Category Archives: Home improvement

Colorful Dining Tables

Jeanine Hays is the Co-Founder of AphroChic, the online destination for modern decor with a hefty dose of cultural style. House tours, original art, and interviews with today’s top interior designers can all be found here. With diversity always at top of mind, it’s a great resource for exploring the work of designers and artists from around the globe.

When it comes to dining room decor, creating a space that does the job is surprisingly simple. A large table, a series of chairs, and a hutch or cabinetry to hold your tableware is all that’s needed. But, let’s think outside the box. This season, instead of settling for conventional dining room decor, update your dining room’s decor with a colorful new center piece – a brightly hued dining room table. In shades of peacock blue, emerald green, tangerine and hot pink, dining rooms everywhere are quickly becoming more colorful than ever. Beyond the traditional brown wooden table, these colorful dining tables are statement pieces, adding energy and a touch of fun to an otherwise overlooked space in the home. Here are six of our favorite tables that are sure to add a dose of color and excitement to the next dinner party you throw.

It’s a well-known fact that Americans love the color blue. Recent studies list it at the very top of our color crushes. Because we love blue so much, the shade is always in high demand, making it a welcome sight in any room. Cool and classic, it is a color that looks beautiful in every space, and the color blue can bring a new dimension to any piece. Here, a navy blue table and chairs take this dining from traditional to modern. The transformation happens with just a coat of paint. Surround your blue table in an accompanying shade like cobalt or electric blue to add a little bit of color contrast.

Dining Room Decorating Tips

Looking for a way to update your dining room? The typical dining rooms consist of all the basics – table and chairs, a sideboard, lighting and other furniture as space permits. But beyond the basics, each dining room requires something different, especially if you have a challenging layout. Here are six inspiring dining rooms that showcase everything you need to make your dining room shine. Check out these dining room essentials to help you create a space that looks great, and that’s functional too. Here they are. 

Whether you love to entertain and throw lavish dinner parties or you prefer to enjoy quiet meals with friends and family, the dining room is a place to gather and enjoy good food and good times. Whether your style is formal or casual, traditional or contemporary, it’s important to decorate it in a way that feels comfortable and relaxing.

The central piece in any dining room is the table. It takes up a prominent space and sets the tone for the entire room. Before you buy, think not only about the style and size but also about what kind of mood and environment you want to create.

Dining chairs play a vital role in the dining room. How they look and fit in the room is important, but it’s also imperative that they be comfortable.

Most dining rooms are illuminated by a dining room chandelier. Whether your taste is traditional, contemporary, or something else altogether it’s likely that you’ll have a chandelier hanging over your dining room table. A chandelier is often the focal point in a dining room, so it’s important to get a dining room chandelier that not only works well with your décor but that is also the right size.

The Dining Room with Curtains and Drapes

When most of us think of dining rooms we think of tables, buffets, chairs and chandeliers. But something equally as important in the dining room are the curtains and drapes (provided there’s a window of course).

Amidst all of the hard furniture that tends to fill this room it’s wonderful to have some fabric and add a touch of softness. So even if you don’t normally include flowing curtains and drapes it’s worth considering adding some to the dining room.

Choosing Curtains and Drapes for the Dining Room

Think about the style of your room and what will work. If you like big flowing curtains that puddle on the floor, go for it. If you prefer a more tailored look choose something a bit more streamlined. The point is to use an expanse of fabric to add softness (as opposed to hard blinds or shutters).

Fabrics and Patterns

A popular look in dining rooms is to pull everything together by using the same fabric for the window treatments as you do for the seat cushions or tablecloth. It’s a little old-fashioned and traditional, but the dining room is one place where this look really works. That said, it certainly isn’t necessary. You can always pull a color out of a piece of art or another fabric and use that if you want a solid color. You can also choose curtains and drapes with a pattern. Just be sure to tie all the colors of the room together in some way.

When it comes to they type of fabric it really depends on the look you’re going for. Elegant silks and rich velvets are great for formal and dramatic spaces while lighter cottons and even linens can work for lighter and more casual spaces.


Remember when choosing long window treatments that curtains and drapes should always at least skim the floor.

It’s also fine for them to puddle a little if that’s the look you want but the should never be too short. When they don’t at least skim the floor they tend to look truncated. Most designers agree that this is one of the biggest mistakes people make when decorating (that goes for any room, not just the dining room).

If you’re having trouble finding curtains that touch the floor you can always adjust the rod a little. Usually they’re mounted about 4″ above the window frame but it isn’t written in stone. Adjust it accordingly to suit your space. Also, the standard for the rod is to hang it so that you’ve got about 6″ to 8″ on each side of the frame. If you want the window to look larger you can make it a bit wider.

