This is the time of year when, if we’re lucky, we might actually use our dining rooms! Families gather and that means the coming together of people of all ages. I absolutely do not believe in “children’s tables.” I think it sends a message that our children are a lesser part of the family and we don’t expect them to be able to behave at the “real” Thanksgiving Table. I prefer to crowd in some extra seats and mix all of us together in one loud, silly mess.
With some planning and strategic selections you can have a stylish dining room that is “family-friendly” but in no way childish!
Toad Hall Suzanne Kazler
1.Choose Wood: This beautiful, eclectic dining room puts the light color fabrics just at either end of the table and elegant painted wood chairs along the sides – think wipe clean! An antique table would be the most family friendly choice because then dings don’t matter as much but using tablecloths for the holidays or having glass cut to show your beautiful wood top can make any dining table adaptable for family occasions.
2. Think Outside the “Traditional” Box: This fantastic mix of industrial metal chairs with crystal chandeliers may not be traditional but it is definitely stylish! I love the white on white layering of every type of material, metal, wood table, table top decor and even wall coverings. Notice there is no rug under the table. Keeping the floor bare or using a darker multicolored rug reduces the impact of spills.
3. Keep the fabric on the outside: These beautiful dining chairs have patterned fabric with some lighter tones on the back side of the chairs. The seats and inside then could be leather. Leather is much easier to maintain because like wood it wipes clean! Do note that you have to clean and protect your leather. Light color leathers will absorb grease if they are not treated. One of my client’s husband spilled lobster bisque on her silvery gray Mitchell Gold leather banquet, wiping up the soup and putting talcum powder on the spill removed all traces of the grease by the next morning. Genius!
4. Replace delicate fabrics: The contrast of the rustic wooden chairs with shiny silk is beautiful. But if you replaced this silk with leather or a Smart Fabric from Kravet in a chenille or velvet that had been treated with stain guard you would maintain the integrity of the look. The dining table, the beautiful custom built-ins, the accessories, none of these things are affected by making a more durable selection for fabric on the chairs, but the room becomes much more liveable.
5. Don’t keep Outdoor Fabrics Out!: These upholstered chairs make a stunning statement. (And it is certainly likely they have been treated for stain protection) But what if you replaced a traditional indoor upholstery fabric with some of Sunbrella’s beautiful upholstery fabrics. This Luxe Indigo fabric would make beautiful upholstered chairs in the same traditional setting! Sunbrella is not just for patios!
Sunbrella Luxe Indigo
6. Create an Area Rug with Hard Surface Materials: You can create the look of a rug with out the hazards of putting fibers underneath your dining room table. Creating a pattern with parquet wood of varying colors or mixing stone/marble with wood is beautiful and so much more durable than a rug! An upside down pumpkin pie won’t matter here!
7. Make Do! I work with so many clients who feel pressured to have everything perfect for the holidays. Prioritize the enjoyment of your guests – of all ages! I have been through the stage of making people uncomfortable because I had a vision but my five children eventually won. And boy am I glad that they did! They taught me that having them as the heart of my holiday celebration was more important than if bringing a kitchen chair in for them looked funny at my table. If you have white upholstered dining chairs bring in another chair for children to sit on or go buy a set of four slip covers from Costco for $19.99 to throw over folding chairs. As Tim Gunn would say “Make it work!” – but I say enjoy it too. Family is the most precious thing you have.
I am grateful to have children who taught me to adapt.
I am grateful fabric manufacturers realized real families want beautiful choices that are durable as well!
I am grateful to have a job where I can make a meaningful difference in how a family experiences their home and the memories that are made! Thank you!