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Small Spaces: Dining Room Talk

Christine Brun on

Thanksgiving is the favorite holiday of all for many because it is about fellowship and a simple, shared meal. There aren't massive amounts of decorations to be fretted over or gifts to be wrapped, and there is no month more appropriate than November to focus on your dining room for the upcoming winter holidays. For some families, the festive rituals are set in stone. For others, each year brings a different way to mark the holidays with a variety of friends and family, side dishes and desserts. I love the idea of flexibility regarding major holidays but respect those who find genuine comfort in reliable habits. While it may be too late for major transformations, some changes are still possible! Here are a few suggestions for those who have limited space and expect a swelling of guests this year:

Make sure that you have comfortable auxiliary seating. This can take the form of folding chairs or stacking armchairs. Check into rentals, or visit stores like Target, Lowe's, Home Goods or even thrift stores. And remember to check the Wayfair and Overstock websites. I have six matching foldable bamboo chairs that are surprisingly comfortable and allow me to feel confident that my guests will feel the same sitting for several hours at a time. I found them at a furniture consignment shop.

If your regular dining table is not large enough, consider one of two options: Bring in a second rented table to stand wherever you can position it. This might be in the living room or next to the main dining room table. Or, have a plywood table top made to sit over your table to expand the room. Be certain to use a table pad or a felt-backed vinyl tablecloth liner so that no one will feel the rough plywood surface directly under your tablecloth. I have used card tables in the past, but be aware that they are a lower height and generally not terribly sturdy. You might consider seating children at such a table.

If you are shopping for new dining room furniture, it is likely too late to order for it to arrive in time. You can buy off the floor, or possibly online, and take delivery by Christmas. Consider the benefits of selecting a low sideboard piece like the one shown here. When compared with a china cabinet, the boon is that the top surface may be used as an auxiliary serving top. You might place a large salad bowl, stacked dessert plates, a coffee pot or a warming tray here. When looking for a functional dining room piece, it is wonderful for your table settings to be held in the sidepiece. Silverware, china and serving trays can be stored in a unit like the one shown; it features a convenient sliding door instead of a space-eating swinging door.

If you have small tables and many guests, think of simple table decor that will not be cumbersome. My favorite idea is to use cordial glasses as tiny vases to be placed at each place setting. In this way, you avoid a large and clumsy centerpiece that has to be moved in order to make room for serving platters or bowls. The repetition at each place setting creates a fun splash of color on the table that doesn't interfere. Buy some greens, and snip a little piece to be placed in each glass. Next, cut three blossoms from larger bunches of gold or yellow chrysanthemums, daisies or Peruvian lilies.

 

Photo Credit: Wharfside

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Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at christinebrun@sbcglobal.net. To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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