The Elements of a Stunning Dining Room: Expert Advice From an Architect

What makes a dining room eye-catching? If you're in the process of remodeling or designing your kitchen or dining room, this expert advice from architect Cass Calder Smith of CSS Architects in San Francisco is good to keep in mind:

He tells The Wall Street Journal about the crucial details he always keeps in mind when designing a residential dining room. Here are a few key points:

1. Have One Main Eye-Catching Element: Think a built-in bar, a fireplace, a beautiful view, or a large piece of art. "I don't think it should overtake the room but there should be something that makes you think it's a destination." Keep the rest of the space clean and simple.

2. Enable a View of the Open Kitchen: "Formal, closed-off dining rooms feel like relics," Smith says. To make the open kitchen look "less like a kitchen" Mr. Smith advices focusing on the cooking area and blending the colors, finishes and cabinetry with the dining room d├ęcor.

3. Embrace the Farm-to-Table Trend: The key element needed is "an eye-catching large table made of wood," more rustic than polished. Reclaimed lumber, exposed steel, and earthy colors are also recommended.

4. Avoid Chairs That Are Too Formal: This means avoiding chairs that are "really high-backed or too upholstered." Putting a large grouping of these chairs together ends up looking "medieval."

5. Get the Right Lighting: Mr. Smith avoids chandeliers as being "too trendy." Instead he combines an indirect light source that "bounces off the ceilings and walls and creates a glow" with second small spotlights "aimed at highlighting the food on the table."

What do you think of these recommendations? Have any you disagree with, or would add to the list?

Read All of His Expert Recommendations: Creating a Dining Room with Wow Factor | The Wall Street Journal

Related: The Right Height for Dining Room Lighting

(Image: Faith Durand)

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