How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Dining Room Decorating Mistakes | Kanebridge News
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How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Dining Room Decorating Mistakes

Advice on sidestepping the decor gaffes that design pros see most often in rooms meant to fire up appetites—from unpalatable wall colours to stingy rugs

Fri, Apr 28, 2023 8:30amGrey Clock 3 min

DINING ROOM décor gone awry can kill appetites. Whether your guests are flinching from an eerie portrait their chairs face or squeezing into too-tight seats, bad decorating can take the joy out of even the most well-concocted meal.

Los Angeles-based designer David Netto believes dinner guests are rarely eager to enter these stuffy rooms. “So what a dining room must have, above all, is atmosphere,” he said. Here, interiors pros detail five mood crushers in dining rooms, and palate-pleasing alternatives.

1. Blinding Lights

Ample light helps diners distinguish between mashed yams and potatoes, but cruelly aggressive bulbs inspire squinting, not conviviality. “Nothing will kill the vibe of a dinner party faster than harsh overhead lighting,” said Marina Medina, a Vancouver-based interior designer. No one feels good under 5000K LED bulbs, says Susane Jory, a designer in London, Ontario, “and few of us look good bathed in it.”

Instead: Kelly Finley, a designer at Joy Street Design in Oakland, Calif., relies on “recessed lighting on a dimmer, a chandelier with soft lightbulbs and wall sconces” for a softer shine. Mark Eckstrom votes for the old-timey romance of candlelight. Said the co-founder of Studio Eckström, in Omaha, Neb., “Every guest at your table should have faces aglow.”

2. Tasteless Walls

Think of a dining room’s walls as a platter on which dinner is served. Sterile white dishes with a hospital vibe often don’t flatter food. Nor do chaotically patterned ones. Similarly, when it comes to walls, some color can help, but Mr. Eckstrom returns to the effect décor has on complexions: “Sorry, but nobody looks good in a yellow or chartreuse room.” And Brian del Toro, a New York City interior designer, warns against surfaces with “overly active patterns, colours which are too bright or distracting, and combinations of the two, which aren’t soothing.”

Instead: Save the pattern-on-pattern alchemy for the powder room, and pursue colors like terracotta, rose and aubergine that Mr. Eckstrom says “stimulate appetite and reflect well on guests’ skin.” But know that naked walls don’t make people feel comfortable and sociable either. “Every seat should have a view—a window, art, sculpture, wallpaper, mirror, flowers,” he said.

3. Prissiness

You won’t feel inspired to plop down at your dining table for a casual brunch if it’s surrounded by austere crystal chandeliers and dusty mahogany sideboards. Mr. del Toro finds that most dining rooms skew too formal, dark and “limited,” appealing only for an evening dinner.

Instead: “Most of us lead relatively informal lives,” said Mr. del Toro, who likes dining rooms casual enough for sipping a smoothie or morning latte. Chris Goddard, an interior designer in Springdale, Ark., said he’s partial to installing weathered wood tables that, while inherently chillaxed, can be “dressed to the nines for a festive dinner.”

4. Sound-Bouncing Surfaces

When you ponder your dining room’s décor, remember that happy repasts aren’t silent. Poor acoustics can turn animated chatting into cacophony, said Olle Lundberg, a San Francisco designer. “Hard surfaces like stone flooring, plaster walls and large windows all bounce the sound back into the space, creating reverberation,” warned Mr. Lundberg.

Instead: For a more discussion-friendly space, Mr. Eckstrom prescribes a blend of softer materials like drapery, carpet, tapestries or a tablecloth “that help absorb echoes and promote conversation.” Mr. Lundberg goes further, endorsing the idea of covering walls with fabric or draping it from the ceiling. Many textiles come in “large formats and can often be installed seamlessly,” he said.

5. Failures of Scale

In a dining room, ill-fitting furniture is more than an eyesore—it can result in stubbed toes and dry-cleaning bills. “If you’ve placed a giant table in a small room,” said Ms. Jory, “your guests will invariably be wearing the soup as you squeeze behind them with the gazpacho.”

Even the size of a carpet can throw a wrench in the roast. “Rugs that are too small pinch the overall vignette,” said Jessica Lynn Williams, founder of Hendley & Co, in Newburgh, N.Y., who adds you should never force your guests to scooch their chairs awkwardly over the edge of a too-tiny rug.

Instead: An occupied chair should ideally have 3 feet of space behind it for proper circulation and flow, said Meg Lavalette, founder of Lava Interiors in New York City. And carpets should accommodate sliding chairs—without giving them any lip. Laura W. Jenkins, an interior designer in Atlanta, says that when it comes to light fixtures and rugs, she prefers to err on the side of a little too big.


Designers recall meal-spoiling decorating gaffes

“Once I saw a light fixture that hung so low and so close to the edges of the table that even the older kids in that family complained about bonking their heads against it!” —Noz Nozawa, interior designer, San Francisco

“I tried to convince [a client that] even though red was his favourite colour, it wasn’t a great choice for a dining space and that we could bring it in through other avenues—décor, rugs, wallpaper. We ended up not taking him on because he couldn’t get past the red for the dining room, but it was so bad.” —Shaolin Low, interior designer, Honolulu

“I was once seated in a dining room with a table that was too small. The chairs were covered in Fortuny, but not even the chicest choice of fabric could keep my knees from bumping against the person who was sitting next to me.” —Michelle Nussbaumer, interior designer, Dallas


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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