Dining Room Designs for the Holidays

The 2017 holiday season is here, so we asked our designers their expert advice on the dining room; decorating this space and creating a superb setting for serving and entertaining your guests during this most wonderful time of the year!Leslie Harris Colvett

Rachel Gray

Rachel Gray
Interior Design & Consulting 496 S. Main St. # 201
Memphis, Tennessee 38103 901.443.5454
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Photo by Stephen Jerkins
With the holiday season quickly approaching, I’m reminded of the lyrics to David Bowie’s song Space Oddity… “ground control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six), commencing countdown engines on (five, four, three), check ignition and may God’s love be with you (two, one, lift off).” Whether we like it or not, a holiday countdown or blitz actually exists, and begins after Labor Day as marketers and advertisers masterfully manipulate their medusa-like puppets to rain down and sting us with endless trumpeting tentacles touting the “must haves” for the season. These advertisements are as subtle as Harvey Weinstein’s bedside manner.
As an interior designer, the number one “must have” requested of me during the holiday season is finding a dining table large enough to accommodate the most guests or solutions to address an existing table in order to increase seating capacity. The square footage of your dining room will ultimately dictate the amount of seating allowed and will also drive table type selection.
If your dining room is more square, let’s say 12’ x 12’, a 60-64” round table would be appropriate and assist with traffic flow because you don’t have the sharp edges of rectangular table. Perhaps you have an existing round table that is 48” diameter. A temporary solution for the holidays is to make a tabletop extender that could increase table diameter to 60-64”. There are many expert craftsmen in the Mid South that can create a custom top that attaches to your existing table frame to increase the number of guests you can seat. Most of these tabletop extenders fold easily for storage purposes.There are online vendors that provide this service, but using a local source will maximize customization and satisfaction.
Not only does the tabletop extender increase seating capacity, it can instantly give your dining room a makeover. I recently designed an oval tabletop extender measuring 54”w x 102” to fit a 36”w x 72” farm table and the results were dramatic. The entire look of the dining room changed and the oval table seemed to occupy less space than the rectangle table.
Ultimately, we all succumb in one way or another to the onslaught of holiday advertisements. After all, who can resist the lure of the fishnet adorned leg lamp with the golden shade and black fringe featured in the holiday movie classic, A Christmas Story? Decorate as you desire for the holidays as it’s your home and your rules apply. Just remember to make sure all guests have a seat at the table.

Cindy McCord

Cindy McCord Design
1289 S. DuBray Place
Collierville, TN 38107
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Dining rooms are the “heart” of a home. Many wonderful conversations and relationships are experienced over a dinner or a luncheon occasion. Never miss an opportunity for a fun or beautiful presentation. Create a special and meaningful atmosphere for your family and friends. When setting your table for any holiday, be as casual or as formal as the occasion calls for. If your event has a large number of guests and you plan to do a buffet, use a tall, dramatic arrangement. On the other hand, when having a seated dinner watch your size and scale. You want the arrangement to complement your table but not overpower it! Small arrangements in containers such as silver goblets or crystal stemware can be beautiful, yet simple. Incorporate family treasures as accents to make for a meaningful and conversational setting. Always add candlelight – high and low – to add to a soft, calm atmosphere.

Anthony Shaw

Anthony Shaw
Antiques & Jewelry
Chickasaw Oaks Plaza
3092 Poplar Ave, #7
Memphis, TN. 38111
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As a designer, I would consider the size of the dining room along with the size and shape of the table. One needs to decide if it’s a seated, formal dining experience, or if the table will be a serving center. This will also help determine tablescapes. A formal, seated event dictates a lower and less obtrusive decoration to encourage conversation across the table; whereas when using the table as a serving station, a larger and more elaborate arrangement makes a statement. I always use fresh flowers and if possible, incorporate family heirlooms mixed with newer acquisitions. The holidays are formal events, but for me celebrating with my family – including my grandchildren and dogs – is most important.

Warner Moore

Warner Moore
Interior Design
475 N. Highland, #12 A
Memphis, TN. 38122
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The holidays are upon us! What to do? Here are some ideas for a unique and festive dining room.

Thanksgiving: I love the fall season. There are so many natural things to chose from. A table with an array of small pumpkins of different colors nestled on a bed of sheet moss is lovely and will last a long time. Fall branches of turning leaves in a low container is also a beautiful look. A semi-permanent look like these can be enhanced with flowers for special evenings. Fall colors are so inviting. Don’t be afraid to use lots of color on your table. Cloths, placemats and napkins of shrimp, rust, orange, green or gold can brighten up your dining room. Table runners are also very effective. Find some beautiful fabric and make one yourself. Try using succulents instead of/or along with flowers. Making a tablescape brings the outdoors inside.
Christmas: My personal favorite holiday! For traditional decorating, try gathering sentimental accessories from around your house and use them to build a personal story about your family. Old toys or a collection you’ve acquired over the years. It’s refreshing to re-purpose things that mean something to you. A collection of Herend or porcelain birds and animals could work. Place them on a mirror you have cut for your table. These will make a permanent display throughout the season and can be interspersed with small vases of flowers for parties. A great contemporary look of silver and white branches, balls and candles with mirrored containers of white roses or paperwhites create a world of glamour.

Flowers should always be low or in tall, slender vases to allow conversation across the table. Using silver julep cups for flowers is also pretty and they take up very little room. Hand-made place cards during the holidays is a nice personal touch. Layer your table with cloths, placemats and chargers. This creates a full and lush look. Turn your dining room into a fantasy with garland and strings of tiny lights wrapped in beautiful ribbon. The sky’s the limit! Enjoy your holiday!

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