The key to good interior decorating is balance. In a room where there’s a lot of hard furniture it’s a great idea to add some softness. In the dining room the best way to do it is with some pretty curtains and drapes.

Display Your Dish Collection

If you have beautiful tableware, you might have special china collections that you want to display on the wall or on stands so that you can enjoy them every day. It’s a shame to keep them stacked in a cupboard out of sight.

Learn ways to display your beautiful dishes in every room of your home.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Varies

Here’s How:

  1. Sort through your dishes and collect the really special ones. There’s probably no way you could display every single piece, so you have to pick and choose the best and most beautiful ones.
  1. Decide which pieces would look best in which room. Keep fragile pieces out of reach so that they won’t get broken with everyday activities.
  2. A set of coordinating dishes can be displayed on a rack that holds several plates.
  3. Individual plates are best displayed on a plate hook hanging on the wall. You can buy the hooks at a hardware, department, antique, or craft store. They can be hung separately or in a pleasing arrangement.
  4. Display a place setting of dishes in a glass-fronted display cabinet.
  5. Hang plates (on plate hangers) vertically on a narrow strip of wall. Tie the plates together visually with a beautiful color-coordinated ribbon.
  6. Display plates (on plate hangers) arranged in an arch over a buffet or sideboard or even over a bed.
  7. Arrange plates over a doorway. Be sure they’re carefully attached so that they don’t fall down when the door is opened and closed.
  8. If you have some beautiful but unmatched plates or saucers, display them on a side table under a plant or vase.Use odd plates as decorative saucers under plants.
  1. A wood rack can be hung in a dining room, along a hallway, or in the kitchen. Stand plates at interesting intervals and arranged with colors and patterns that are complimentary. When you need to use the plate, just take it down. After use, clean it and replace it in it’s special spot.
  2. If you have some odd teacups or cups and saucers, use them for tiny plants or simple flower arrangements. Tuck them into a bookshelf or on the bathroom counter.
  1. Arrange a tea party display on a side table or buffet in the dining room. Place the cup and saucer on a beautiful place mat, add a coordinating teapot, and finish off with a beautiful silver spoon.
  2. A small plate or bowl is a great catcher for jewelry and rings. Place it on your dresser or bathroom counter so the pieces don’t get lost.
  3. If you have some broken pieces of china, collect them to “tile” a picture frame or tabletop.

How to Set a Table

Hosting a dinner and need a reminder of how to set a proper table setting and where the cutlery should be placed around the tableware? Forget which side the water glass goes on or where the napkin should be placed?

Our lives are pretty hectic, and since eating in front of the television has become the norm for some of us, it’s easy to forget how to set a nice table and the proper placement of tableware and cutlery.

So here’s a quick refresher on how to set a table for that ‘perfect’ dinner.

Keep in mind that traditions and cultures will often influence what a proper dinner table setting should be like, so it can vary depending where you live. But as long as you keep your table organized – every place setting is the same, all the essentials such as stemware, dinnerware and cutlery are conveniently placed at each place and you’ve dressed the surface to create a warm dinner space, it will be acceptable. The following is the traditional way to set each place setting on the dinner table:

Top:  From Left to Right

  • Bread plate with butter knife (top left of dinner plate)
  • Coffee cup (top right of dinner plate)
  • Water glass
  • Wine glass
  • Liqueur glass


Bottom: From Left to Right

  • Salad fork
  • Dinner fork
  • Dessert fork
  • Dinner plate with salad or soup bowl on it
  • Knife (can add a butter knife)
  • Soup spoon
  • Small spoon

Table linens, whether a full tablecloth or individual placemats are essential to give your table an elegant, soft and inviting look.

Fabric tends to absorb sound, so it can also make the dinner table more intimate.

Napkin placement depends on your preference and there are many folding variations. As a default, it can be placed (fanned and folded) in the water glass, simply folded on the dinner plate, or placed beside or underneath the flatware to the left.

Some tableware pieces may of course be optional, depending on the dinner to be served.

  • Dinnerware and Dinner Plate Options

Setting a beautiful table is not difficult, nor do you need expensive tableware or silverware. Arrangement and creativity are the key to a pretty place setting. You can also add a plate charger under each dinner plate setting. These tend to add glam to the table.

Adding a table centerpiece will complete the decor and you can buy something appropriate or make your own. A sprig of evergreen in a vase, a crystal bowl filled with holiday tree balls, or a gold-painted pumpkin are examples of simple, do it yourself table centerpieces. Candles help to create an intimate atmosphere, but keep them unscented as some people have sensitivities to scents.

