Call 913-210-0511 or Contact Us

You eat three meals a day, right? I hope they aren’t in a car or at your office desk, but if they’re in less-than-stellar surroundings, that’s even more reason to have an extra special place to gather with your family at the end of the day. While most people today eat in the kitchen, a designated dining area makes a meal – and your home — more wholesome.

Q: Is a formal dining room necessary?

A: I personally love a formal dining room; I think they’re gorgeous. We can only seat four in our kitchen, so we actually use our dining room when we have people over. I’ve had the same glass table since 1978 and chairs from 1980. It’s all timeless – the chairs are large-scale Chippendales, which you can still find today, and the end chairs are in a completely different style, which is trendy right now. Most people still keep the formal dining room, but the overall look is more casual.

Q: How do you approach the design of a dining room?

A: Chairs can be a different style than the table, and not even from the same manufacturer. We do a lot of upholstered dining chairs and generally use all side chairs for convenience.
The look right now is light and tailored. Sometimes I still like wallpaper, especially if it has a metallic background. Grass cloth gives a real tailored, textured look to walls. The design of this space should be all about texture, bling, and creatively, using different sources rather than buying a blanket look for a room.

Q: How can I make my breakfast area feel special?

A: Using a bench on one side and chairs on the other is a great look. Built-in banquettes are another option. A different shaped table, such as an oval, can be really interesting. A rug underneath can tie the décor together, and you can still have a rug if you have children, as long as you buy one that’s cleanable.

Q: What other types of furniture should I include in the dining room?

A: The formal dining room doesn’t include hutches anymore because nobody serves on china. Instead, it should have a buffet or a unique piece of furniture that isn’t the same style as the table. Sometimes the only other thing I include besides the table and chairs is a console. This item can definitely be a unique piece — an antique or brand new — perhaps with a mirror above. We will use our in-house architect to create an exact space plan ahead of time to figure out how much room you have for anything else.

Q: How can we get the most conversation-starting chandelier?

A: The fixture over the table is what makes the difference in this room. It’s the one thing we really have the most fun picking out, whether it’s a chandelier over the table or sconces on the walls. That’s where we add bling, like crystal, chrome, or gold is really big right now. I love the way these materials sparkle and shine.

Q: How should I budget for a new dining room?

A: A beautiful dining room is expensive. It’s a lot more work for an interior designer to create, and it’s much more unique because we’re not using matching sets; we’re integrating designs and sources. The job involves more than going local store and picking up set of table, chairs and hutch. All those images of dining rooms you see on Houzz are a fair amount of expense. As a designer of 40 years, I’ve seen many designs come and go, but an integrated design will stand the test of time, just like my own dining room has. I still love my chairs. I still remember they were $300 apiece; that was a lot of money in 1980. But with a color change they are perfect.

Design Tip: “There are many gorgeous new style chandeliers in the market place today. A dining room fixture is often considered a piece of jewelry for your room. Be creative and have fun and think out of the box. Take down that old boring fixture; change the shape and the finish. Check out pictures of rooms you love and go shopping!”



Whether you want to create a dining room design that is modern, contemporary, traditional, or eclectic, the interior designers at Design Connection, Inc. can help you bring your vision to life. Give Arlene a call at 913-210-0511 or e-mail her at

Getting Ready for an Interior Design Project? Contact Us