A home’s dining room, formal or otherwise, often lends itself, you might say, to special treatment — to some extra charm or character. Or…a bit of drama!
The dining room is, after all, a gathering place; a place of conversation and conviviality.
Creating ambiance for an enhanced dining experience may follow many paths:
Some dining rooms are pretty,
Others are elegant, refined, graceful….
Many dining rooms are casual,
Or, tastefully contemporary;
Some are quaint:
But…some dining rooms have an element of drama, — or are all-out dramatic.
What elements work to create a dramatic effect or feel?
• Color — of course! Color has the “talent” to play a big, big role. Especially effective: wall colors that are deep and rich; dark colors, even black; colors on the bright side can work.
• Chandeliers scaled oversize for effect. Glittery ones work.
• Shiny objects; some glamour.
• Large paintings, filling the wall space. Oversize, framed mirrors. Ornate frames on art and mirrors.
• Contrast: dark and light colors; contrasting styles.
Here’s a selection of dining rooms, or dining areas, that have elements of drama:
In this dining area designed by Paul Gray, the 1960′s oversize chandelier strikes an immediate dramatic effect. The curtains and wall of bronzed glass play a role. The large ocean-scene painting, conjuring the drama of the sea, provides an additional element.
Image source: Elle Decor. Photograph: Nathan Kirkman.
Red can be relied upon to set the stage for drama. The large gilt-framed painting plays its part. Filling the fairly small space with pattern and furnishings intensifies the action. Note the contrast of traditional and contemporary styles.
Designer: Robert Couturier.
Elegance doesn’t necessarily translate into dramatic. This dining room, with its oversize mirror and rich walls, crosses into dramatic territory.
Designer: Jan Showers.
Lighting effects can create drama, as in this open dining area. The Swarovski-crystal chandelier has star quality.
Designer: Campion Platt. Architectural Digest.
It’s starkly, darkly elegant. It has an element of theatricality. It’s dramatic.
Designer: Jill Van Tosh. From Elle Decor.
Glitter and glam stand out against a black wall. The table top shimmers. The chandelier glimmers. The curved sofa and red-hot chairs lend to the glamorous and dramatic feel of this dining room.
Designer: Amy Lau. Photograph: Kim Sargent. Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine.
Seriously dramatic is this dining area with its deep charcoal walls. The interplay of the white vertical lines of the mirror frames with the dark vertical lines of the oversize suspended lamp shade visually contain the area. The high contrast of dark and light lends to the dramatic effect.
Designer: Jiun Ho.
With a theatrical nod, sheer curtains are parted to reveal this dramatically staged dining alcove. Some of the elements at play: high ceiling with rustic beams; glamorous chandelier; chairs with character; oversize centerpiece. The grouping of framed prints, with their emotional content, add to the aura.
Designers: MJ Berries Design. Image from Traditional Home magazine, Nov., 2009.
So, how about Your Dining Room?
Could it be that your dining room is dying to be a drama queen? Or, maybe looking for a bit role? The ideas above may give you hints for realizing its desires.
Additional ideas — or reminders
Use and combine elements such as these:
• Color: Rich, deep, dark, or bright.
• Chandeliers – scaled for effect.
• Striking contrasts.
• Use scale: oversize furnishings and accessories. Especially effective in a smaller spaces.
• Boldly patterned wallpaper, or boldly patterned fabric on upholstered chairs.
• Exotica can be used in the scene, conjuring exciting travel.
• Abundance: while not necessary to the dramatic formula can add to the equation.
• Furniture pieces with character, presence. Sideboards and hutches, for instance, that have stand-out looks.
• Glamor and sparkle.
I’ll wrap things up with this dining area designed by Jonathan Adler. Is it dramatic? The design evokes a bit of a parody on the whole idea. A bold pattern, of seemingly somewhat errant black and white zigzags, traverses the floor. The chairs, Chinese Chippendale — a modern take on the style — perch almost playfully upon the pattern. The modernist 1966 Warren Platner dining table is in stark stylistic contrast. Bursts of color, from deep, to rich, to bright, play across the scene. It’s fun. It toys with drama.
Image source: House Beautiful.
The curtains must close on this post…
Sources and credits for the numbered images above:
1. From Coastal Living at MyHomeIdeas. Photographer: Tria Giovan. 2. Designer: Jamie Drake. From Traditional Home. Photographer: John Bessler. 3. Designers: John Dransfield & Geoffrey Rosss. From Elle Decor. Photographer: Simon Upton. 4. Architectural designer: Virgil W. McDowell. Photographer: Joe Schmeizer. From Traditional Home. 5. Designer: Jan Showers. 6. Designer: Susan Dowhower. From Traditional Home. 7. Designer: Nate Berkus. Photographer: Pieter Estersohn. From Elle Decor. 8 and 9: From HouseToHome, UK. 10. Designer: Laura Bohn. 11. From HouseToHome, UK. 12. From Country Living. Photographer: Michael Luppino. 13. Designer: John Peixinho. Photographer: Don Freeman. From House Beautiful.