Last year we did a light makeover on our combined kitchen/family room which involved painting everything a glorious white and bringing in color through furniture and accessories. Our bright little breakfast nook in particular is one of my favorite corners of our home and the space we primarily eat in as a family. It’s the place where I tap away on my laptop in a pinch, and where my son does homework right after school. We’ve colored, crafted, and cooked all over this little corner and I have so many happy memories here. We went with a vintage Saarinen-inspired tulip table which comfortably seats our four Tolix chairs. But there’s definitely still room for more seating, which is one of the best perks of a round table. There’s always room for someone else! Which got me to thinking – what about doing a banquette against the window to offer more seating and a dash of drama to the room?
And inevitably I fell down the rabbit hole over on Pinterest…
While most people seem to go the built-in route, we probably wouldn’t be able to do a built-in due to the arrangement of the kitchen and the air conditioner vents. And to be honest, I’d prefer something a little more flexible (read: less permanent) like a long bench or upholstered piece of some kind. In fact, this photo just below from BHG was one of my inspiration pics when I was designing the space. I LOVE that freestanding banquette!
How fun is this pair of whimsically upholstered banquettes in a clean, modern space?
I think we definitely have the room to do something somewhat substantial, moreso than just a backless bench. I envision something cozy because despite how much I love the look of our red Tolix chairs, they do sit a little bit cold, especially in the dead of winter when you’re trying to wake up over that first cup of coffee. I envision something cozy but practical. And fabric choice is obviously a huge consideration as we have little ones and would need it to be ultra durable – maybe a Sunbrella option would be best?
Here are some of my top picks for what I’d put in the space. I really love the whimsy of that striped option.
I’d love some input on this. What are your thoughts? Upholstery? No upholstery? Arms? No arms? The sky’s the limit, isn’t it?
With the hosting season quickly approaching, it is time to set up storage and organization that will make entertaining a breeze.
About a year ago we found an inexpensive china hutch on Craigslist and transformed it into one of our favorite pieces in our home. Not only does it make a statement in our dining area, it expanded our storage capacity for all things dining, partying and hosting. Now that we have been living with it and using it daily for storing everything “entertaining” related, I couldn’t image life without it.
The most traditional use of a china cabinet is to store and display dishware and serving pieces. Selecting cabinets with glass doors and open shelving creates a grand visual statement within any dining space, allowing you to swap out decor and display items seasonally or as needs change.
Proper flatware and china boxes should be used to store your most valuable and precious pieces, while plate stands and wire baskets keep things simple and casual.
Drawers are another winning solution for dinnerware storage. Place plates, bowls and mugs within drawer dish organizers and you have quick access at meal time. These organizers are easy to grab from and keep the putting away process easy breezy as well.
Aside from the most common uses; china cabinets also double as storage for table lines, candles, centerpieces and napkin holders. Line the bottom of the linen drawer with a mild or unscented dryer sheet to keep napkins and table runners smelling fresh in-between uses. Butterfly clips work great for keeping sets of linens together as well.
Installing floating shelves above a cabinet or credenza can achieve the same storage impact as a standard china cabinet. Whether using the credenza or a china hutch, both are fitting for creating a coffee station. Install mug hooks, add trays of special syrups, sugars and creamers along with your coffee machine and you have just created a zone that will make for a smooth morning routine.
The addition of a wine glass rack, serving tray, drink mixers and bar accessories and suddenly you have a stocked bar for 5 o’clock happy hour.
These stand-in cabinets make the most of a kitchen and dining area by adding more cabinetry and storage than what was ever built-in with the home. Not only are these furniture pieces ideal for the pretty serving pieces, cookbooks and barware, the concealed storage below makes them optimal for stashing away those bulky cooking and baking gadgets as well as unsightly small appliances.
