New House Dining Room Challenge
amytr
April 2, 2014 in Design Dilemma
This picture shows the dining room and entry portion of the great room in our new Florida house under construction. We did some altering of the spaces to give us storage in the adjoining laundry room and a double entry door. But in so doing, we ended up with an unexpectedly small dining room area - 9' (from corner to edge of front door) x 11' (from corner to the end of the china hutch wall) - with no demarcation of space. So my questions are - How would you arrange furniture in there? Would you create a sitting area with a gate-leg table that can be opened up for dinner parties (we have a breakfast nook for day-to-day dining). Or would you put in a round table that has a few leaves, so that a chandelier wouldn't look odd hanging there. Which brings me to my second question - I have to choose lighting for the entry way and the dining room and I'm at a loss. You can see that the lights will only be about 9' apart so they have to compliment each other, but how do you do that with a high hanging entry light and a low hanging chandelier so close to each other? Finally, how would you demarcate the space since that whole area has the same flooring - tile. We could build a short wall between the front door and the dining area. Or I could use a piece of furniture to create the feeling of an entryway. What do you think? Thank you SOOO much for your help. I wake up thinking about this!
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amytr
Oh, and the paint color (for now at least) is a neutral tan color.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 8:30AM
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westcoastjanie
This is an interesting challenge and definitely a tight space for a formal dining room. First, I would not try to demarcate the space with a wall. Having the same flooring throughout will help make it feel larger. The wall would make it feel smaller. I'd use a small rug near the entry, and another rug (not matching, but complimentary) in the dining area. Secondly, do you absolutely need a table in here? I fear if you put a table in front of that hutch and chairs around it, you will barely be able to get into the hutch. The front window is so lovely. Maybe you could put a drop-leaf table (narrow with sides that drop down) flanked by two comfortable upholstered dining chairs in front of the window. This allows the hutch to be accessed and seen. Don't put any other chairs in the room, but rather pull in a collection of wood chairs from other areas of the house as needed for dinner parties when you open out the table. The two side chairs become the head and foot of your table, the other chairs go on the sides. It's an eclectic but fun look and it's easy to store chairs from a dining room set in bedroom corner. I've done it many times. I would not put a dining chandelier in this space so close to the entry. Instead, use overhead canister lighting with a dimmer switch. That controls the lighting mood for dining. Lots of candles on the table and you now have a beautiful dining space on demand, but a visually uncrowded and pleasing space day to day. You could still put an interesting fixture in the entry by eliminating the overhead dining chandelier and using the canister lights.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 8:39AM
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westcoastjanie
I like taupe in a dining room. It's a neutral background. I'm looking at Benjamin Moore Revere Ware or Jute for my new home. I've used Jute before and it's lovely but I am veering more towards grey taupe this time. You could put throw pillows on the chairs by the window. Upholster the chairs in a neutral tone, a little darker than the walls. You can change the pillows with the seasons. Also, the taupe allows you to have a collection of dishes in the hutch of any color.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 8:42AM
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amytr
Thank you westcoastjanie. I picture what you're saying here. I had not thought of using can lighting in the dining room. Hmm. I also like the seating area idea.
2 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 8:42AM
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amytr
Would you paint the dining area a different color than the rest of the great room?
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 8:44AM
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westcoastjanie
Our last home had no chandelier in the dining room, but for the same reasons we could not have one. It was attached by open space to a stairwell with a hanging fixture. I thought I would miss it, but with the canister lights and the dinner switch, it was really fine.
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 8:46AM
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westcoastjanie
You might be able to change the paint color at a natural breaking point like a doorway or corner. I think however with the size of the dining room and the fact that it's a great room, you might want to stick to one color. Is the hutch a built-in or is that a wall niche? If it's a wall niche, you can definitely paint the back of that a darker color to make it pop.
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 8:50AM
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amytr
The canister lights on a dimmer switch would be cheaper than a nice chandelier too. That way, we could do something interesting in the foyer. Speaking of which, what would you put there. I don't want to match the iron work of the doors, but would prefer to contrast it. My style would be in line with Ballard Designs or Pottery Barn. Any thoughts?
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 8:50AM
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amytr
The space is currently a wall niche, but I was planning on finding a piece of some kind or having a custom piece built in. I like your idea of painting that area a different color! Maybe I should put in a piece that's just 30" high instead of full height, especially because of the arch at the top. Would you put a mirror above the piece of furniture?
