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How to Create a Contemporary Dining Room

These days, few people have the luxury of a separate, formal dining room used purely for entertainment, which is why there are so many multi-functional areas that fulfill more than just the need for a pleasant space in which to eat.

A dining room can be a quiet backwater where the children can do their homework or books can be read in a comfy chair. Alternatively, the eating area can become a hive of activity, by being positioned in one of the main rooms, either in the kitchen, or as a part of the living room, where people cannot only dine but watch television, talk, or work at the table.

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Once the function of the room has been determined, you can turn your thoughts to the design or color scheme of the room. This should be a well-balanced mix of your own personality and a style that is sympathetic to both the age of the property and the proportions of the room.

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This perfectly styled, contemporary dining room is a great example of style on a budget. It is an achievable look for a first-time homeowner or someone constantly moving house and wanting to keep furnishings to an absolute minimum.

The room is decorated using off-white emulsion paint, with the addition of one wall that has had a soft mushroom stripe applied, also with emulsion paint. This is a very cost-effective form of decorating; just use a plumb line or ruler and masking tape to achieve the stripes.

The carpet is a fine check in soft caramel and cream, as is the top tablecloth, and the change of scale between the two patterns means they do not compete. They are also broken up by the underclothes with its flowing calligraphy motif. By using floor-length tablecloths, you can employ any old table; it could even be an old metal patio table or a tabletop made of chipboard.

The texture is as important as the pattern in a room like this, and this design supplies lots of it in a very contemporary way. The softness of the carpet, the cold smooth wrought iron, the rustic aged timber, cane basketwork and the distressed terra­cotta work together extremely well. You will find that textures derived from nature always work successfully in this type of color scheme.

As this is a neutrally colored room, it relies on changes of tone to be successful. Look at it as if it were a black and white photograph and you will see ample variation. The scheme is lifted by the introduction of a color accent in the form of two green plants.

Another advantage to this color scheme is that it looks just as effective in the evening, with its soft candlelight from the chandelier hanging above the table.

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