  • How to Use Candles Safely and About Safe Candle Holders
  • How to Have a Safe Fondue Dinner

Being creative with the decor will help bring out your personality and particular style. The objective of setting a nice dinner table is to create a soft, intimate and elegant place to break bread with family and friends, to share together and build memories.

Choose Chairs for Your Dining Table

Don’t pass on a stunning dining table just because it doesn’t come with chairs. Your table and chairs don’t have to match. Your chairs do need to suit your table’s scale and style. Here’s how to choose chairs for your dining table:



For comfort, the respective scales of your dining table and chairs must be compatible.

If you measure from the top of the table to the floor, most dining tables range from 28 to 31 inches high; a 30 inch height is the most common.

From the top of the seat to the floor, dining chairs frequently range from 17 to 20 inches high. That means the distance between the seat and tabletop could be anywhere from 8 to 14 inches.

The average diner finds a distance of 10 to 12 inches the most comfortable, but it varies by the thickness of the tabletop, the height of the apron, and by the size of the diner.


Chair Seat Height

To find the seat-height-to-table-height distance you find comfortable, test a table (or tables) with a mix of different chairs.

You can visit a furniture store with lots of kitchen and dining sets on display. Or, simply pay attention to your comfort level when you dine out. Keep a small measuring tape in your purse or pocket so you can note the exact distance when you find one that fits.

Don’t just measure from table’s top to the seat. If the table doesn’t have an apron, measure from the bottom of the tabletop to the top edge of the chair seat.

If the table has an apron, measure from the bottom of the apron to the top of the seat.

Note whether the chair seat is hard or upholstered. Upholstered seats tend to compress when you sit. If the padding is thick, the compression may be substantial. To get an accurate reading, measure from the top of the upholstered seat to the floor while the chair is empty, and then have someone measure it again while you sit.

Add the difference between the two to your ideal table-to-seat distance.

Tip: If you visit a furniture store to test different chair and table heights, tell the salesperson what you’re doing so she doesn’t lose her spot on the “up” list.


Chair Width and Depth

Scale isn’t just about compatible heights. You also need chairs that actually fit under your table. If they don’t, your diners won’t feel comfortable and you’ll damage both table and chairs.

The chairs you place at each end of a rectangular or oval dining table should slide under the table without bumping into the table legs, or into the base of a pedestal or trestle table. Those guidelines also apply to every chair you use with square and round tables.

If you plan to use two or more chairs on each long side of the table, make sure there’s room to slide them underneath with bumping each other or the table’s base or legs. If the chair seats touch, diners feel cramped and uncomfortable close. The same is true for round tables; leave at least two inches of space between each chair.

Own Home Bistro Tips

Bryan Mason is the Co-Founder of AphroChic, the online destination for modern decor with a hefty dose of cultural style. House tours, original art, and interviews with today’s top interior designers can all be found here. With diversity always at top of mind, it’s a great resource for exploring the work of designers and artists from around the globe.


It’s an experience that we’ve all had at least once: A beautiful day, a well-designed bistro, a great cup of coffee and everything is just perfect. Once you’ve had that experience, it’s the sort of thing you want to do again and again. Now, if you don’t have time to go cafe-hopping every day, the next best thing is to create one of your own. There’s a ton of ways to go about it. The inspiration you need is right there in every quiet bistro or sidewalk cafe you visit. With just a few good ideas on how to get started you’ll be on your way to a classy little oasis all your own. Since you’re not looking to fill tables your bistro area doesn’t have to take up a lot of room to have a big impact on your home. And better yet, the coffee will be on the house. 


The bistro above clearly isn’t in anyone’s home, but it’s got all of the key ideas you need to get started. The built-in table, high seating and overall feeling of rustic sophistication that permeates the space are all elements that you can bring into your home. For example, take a look at the stylish lighting overhanging the tables. Design elements like these not only give you the feeling of an upscale cafe at home, they can take your bistro from cozy coffee date to intimate dinner for two in no time at all.

A Dining Room Chandelier At The Perfect Height Every Time

Though not as big as most living rooms or as attention-grabbing as many bedrooms, the dining room is still one of the best rooms for decorating. There’s no end of options for furnishings. Tables and chairs come in all shapes, sizes and eras, ready to fit into whatever look you choose to create. And once the furniture is in place, there’s any number of textiles choices for tablecloths, napkins and placemats to bring color and texture to the room.

Even the accessories, such as plates, flatware, and china all offer an amazing variety of choices. And yet, amid all of the creative freedom, there are still a few technicalities that have to be addressed. The table has to be the right size for the amount of space the dining room offers, table linens need to be durable enough to stand up to the level of use they’re likely to see, and the chandelier must be hung at just the right height.

