graph Papers
  • Pencils And Erasers
  • Metal Measuring Tapes
  • Rulers
  • Make a scale drawing of your dining room including markings for all impediments to furniture arrangement (radiator, light switches, outlets, door-swing spaces, low chandelier and so forth) and make same-scale paper cutouts for the furnishings. Play with the layout according to the steps that follow.

  • Center the table under a chandelier (if you have a chandelier). This is pretty much an ironclad rule, but you can angle the table diagonally in the room for a surprising, pleasing bit of drama.

  • Move the chandelier if the builder has placed it dead center in the room. Often a centered chandelier will force you to squeeze a sideboard or china cabinet next to the table, leaving a skimpy traffic pattern, so by moving the chandelier, you have more flexibility in furniture arrangement.

  • Allow a minimum of 18 inches for the traffic lane around the table when people are seated.

  • Shake things up with the placement of the chairs. The typical dining room table has four or six side chairs pushed up to it and two armchairs at the ends, but you can break the mold by moving the armchairs elsewhere, perhaps flanking a window or sideboard.

  • Place a drop leaf table - perhaps under a windowsill or against a wall - in the room to be used for extra guests for big dinner parties (or as the only table if the dining space is small).

  • Rearrange small furniture, such as plant stands or lamp tables, and rotate pictures and other accessories in and out to freshen the room.

Tips & Warnings

  • Change the centerpiece. Don't use the same silk flowers and candlestick holders month after month in the center of the table. Fresh flowers are great because they force you to swap them out.
  • Set the table even when you're not having company. Dress it with at least a couple of layered tablecloths and a new centerpiece, or perhaps go all-out with china, crystal and silver, to inject energy from time to time.
  • Put a dimmer on the overhead light fixture to set the right mood and avoid glare. Use peripheral lighting in the room to add ambient light.
  • When using fresh flowers as a centerpiece, be sure the tabletop is well-protected from condensation and spills.
  • Avoid putting the dining room table and chairs on an area rug unless it's large enough that the chairs can be moved in and out without catching on the edge of the rug.

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