Casual and Cozy Dining Space

Our dining room is the literal and figurative center of our home. Not only do we eat and entertain guests here, but we also spend a lot of time here doing art projects, playing games, reading, and working on the computer. My uncle built our beautiful custom white oak table. He and I designed it together, and I love everything about it, from the color and grain of the wood to the trestle legs. It it is definitely the nicest piece of furniture we own and I’m sure it will be a family heirloom for many generations. It’s large enough to fit my wife’s whole family for holiday meals (we’ve been able to comfortably seat fourteen), as well as spread out projects that require a large work surface. I love settling in here with a cup of tea to work on my blog or read a book while enjoying the view of the woods nearby.

We have banquette bench seating on two sides of our dining table, and this is a big part of what makes the space so comfortable. We started out with three IKEA cubby units laid out in an L shape. My uncle built and helped us upholster a cushioned bench top to fit these units. I chose to upholster them with a beige linen fabric and sewed a bunch of throw pillows with patterned fabrics to match. Not only does this create a comfy space to sit back and lounge at the table (it reminds me of hanging out in a cozy coffee shop), but it’s also an excellent use of space. With banquette seating, you can put the table much closer to the wall since you don’t need space to pull chairs in and out. This enabled us to fit an extra wide dining table in our room. We also put gray felt storage bins in all of the bench cubbies. Since you have to crawl under the table to access most of them, I use them to store things that I don’t need to get out very often, like holiday decorations.

To add even more storage to the dining room, we created a feature wall with some cabinets and shelving. We used pieces from the mix-and-match BESTA series to create a buffet unit that fit our needs. Above this, we hung some open shelves and a framed photograph I had taken of a lighthouse. I use the shelves to display decorative items and enjoy changing them up seasonally.

We also got these modern stainless steel wine bottle racks to hang on the shelves. Too bad we rarely have bottles of wine just sitting around waiting to be opened! The design of them is neat, though, and if I ever want to save a bottle of wine for a special occasion, I will know just where to put it!

I like to display family photos, artwork, and a letter board, as well as candles, baskets, and serving trays that I use while entertaining. I think open shelving can be both decorative and functional, as long as you use it to store items that have some visual appeal. In other words, you won’t see me storing mismatched mugs or Tupperware on these shelves!

My motto is that no room is complete without a few plants. The plant stand in the corner was another IKEA find–I think the white pots and wood legs go well with the other elements in the room.

For our dining chairs, I chose these modern translucent chairs. I think they look light and airy and I like that they don’t add any visual weight to the room. They really allow the dining table to shine. Plus, they’re super easy to clean. They’re pretty comfortable, but to be honest, I rarely sit in them unless we have company because our bench seats are way more cozy.

Unfortunately, our home came with ugly builder-grade light fixtures in every room. This industrial chandelier was our first attempt at hardwiring a light fixture, and it was so worth the effort. Installing a dimmer switch ended up being the most difficult part of the project–we accidentally interrupted a circuit and lost the power to half the rooms in our house for a few days (oops). But we were able to conquer this project in the end, and I love the fixture’s rustic metal finish and Edison lightbulbs.

I’m looking forward to making many more family memories in this room in the years to come. I hope you enjoy some cozy meals of your own with your loved ones this fall 🙂

Our first family meal at our dining table, 3 years ago
Mars thinks the table was built just for him!
Please feel free to pin or share 🙂

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