 Most dining rooms are illuminated by a chandelier. Whether your taste is traditional, contemporary, or something else entirely, it’s altogether likely that you’ll have a chandelier hanging over your dining room table. The question is how high should you hang it?
When hanging a dining room chandelier it’s important to make sure that it’s low enough to light up the eating area without interfering with the sight line of the people seated at the table.

Dining Room Chandelier Height

The general rule for hanging dining room chandeliers is that the bottom of the fixture should hang between 30″ and 36″ from the tabletop assuming you have an 8′ ceiling.

Some designers recommend that for each additional foot of ceiling height you should add about 3″ to the suspension height. It’s important to note however that not everyone agrees with this. Some designers feel that the ceiling height shouldn’t affect the distance of the fixture from the tabletop. If this is the case in your home the best thing to do is hold the fixture over the table and move it up and down until it feels right.

Sometimes the style and size of the chandelier will also affect the height from which you should hang it. If you have an elaborate chandelier that takes up a lot of visual space you might want to hang it a couple of inches higher than the standard height. Again, hold it up before committing to a height to make sure it works.

A Sparkling Home In Beverly Hills

Jeff Andrews knows how to make a house feel like a home. The designer, whose client list ranges from Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting to Kourtney Kardashian, is one of the most sought after celebrity interior designers in LA, designing homes with that special blend of luxurious elegance and warmth. It’s that aesthetic that Andrews brings to each project, including this fabulous Beverly Hills home. Having worked with client on a few homes over the last decade, this was a special project for this celebrity designer. The interior is an ode to colorful SoCal living, infused with hues of yellow, purple and a forest green that run through each room. It’s the mix of vibrant hues and Andrews unmistakeable mastery of the metallic mix that makes this Beverly Hills pad really shine. 

Each room in this Los Angeles home feels so warm and inviting. The living room is home to a vibrant mix of shades, including mimosa, citron green and touches of gold. Our favorite statement piece in this living room – a wall of gold starburst mirrors that adds to the springtime feel of this interior.

Forest green chairs extend the color story in this picture-perfect living room. The cozy side chairs create a reading nook for guests to sit and relax in front of the fireplace.

Andrews has imprinted each room in this home with a unique color palette all its own. In the dining room, a deep shade of eggplant becomes the perfect backdrop to family dinners at a table that easily seats 10.

Dining Room Sideboards and Buffets

The decor style of a room is defined by a number of things – the colors, the patterns, the era and style of the accessories, and more. But the room itself is mostly defined by the furniture that we choose to put in it. Sofas, coffee tables and love seats make a living room, beds make a bedroom, and dining furniture makes a dining room. More often than not dining room furniture will consist of a table, chairs, and a buffet or sideboard.

Depending on the size of the room there can be more pieces, but very rarely is there less. Buying the right dining room furniture is a big part of getting the look that you want and the functionality that you need. And a big part of your dining room set is going to be getting the right buffet or sideboard.

The purpose of a buffet or sideboard is to provide storage for extra dishes, flatware and linens, and also to serve as a surface area for placing dishes of food and/or decorative accents. There are any number of shapes, styles and, most importantly, eras to choose from when picking this type of furniture. Whether it’s the large and ornately carved pieces of the Victorian era or the streamlined, minimalist shapes that defined the mid-century modern period, when it comes to sideboards and buffet furniture, there’s no end to your options. Here’s a few things to consider when looking for your next dining room find:

Buffet and Sideboard Styles

Buffets and sideboards (the two terms are often used interchangeably because they’re basically the same thing) are available in a huge variety of styles.

From French country, to classic Georgian, to urban contemporary, no matter what your style you’ll be able to find a piece to suit. Just be sure to get something that will fulfill your needs, whether it’s a particular style, a certain amount of storage, or some other criteria.

Keep in mind that you can also use a different piece of furniture in place of a traditional sideboard or buffet.

If you have a chest of drawers or console table that looks good and serves your needs don’t be afraid to use it.

Open vs. Closed Storage

Many people err on the side of formal when it comes to dining room furniture, and if this is the case it might be a better idea to go with closed storage (meaning a piece with solid doors). Closed storage is also easier because you don’t have to worry about displaying the items within nicely. You can leave it a mess and close the doors.

A sideboard or buffet that consists of open shelving is airier and has a lighter feeling than a heavy, closed piece, but should you choose to use one keep in mind that you’ll have to keep the things stored on the shelves looking nice. Given that people’s formal china and linens are often very nice, this isn’t necessarily a tough thing to do, but just keep it in mind when shopping.

If you’re having a tough time deciding between the two you might want to consider a piece with glass doors. They’re not as visually heavy as solid doors, and they still cover some of the items inside so you kind of get the best of both worlds.