Small dining area
coloradosprings
June 24, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We have small dining area, between our living area and kitchen.
The ceiling in this area is only 8 feet high.
The distance from the sliding doors to the wall is 137.5''.
Towards the living room, the width reduces to 111''
The distance from the kitchen counter to the sofa is 140''.

I am looking for some inspiration for the light above the table - the current fixture is too old fashioned for our taste, and needs to be moved (it is not central to anything!). I'm also looking for inspiration for a new table, the current table is too traditional (my husband bought it on craiglist when he first moved to the area).We would like to be able to seat 6 people, but only need seating for 2 on a day to day basis. We have vertical blinds on the sliding doors, I dislike these but not sure what the alternative would be. The living area furniture can be rearranged.

Any other advice would be great too!

Thanks
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Peter P.
Hello there,

Not a professional opinion, but at second glance it seems like your living room has a lot of space. The table that you have seems slightly oversized / misplaced for the area that it is in. This is because it is placed in a very narrow area of the house. I recommend getting 3-4 island stools, it seems like a waste with the beautiful "U" shaped kitchen of yours to not have stools.

I know this seems a bit drastic, but you may want to consider moving a lot of your living room furniture to one side of the room, and placing the dining room table on the other half side. This will free up the space in front of your sliding doors for either a smaller table or different ideas. I think the current placement of the couch might be straining the space as well.

For the sliding door, you can consider getting a slide curtain that slides from one side only with a bar on top with no valence, or you can consider getting the full set of valence and curtains.

A popular idea that I have seen a lot of homeowners use is to place a large table rug under the main dining room table. This seems to be the big missing piece for your current setup. Not only will it prevent the carpet from stains and messes, but it also accentuates the surrounding space and creates a "Dining Room" ambiance for you, especially since there is no wood/marble/solid flooring

Here's a few ideas for the slide curtains:

Black & White
San Carlos Residence Two
plaster also here...

Hope this helps,

-Peter
2 Likes   Thanked by coloradosprings    June 24, 2013 at 12:00PM
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PRO
B.L. Rieke Custom Home Builders
Peter has some great points. Moving your living room set from the center of the room will free up space for some much-needed stools and will avoid crowding the sliding glass door.

A modern, rectagular carpet underneath the dining set would spruce up the space, as well. To keep the theme from your living room, I'd suggest getting a modernistic rug with black accents and pops of contrasting color (like red, yellow, or whatever you'd prefer as an accent color). Make sure that this rug isn't enormous--you don't want to overwhelm the space nor cause issues with tripping over the edge of the rug (it happens!). The rug needs to be proportionate with the dining set: atleast a foot to foot and a half wider than each side (with the chairs pushed in).

Addressing the vertical blinds, a nice gauzy curtain (that accentuates the rug/accents you choose) would bring color and balance to the space. Gauzy curtains also allow natural light to stream in, which is a great (and free!) room enhancer. Sliding curtains work, especially for a sliding door. If you're looking for something darker and more structured, go with some heavier curtains and tie them back with a ribbon or tie of matching (or contrasting, if you're feeling bold) fabric.

Now, the fixture. It is fairly outdated. If you go to your local Home Depot and browse their affordable lighting options, you can pick up something more modern. Again, it should resemble the theme that you choose for your curtains, rug, and accessories. I wouldn't advise using gold--it'll conflict with the stain color of your dining set and kitchen and often looks tacky. Something darker would work. Also, a simple bowl-style fixture would compliment a modern style. Your fixture should depend on the rest of the room. Lighting fixtures and hardware are usually the last things we have our clients choose when building a custom home with us.

