Most homes do not feature furniture setups that maximize their space. A 'dining room' does not necessarily need to serve a utilitarian purpose and if you find yourself not using your dining room that often, try rethinking its function. Designer and mistress of reinvention Ruthie Sommers finds ingenious ways to maximize what you've got.
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Designer Ruthie Sommers
PROBLEM: A boring rectangular dining room with windows on one side.
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A quiet retreat
Bracketed by a dining-height banquette and a comfy seat, a 3' oval pedestal table creates an eating spot for four-or five when the stool is pulled alongside. Across the room, a narrow 4 1/2' library table flanked by armchairs is a serene reading area that can be used for dining when friends stop by.
TIP: If you find yourself not using your dining room that often, try rethinking its function. This scheme is great for casual dinners and lazy weekends over coffee and the paper.
A room for the quiet type
2. IF YOU'RE A PARTY THROWER
A room fit for endless parties
The pair of 42" round drop-leaf tables allows two small groups to sit facing each other. A mirrored chest and a large buffet store linens and tableware; during meals, they hold food and drink, or can be laid with platters so guests can self-serve. When you're not entertaining, fold one table in half and move it against the wall, to avoid the feel of an underpopulated restaurant.
Optimized for endless parties
3. IF YOU'RE A SERIOUS COOK
Maximize for entertaining space
A wide 3' x 7' table means there's room for two generous wing chairs to anchor each end; a set of six side chairs fits neatly along the length. A pair of demi-lune accent tables topped with mirrors provides depth and a calming symmetry that's pleasingly offset by a potted topiary tree in the corner.
Maximized for entertaining
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