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 8:54AM
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westcoastjanie
Do you subscribe to Joss and Main or Horchow online? They have lighting sales occasionally and have a lot of great fixtures in line with those Ballard or PB styles. Your front doors are beautiful. I agree, too much iron on the fixture would be overload, but a little would be OK. Maybe an iron or pewter fixture with lots of glass crystals hanging down? I'm in love with this one from PB but it's expensive. http://www.potterybarn.com/products/clarissa-small-round-glass-drop-chandelier/?pkey=cchandeliers&cm_src=chandeliers||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_--_- or this is nice
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 8:57AM
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westcoastjanie
Yes, love the idea of a small interesting buffet type piece tucked in the niche. Ballard has lots of them. Paint the back wall of the niche a different color. Yes, a mirror! That helps it look larger in there also. Put tall skinny buffet lamps on either end of the buffet flanking the mirror. Just get them to add an electrical outlet in that niche if it doesn't have one. Also, that gives you the option for lighting in a built-in hutch if you decide to do that down the road. We did that in our last home…started with a piece of furniture there and added the built-in later.
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 9:02AM
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amytr
Yes! It's coming together. And I do love that Pottery Barn chandelier. I've been looking at it for a long time. There's also a knock-off on either Home Decorators or Overstock. Yay! Thank you so much!
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 9:26AM
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amytr
So, would you go with a very different color in the back of the niche, or would you go with a few shades darker than the wall color? This is the rug I'm thinking of putting in the dining area.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 9:28AM
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PRO
Cliff Young Ltd.
Could you post an image of the floor plan or rough dimensions of the whole room? if you're considering extension tables it's important to look at the traffic pattern and chandelier in both closed and open positions; how many people are you looking to sit? In terms of demarcation, sometimes a rug is more than enough, but you can also build a half wall there by the entrance with a thin console or serving table or buffet to build it into an actual dining room.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 9:37AM
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bluenan
I would use a chandelier over a round foyer table that can be extended when needed. You can place chairs against the wall on either side of the entry. I would not try to delineate the space but leave it as open and spacious feeling as possible. The foyer and dining area would act as one which will give you quite a bit of space when needed.
stately manor
Chappaqua, NY Residence
Exquisite Interiors in Minneapolis
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 9:44AM
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amytr
Lovely. So, you would not use a light in the foyer, but let a chandelier over the foyer table serve for both? Here is the floor plan. the width of the dining area is 9' and the width of the entry area is 6 1/2'.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 9:51AM
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amytr
I would like to be able to seat 10 if possible.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 9:52AM
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bluenan
Yes, just one statement light for the space. You can put wall sconces in the entry area for additional light. A round table extended becomes an oval which should seat 10.
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 9:58AM
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PRO
Interior Motives Design Group
I would hang a light in the foyer - absolutely! It has no definition - as it is, other than the front doors. Every space need its own identity or else we would all live in a square box. Both light fixtures need to be of the same family/finish etc. and the foyer should be smaller - like a crystal semi mount or shorter pendant that can be later accentuated by molding and possibly faux the ceiling to give it some POP!. To determine where to hang the dining room chandelier/pendant find the center to the dining room by width and by length. OR hang two of the same chandelier/pendants...even better idea! In a dining room of this shape, I would recommend a rectangle table with extensions for larger parties. Have fun!
