By its nature, the dining room is a place for dining, but just because it may be the scene of the more formal family or guest dining, doesn't mean you should sacrifice comfort and style in your dining room furniture.
For many families, the dining room sees less and less use these days, with most families gathering around the kitchen table, or, as is increasingly more common, everyone grabbing a bite when they can as the rush back and forth between work, appointments, sporting events, and other busy goings on.
So, when you do finally gather around the dining room, especially during the holiday season, it's important those meals and memories are well worth the wait.
The first step in choosing dining room furniture is to know what you plan to use it for. The most obvious piece of furniture is the table, and this should be chosen with a few key things in mind. First, always plan for expansion. When choosing a dining room table, make sure to pick one that will comfortably seat your family and a few guests, but can easily convert into a larger table for those evening dinner parties, afternoon tea times or morning brunches.
With the right table, you can ensure that while you may have to set the table settings closer than usual, you are never at a loss for seating. Another way to plan to accommodate larger groups is to have a serving area nearby. A chest-o-drawers with the right top and cloth can serve as a buffet table. It also can serve as an area to place dishes out of the way when everyone has been served. Make sure to keep it at arm's length from your seat though so you can easily pass the desserts.
Seating should be comfortable yet match the table settings. Obviously, purchase a table and chair set whenever possible, and though the family may have five, purchase a few extra matching chairs to plan for the inevitable company and guests.
For extra seating, fold up chairs are fine, even for more elegant gatherings; however, you need to make sure you pick chairs with comfortable cushioning and matching fabrics. It's a good idea to plan your formal table settings ahead of time as well as the items you plan to hang in the room, such as pictures. That way, you know what types of colors will set atop the table and will dominate the room and can match the chairs, table cloths and napkins accordingly.
Even the most casual of dining rooms can capture the elegant feel. If you don't have the money to spend on the furniture and you have a rag tag collection of old hand-me-down chairs and tables, don't fret. Fabric can turn even the most weathered and beaten looking furniture into a formal setting. Don't go overboard, and pick rich, deep colors then purchase place settings and centerpiece items, such as flowers or candles, to match.
Matching colors accented throughout the room will tie everything together.