Lastly, have you thought about adding an accent wall? The wall opposite of the sliding glass doors would be ideal. A favorite accent wall color of mine personally is rust red. Just an idea--it would add a wonderful pop of color and really make the room shine. Adding some pictures on that wall too (that match or compliment the theme) would be ideal, as well.
2 Likes   Thanked by coloradosprings    June 24, 2013 at 12:28PM
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PRO
B.L. Rieke Custom Home Builders
Oh, and on the table and chairs... if you'd like to save money, you could paint it dark and then sand down the edges for a modern and edgy look. If wanting to buy new, go for something darker--especially with the beige walls and gray-ish carpet--and blocky (see the pictures above). The chairs can also act as statement pieces. All and all, creativity isn't your enemy here, so be fun and trust your gut: if you don't think it'll look right, it probably won't look right. Hope our advice helps, and good luck!
1 Like   Thanked by coloradosprings    June 24, 2013 at 12:32PM
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coloradosprings
Thanks for the ideas! I had wanted to put pictures on the wall opposite the sliding door (after first moving the thermostat which sits directly in the center!), but wasn't sure as that wall is only seen from the dining table, otherwise we are walking past it from the living area to the kitchen. I've attached a picture of the wall, and of the living area.Could you explain what you would suggest about moving the livingroom set? Thanks
0 Likes   June 24, 2013 at 12:36PM
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Ciara Crewz
the space is really getting washed out by all that light, I would run an extra long drapery rod just under the arched portion of your windows and find a heavy fabric with grays and blacks to help balance your room! Also, rotate your mirror over the fireplace, just let it sit on the mantel. Lastly, get a big area rug for under your sofa and other living room furniture... something with no pile.
Cheers!
Ciara
2 Likes   Thanked by coloradosprings    June 24, 2013 at 12:47PM
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coloradosprings
Thanks Clara, I'm wanting to add pictures and curtains, we just had the walls painted from a mustard color which was unpleasant! Now we have a better color on the walls I can start to dress it and add color.
0 Likes   June 24, 2013 at 12:50PM
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B.L. Rieke Custom Home Builders
Adding atleast one picture to a wall (when possible) helps make a room less bare, especially if the pictures have color to contrast the bieges, whites, and blacks already in the room. Colors breaks up monotony, and just a little can make a room pop and feel more refreshing. So adding a picture to the living room will benefit you--adds some visual appeal--even if that's the only room that its added to for now. Cutrains with patterns and color also help with this. Also, if you add curtains and/or decorate the walls with some nice pictures (or just some framed blown-up pictures taken from the internet), it can save you money and counter space on accessories.

Moving that awkwardly-placed thermostat would also save you some grief while decorating now and in the future (trust me!).

Like Peter mentioned, moving the living room set more toward the wall opposite the sliding glass doors would open up the room more, and add additional walking space. Having them sit in the middle of the room is slightly awkward, espcially when entertaining guests. Your living room is a difficult space to work with, but by excentuating the natural light, moving the furniture, and adding some color, I think you'll find it to be more fun and functional!
0 Likes   June 24, 2013 at 12:52PM
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Ciara Crewz
Oh excellent, enjoy your new digs!
Best,
Ciara
0 Likes   June 24, 2013 at 12:52PM
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decoenthusiaste
You have plenty of room for a stack back of drapery on the left of your sliding door, so that is a simple solution to the dated verticals. I agree with others about using the living room as a living/dining area. Your piano is on an exterior wall and that is not good for their health. Why not put the piano on the wall where the thermostat is, and create a nice reading/listening nook with a chair and floor lamp in the corner to the left of the sliders? You can replace the light fixture with a good looking semi-flush drum fixture and put pendants and stools at your bar. It will be like a mini-pub and gathering spot. If you don't care for the reading/listening nook, try a pub table and chairs for casual meals and use a pendant drum fixture above it. Since a lot of light comes through the sliders, you can paint that entire wall opposite them in a darker accent color, all the way into the kitchen, and perhaps hang the mirror above the piano. Start fresh in the living room with a new dining table and chairs for 4 and two upholstered master chairs for the ends of the table which can be used for extra seating in the living room. You two can have your meals at the bar or pub table when not entertaining. A rug under the new table should be 4 feet longer and wider than the table top. Install a new chandelier 36" or less above the table top. Then I'd invest in a new sofa and a pair of swivel chairs that will work with the upholstered dining chairs or two sofas. Hang the TV on the wall by the entry door - can't see it so am guessing there is room to do so, but maybe not. Float the sofa to serve as a divider between living and dining areas anchored on an area rug. Arrange the two chairs opposite the window where they can swivel to TV or FP. Add a table between them and a coffee table near the sectional. Drape as per ciara... above. Art above the FP. Here's an inspiration pic of a super nice living and dining combo.