One of my favorite house tours on BHG.com is this stunning colorful California apartment. Each space has a distinctive feel and look but it remains cohesive with the way the homeowner used bold colors throughout. But the standout room is undoubtedly the navy-walled dining room. With pops of gold and a mix of patterns, it screams California cool. So let’s break down the elements to help you get the look.
While it looks like there’s a lot of color going on, there’s really only three used primarily: navy, emerald green, and peony pink. White is the neutral that grounds the space and gives the viewer’s eye a place to rest which is necessary when you’re going with such statement-making colors all in one room. The chair rail and other details like the silver tea service on the shelves keep it feeling somewhat formal, but the real stylistic magic comes with the way the owner mixed and matched some fun and funky glamorous pieces to make it one of a kind.
With an interesting mix of patterns and prints, the rug is the perfect scale to ground the room. Had the chevron-esque print been any larger, it would have skewed the entire space as far to busy, and would have competed with the large-scale floral print on the dining room chairs. As it is, your eye views it as a fine print that adds texture and not just a visually-jarring pattern.
Top tips to get this look:
1. Stick with a tight color palette, no more than 2 to 3 colors at most. Other colors can be added in but only in small doses.
2. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns, but do consider the scale.
3. Do decide on a neutral to give your eye a place to rest.
TREND: Demijohn bottles as singular statements.
The dining room above gets a boost from an interesting sconce and chandelier, but most of the focus is drawn to the spray of pink blossoms in a large, blue demijohn. Take that centerpiece away, and the room falls flat. It seems people have been drawn to these small-necked, large-bottomed glass vessels as standalone design statements with increasing frequency over the past few seasons. The oversized scale is appealing, and the transparency of glass allows them to take up a lot of space in a room without overwhelming it. If you’re drawn to the look, you can achieve it with the similar items below. And don’t forget a couple of flowering branches or long-stemmed blooms to complete the look!
- Claire Chandelier, Ballard Designs
- Multi Mirror Star Wall Sconce, Shades of Light
- Vintage Paper Chandelier Shade, Shades of Light
- Threshold Demijohn Blue Vase, Target
- Claire de Lune Cane Arm Chair, Wayfair
- Caprice Pedestal Table, Ballard Designs
- Dusty Miller Paint, Glidden
– Nicole Balch, Making it Lovely
TREND: Channeling bohemian style in a new, more tailored way.
Take one part vivid colors, one part rough-hewn vintage texture, and one part pattern. Mix well and serve as the new take on bohemian style. The cozy spot above is a home office that embodies the look, and you can get a similar room with the items below. Get those dining chairs in multiples and set the table with dishes instead of books, and it would make a fantastic dining room, too!
- Parker Settee, Ballard Designs
- Solid Slate Kantha Throw, West Elm
- Phaleonopsis Orchid, Hooks and Lattice (this one is faux, but real ones are easy to come by at florists)
- Simone Wicker Dining Chairs, Ballard Designs
- Vintage Ladders, Treasures by Betsy
- Parallel Reality Rug, FLOR
- Wine Barrel Chandelier, Restoration Hardware
– Nicole Balch, Making it Lovely
TREND: Mismatched furniture united by color.
The chairs in the dining room, above, may have been collected over time, but a coat of matching paint brings the different styles together. It’s a fun look and a great option for those of us that love to pick up odd chairs here and there at thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets. And if you like the look but don’t have the time or inclination to hunt around for the perfect mix, you can get the look with new chairs, too, either by buying them in matching shades or painting them. You can get the look with the pieces below!
- Indigo Tie-Dye Napkins, World Market
- Zig Zag Table Runner, The Cross
- Väte Paper Pendant, IKEA
- Pale Honey Paint, Behr
- Willa Peacock Side Chair, Crate & Barrel
- Vintner Peacock Side Chair, Crate & Barrel
- Vienna Peacock Side Chair, Crate & Barrel
- Village Faella Side Chair, Crate & Barrel
- Boerum Dining Table, West Elm
- Bleached Jute Rug, RugsUSA
– Nicole Balch, Making it Lovely