Dramatic Dining Rooms, Part 2

In the last post about dramatic interior decorating in the dining room, we learned about creating the concept and some quick tips for things to think about and look for in fabrics, lighting, furniture, accessories and started to get a picture of what we wanted for our dramatic dining room. In this post I want to get into a more indepth discussion of furniture, window treatments and all the great details.


All the colors, patterns, textures, and lighting in the dining room should provide a flattering setting for the dining table. Think of this as the star, center stage, and everything else, including existing features such as a fireplace or window, as important but supporting role players.

You are going to want to place the table in an area for maximum impact, for example under a central, eye-catching light fixture, or framed by a window treatment or a handsome fireplace. Alternatively, you can create your own impact or focal point if you don’t have one. Position a sideboard or serving table to balance the dining table, and use the top for a dramatic display (like you would if you didn’t have a mantle), with lights or candles to each side. Other ideas could be an elaborate screen, an ornate mirror, bold picture display, topiaries, potted palms, or other large, leafy plants.

As befits the most important feature in the dining room, the table should take center stage; not only with tableware, linen, and accessories to enhance your theme, but because of its own impact. If your dining table and chairs are unexceptional or not really all that noteworthy, fix them up using spectacular patterned and colored fabric. A fabulous floor-length cloth, tailored to flatter the table shape, and chair slipcovers, will alter the whole look of the room. If all your chairs require is a simple change of color, lavishly upholstered seat pads will instantly focus attention where you want it.

Window Treatments

Window treatments reflect and enhance the look of the room but also frame the light coming from the window. Be generous here with shape, color, and texture for the most dramatic look. Use rich velvets and glowing silks – saris are relatively inexpensive item with super expensive looks – swaged and draped in lavish folds, and trimmed with rich braids, fringing, and tassels.

Alternatively, you could choose a more restrained elegance. Minimalist blinds, tailored pelmets and lambrequins, and graphic prints such as those with classical motifs or calligraphy, all have a dramatic undertone. This bold, almost stark approach can be just as relevant in the right setting as lavish furnishings in sumptuous, period-inspired style.

Decorative Details

Because the dramatic decorating style has to be larger than life and adds an element of fantasy to the norm, you can really indulge a passion for extravagance when it comes to choosing accessories and style details. Make sure each element earns its place visually in the scheme of things, lots and lots of thing, accessories, means a loss of impact.

Let your theme dictate a signature color choice for tableware, fabric covers, table mats or color accent under plates, and match crockery and cutlery to stemware where possible, whether it is elegant crystal or extravagantly tinted, gilded, or beaded in style.

Be indulgent with table centerpieces – use fruit, vegetables, flowers, or natural forms. These offer lots of dramatic potential. Candles are a must for a dramatic dining room! Incorporate them with abandon – arrange them at different heights for effect. The containers you use should echo your theme. Architectural pedestal urns, oversized, sleek, and modern glass vases, carved ethnic bowls, and antique-style metal or rustic clay and wicker, all speak volumes about mood and ambience.

And there you have it, how to decorate your most dramatic room in your home, the dining room! I hope you have learned something and will continue to refer back to this post for future decorating tips and advice.

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