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 10:04AM
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bluenan
Could you take a picture of the dining area from the front door? Is your floor plan now different from your actual build? It looks like from the attached floor plan that there is an opening to the dining area. I'm having a hard time visualizing the shape of what you have ended up with.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 10:10AM
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amytr
I don't have any other pictures of this space as we are currently in California and the house is in Florida! It is actually one big room that includes the foyer, the family room, and the dining room. The floor plan is slightly different in that we now have a niche in the dining room and cabinets in the laundry room. The plans originally called for a tray ceiling in the dining area, but we switched the tray to the family room area. The ceiling in the dining and entry areas is 11'. And we didn't put the post in that shows on the floor plan.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 10:22AM
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rocketjcat
Unfortunately I think your dining room is not going to be able to support dining for 10. You are basically walking right into the room and I think it will be uncomfortably close to the door. If you can't change the layout, I think I would take out the double door and replace it with a single door nearer the study, basically shrinking your foyer down by about 3 feet and gaining that dining space.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 10:34AM
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PRO
Interior Motives Design Group
Where in Florida is this house? the floor plan looks so familiar. Double Study/office doors are commonplace here and I don't agree that changing out those doors will add to dining room space.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 10:37AM
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rocketjcat
^^ Try laying out a dining table and seating for 10 in your current house, allowing for moving chairs in and out and access space to walk between them and the back wall. I just measured mine, and the minimum I would need is 10-11 feet to get around. I think that some chairs are going to be in front of or very close to the double door, which doesn't seem like a pleasant dining feeling to me. Thats why i suggested going to single door. But if that feels ok to you, then I would only keep 2 chairs there, and move the rest in, as suggested above.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 10:49AM
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westcoastjanie
I agree with rocketjcat…you are not going to be able to support dining for ten. Unless…. if you have a drop-leaf table that also has leaves you can put in, you can extend it out when needed into the greatroom/long hallway space as needed for a large group. Dad to day, keep as much open space as possible or that front entry and dining are are going to look very crowded in comparison to your large great room area. I agree with Interior Motives that you need to define the entry with it's own hanging light that is centered over the entry space. I love your double front door. Balances with your large front window. I think shrinking it to gain space is a mistake. I like blunans idea for the round table also, they are beautiful, but I don't think the size or scale or your floor plan supports the idea of a round table inside the entry/dining. Your going to be walking right into it and it blocks the great room view. That is better kept in a large house with a large entry space in my opinion. As for your question on the niche paint, yes a much darker shade of the wall paint, or pick up that dark reddish/brown color from your rug or the shade of the curtains that is in that rug photo. Love the rug choice.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 10:52AM
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bluenan
Yes, I agree that a dinner for 10 will utilize the entire space, but that is probably not the norm and on occasion when that much room is needed being near the door shouldn't matter.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 10:53AM
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rocketjcat
^^@interior motives, I'm not sure if you are commenting on my suggestion to go to a single door... But just to be clear i am suggesting about the Entry door, not about interior office doors.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 10:54AM
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PRO
Cliff Young Ltd.
The 10' width seems to work fine, depending on how deep the china hutch is, but a table for 10 with chairs will take you past the 11' wall when extended. It is always safer to put everything on paper first in the right scale - this will also give you the best positioning of the lighting, both for foyer and dining area and the right size for rugs. If you're going for a formal symmetrical look, you might also consider an elevation of the long wall and perhaps balancing the visual weight of the china hutch with something at the other end of the wall.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 11:13AM
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amytr
Thank you everyone for your ideas and suggestions! For more information, we will be placing 2 sofas in an L configuration with the back of one facing the entry doors with a console table behind that. This table should help to create the feeling of an entry as well. Since we won't be having 10 people for dinner very often - maybe twice a year - I would be happy with a table extending into the hallway area on those rare occasions.

One last question for you all:
Since the light fixture selection is the more immediate need, what would you do in the following two scenarios, and which scenario do you prefer:
1. Dropleaf table (with leaves stored elsewhere that would extend the table to seat 8-10), placed as westcoastjane originally suggested, in front of the window with two upholstered chairs to create a seating area. The back of one of the two host chairs could be toward the entryway, creating the feel of division between the two spaces. What kind of light fixtures would you use and where and how high would you place them?
2. Round table (with leaves stored elsewhere that would extend the table to seat 8-10), placed in the center of the dining area with a chandelier above it to act as a foyer table with fresh flower arrangements. I think a few chairs could be placed against the wall, but that might not be the best solution. What kind of light fixture would you place in the foyer - sconces? chandelier? how high? Remember the ceiling is 11' high.

Of course, separate area rugs for the entry and the dining area. Thank you so much for your help!!!
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 3:23PM
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amytr
Looking forward to implementing your ideas!
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 6:24PM
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decoenthusiaste
My friend once had a square table that seated 6 and two custom demi-lune tables that snugged up to it for an oval that seated 4 more. Still might be too large for you though. Since parties of 10 are infrequent, consider renting a table and chairs for the occasion. Upscale furniture rental stores like Cort, have very nice pieces if there is one near you.
Just make the dining area work for your family the rest of the year.
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 7:35PM
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PRO
Decor Interiors
I agree with everyone who suggested that you get a table that can be made larger for more guests. You don't want to overwhelm the space. You're at the starting point and there are so many options, so I recommend you simplify the process by starting with one piece you really love and then add around it per your own personal style preferences. For example, a more angular chandelier might compliment a smaller space because it tapers off (sometimes it's just that easy - see the example below). You can start with the chandelier and then work your way down. Keep us posted!
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 8:10PM
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amytr
Love that chandelier. So fun!
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 8:11PM
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