In my formerly open-plan house the builder had assigned a sweet bump-out for the dining room. It had windows on three sides, an ocean view, skylights. It was charming. The only problem was it was 8’x 8′ and wouldn’t accommodate anything but the tiniest two-person table. When our family visits we need room for six.
So we opted to use the large empty space between the kitchen and the living room as our dining room. We moved some electrical connections to allow for a chandelier. You want to plan on a minimum of 3′ from the edge of the table to the nearest obstacle to allow for comfortable passage around a table.
Because of the addition of the walk-in pantry in our formerly open-plan space (see post “Building a Walk-In Pantry) we now have a wall to decorate. One the downsides to open-plan is a lack of decorative space. Add to that an ocean view house with lots of windows and there is next to nowhere to hang art. Since the new dining room is in the centre of the house, it is furthest from any windows so tends to be dark. I added a large mirror over a floating shelf.
The mirror reflects light and provides a pretty view of the scenery when seated facing away from the view. When hanging a mirror in a dining space, make sure your guests can’t see their reflections. Some people are distracted by seeing themselves in a mirror. You don’t want people grooming themselves at the table. Also, nobody likes to watch themselves eat. Hang it just above eyeline to reflect the lights and the view. Since our house has a wood stove rather than a fireplace, we can’t have a mantle over the stove because of the fire codes. So the floating shelf gives us a kind of mantle to decorate for the holidays.
Next time: Turning a Negative into a Charming Eating Bar