1 Like   June 24, 2013 at 1:13PM
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izzifly
What is on the left side of the window with an arch? Any pictures of it? I would place the seating around the fireplace and fil up around them. The large couch would place it with the back to the arched window, this way it will already fil up some of the front of the living room. Facing the couch in an angled position 2 seats or even another couch.Coffee table in between (maybe round) The problem is the tv. Maybe an armoir with closed doors to hide the tv and in the same place and position it is now. Piano against the wall we canot see. If the front door is next to the arched window can put some furniture to put coats and a narrow long table behind the large couch. If buying new couches would buy 2 with 2 seats only (this 3 seater you have too bulky), leaving a space between the piano and the seating area, like a corridor. Can always fill up spaces with pretty chairs for extra guests. Good luck
1 Like   June 24, 2013 at 1:59PM
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izzifly
Forgot the dinning area....against the wall a nice piece of furniture where can be put dishes, round table and I like the idea of stools. Don't know your style but would put fabric with stripes on the seats of the chairs. They have classic and modern patterns.I suggest you go to pinterest.com and put "textiles" in the search box....get a glass of wine and you will be, almost, overwelmed with the ideas. Have fun
0 Likes   June 24, 2013 at 2:07PM
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B.L. Rieke Custom Home Builders
@coloradosprings

It would be interesting to see where you take all of the ideas on here. Before and after pictures when you're done redecorating would be ideal!
0 Likes   June 24, 2013 at 2:12PM
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coloradosprings
Thanks for all of the ideas! Unfortunately I don't think we're going to be able to move the furniture around as drastically as some suggested - although I love the idea- just because of dimensions. For example, I would like to put the dining table by the arched window and move the piano into the current "dining area". Unfortunately it won't fit on the wall opposite the sliding doors without making it nearly impossible to get into the kitchen! I have put a picture up of left of the arched window...it is the front door, and not a lot of space around it, although I do want to put a small piece of furniture there.

However, I am really excited about curtains (I'm currently thinking of white plantation blinds in the living area, with curtains...perhaps a blue theme...and a curtain as Peter described above across the sliding doors that can be drawn right back. I am going to look for a sturdier rectangular table (or perhaps a square that can be extended to rectangular) - I love the idea of having a couple of upholstered chairs that can be used when there are more guests and switched between the table and the living area. Loving your textiles idea too izzifly!
1 Like   June 24, 2013 at 7:06PM
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jpp221
I haven't read ALL the posts, so forgive me if I'm repeating. But I don't think the space is at all so bad. I think the problem is that the sofa, placed as is, constrains the dining space into a box shape. Box = circular (not oval) table. So it feels awkward. I would try moving the sofa to the wall to the right of the fireplace (narrow table or shelf behind it if there is room). If I were going to invest in anything, it would be hardwood floors (will go FAR better with your furniture tastes). Then live with it and see if anything more is needed. But I would go incrementally. I think your house is oh so nearly great.

But first, find and cause great pain to the builder who put the thermostat where he did. For that he must be made to suffer.
0 Likes   June 25, 2013 at 9:11PM
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Perry Mirocha - Professional Organizer
Would love to take at look at these rooms in person-take a look at my color choices on my profile for a thought
0 Likes   June 25, 2013 at 9:17PM
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coloradosprings
jpp221-Thanks for your advice. Believe me the furniture does not reflect my furniture tastes! It was bought, cheaply, by my husband when he moved to the area! I would love to change it, but am restricted to doing it slowly by a budget! The wall to the right of the fireplace is a window, unfortunately.

Right now I'm looking for color ideas for curtains/cushions...
0 Likes   June 26, 2013 at 3:21PM
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