Not Your Mother’s Dining Room

4334 0

When it comes to creating that perfect dining room, there are no rules except to simply have fun with it!

Story by Ann Butenas

If you have been searching for a guide book to advise you how to create that perfect dining room space, you probably won’t find it here. In fact, according to JoAnn Craig, owner of Couches to Curios, a home furniture and décor consignment store in Overland Park, Kansas, there are no rules when it comes to creating the dining room best suited for your home. There truly are no trends or definitive styles. If it speaks to you and makes you happy, that should be the statement your dining room makes. In other words, just have fun with it.

“People are going more casual in their approach to the dining room,” noted Craig. “Designs are becoming more eclectic now, such as having chairs and a table that don’t necessarily match.” Formality with respect to this room has fallen to the wayside and a more casual ambiance is taking its place. Today’s dining rooms are inviting home owners to design it in whatever style they desire, and also giving them the freedom to switch it up as often as they choose.

“I love that people are putting into their homes what they like and what makes them happy,” expressed Craig. “It is no longer your mother’s dining room; it’s whatever you like and want it to be.” So, forget about that formal china (unless, of course, that is what you want to use!) and break out the table servings, furniture, décor and colors that make you smile. While your dining room may only be so big, the sky is the limit when it comes to making your own personal statement with it.

In other words, when it comes to making this space yours, the pressure is off and the fun is on! Enjoy incorporating those elements, styles, and designs that speak to you. As the following series of dining room features prove, this room can truly speak its mind and enjoy the results.



Amy Krause, Groover Interior Design

This classy dining room casually joins East Coast vibe with West Coast style, meeting here in the Midwest. Boasting the Hamptons feel of the Atlantic while embracing that beach fun essence of the Pacific, there is plenty of room to bring on the glam and encourage an inviting and fun space.

Among the exciting headliners of this room include the faux-finished metallic silver and pewter buffet, artistically done by Darla Larkin; the glass drum light fixture; the four white Chinese Chippendale chairs with caned seats, two slip-covered host chairs; and the not-to-be-missed zebra print cowhide rug, which adds a decided exotic flair, layered on top of the natural, Sisal rug.

“As part of the entry way to the home, this room makes its own first impression,” noted designer Amy Krause, of Groover Interior Design, who creatively incorporated all the exciting elements, including the faux-finished mirrors with gold leafing and a gallery-wrapped canvas art piece with metallic accents and added brush strokes to give it that classic hand-painted look.

Photo by Matthew Anderson



Carmen Thomas, Tran + Thomas Interior Design Studio

When this Leawood residence underwent a complete tear-down and re-build, its owners wanted the dining room to be an integral part of the family dynamic.

“The family uses this room every day,” noted designer Carmen Thomas, who worked in conjunction with business partner and designer Jill Tran to cater to the clients’ desire for a happy, fun and bright space.

Boasting an eclectic appeal while simultaneously encouraging a relaxed and upbeat ambiance, this room relies on a casual approach to make its statement. The key players include the green wallpaper mural; a Sisal area rug; rustic-style 150”-long table and chairs; and playful light fixtures. All combined, this spirited dining room is appropriately dressed for any occasion.

“Everything was chosen with respect to the mural,” said Tran, who also gave a nod to the glass cabinet, purposely used to create the illusion of more light in the room.

Adding to the fun is an eye-catching contemporary art piece on the wall, contributed by local artist Paige Davis of the Kansas City Art Institute. Tran+Thomas also created the centerpiece, a bread box filled with succulents and white quartz rocks.

Photo by Matthew Anderson



Arlene Ladegaard, Design Connection Inc.

When this 1960s-style home needed an updated look, the homeowner looked no further than to Arlene Ladegaard, principal designer and owner of Design Connection, Inc. Through a complete remodeling effort, Ladegaard introduced a variety of statement pieces to allow for a casual feeling in an eye-catching transitional setting.

“This is a very tailored, yet not super dressy, room,” indicated Ladegaard, who chose to make the Java finish table and contemporary upholstered chairs with navy linen fabric the primary focal point, extending beyond that with conversation-starting elements such as textured drapes, an elongated chrome chandelier accented by crystal, coordinating wall sconces for a softer ambiance, and a custom-made shelf for ease of serving.

“We eliminated the former china buffet and cabinet and added this shelf, providing more depth and width to the room,” stated Ladegaard.

Photo courtesy of Design Connection



Carla Rieke, Madden-McFarland Interiors

This Leawood dining room has you at “hello,” with its trifecta of customized touches:  the leather upholstered door leading into the butler’s pantry; the faux finished ceiling; and the specialty, hand-painted wallpaper. Upon entering the home, this room greets you with its show-stopping design.

Designer Carla Rieke of Madden-McFarland Interiors took to the task when creating this one-of-a-kind dining room, catering to the clients’ love of entertaining family and friends for both formal and informal gatherings.

“The clients already had the furniture, so that set the tone for the room,” expressed Rieke, who leaned towards the “wow” factor when incorporating other elements into this modern yet equally transitional space, such as the angled ceiling, the block pattern of the wallpaper to create movement, and the central light fixture above the table, all an expression of the clients’ penchant for unusual things.

“The light fixture was initially risky, but was just the right selection that added a touch of drama and sophistication to a beautiful room,” said Rieke.

Photo by Matthew Anderson



Patrick Madden & Sharon Cooper, Madden-McFarland Interiors

Working in tandem with Patrick Madden of Madden-McFarland Interiors, designer Sharon Cooper created a masterpiece of a dining room in this Loch Lloyd residence remodeling project.

Beginning with the existing minimally-designed yet equally captivating chandelier, the room was built around that piece.

“We were lucky to start with a blank slate,” noted Madden, who credits Cooper with installing numerous well-appointed elements.

With a host of unique, yet highly compatible, pieces, the decided personality of the space is definitely on full throttle, combining a delightful visual symphony of color, warmth, depth and style.

Highlights of the room include the gold metallic-glazed linen fabric on the chairs, complete with an open ring on the back of each; a moody blue-green paint for a hand-washed effect on the walls; a coffered ceiling with exposed hand-carved wood beams mixed with a gold leaf ceiling treatment; wide plank floors; a clean mantel with accompanying light fixtures; tailored drapery panels; a series of cracked egg shapes with gold leaf interiors randomly placed on the wall for sculpture-like appeal; and a breath-taking live edge Chamacha Wood console underneath.

“This room really is a beautiful mix of nature, contemporary and classic design elements,” said Madden. “Everything is perfect for the room.”

Photo by Matthew Anderson



Kim Rice, R. Designs, LLC

This traditional dining room with tendencies towards a transitional appeal is just as cozy and inviting as it is elegant.  Boasting that “ta-da!” feeling as your eyes first notice how the stunning chandelier, art work, mirror and area rug effectively harmonize bringing visual music to the space. With homeowners that love to entertain a crowd at the holidays, this room is ready to get the job done.

“We kept the same color to the room but brought in new furniture pieces,” noted designer Kim Rice, of R. Designs, LLC.

Working in tandem with the client’s transitional tastes, Rice brought in the new dining set and credenza that together offer the perfect spot to introduce the custom-designed, paisley-like patterns on the chairs. Dining in style while promoting relaxed elegance is written all over this room.

Photo by Mike Boatman

About The Author