Family dinner time has taken a hit for quite some time. With busy family members grabbing a quick bite to go, the dining table is either collecting dust or has been turned into a workspace.
But there are signs that a sit-down meal is becoming more fashionable, which means dining rooms are back in vogue. In the January 2017 Home Buyer Reference survey, 73 percent of those who responded said the dining room was “essential or desirable,” according to a spokeswoman for the National Association of Home Builders.
For some homeowners, that means updating or simply making a dining room from existing space. Essentials to consider include paint, lighting, storage needs, flooring, chairs and, of course, the table.
Color is making a comeback in the dining room, said Teresa Dever, style and service expert at the West Elm store in Downtown Summerlin.
“Color is huge,” Dever said. “We have a lot of really great colorful chairs that are popular. Bolder, light color prints are fun and flirtatious. Our clients are gravitating toward using upholstery fabric that really pops.”
They also are reaching beyond pine and oak for the dining room centerpiece.
“Where you usually find wood, our clients are using different materials in the dining room,” she said. “They are looking for more durable materials, like lava stone.”
As people move away from traditional wood dining tables and chairs, they continue to want natural elements in the room.
“They are also very receptive to mixing metals in the dining rooms,” she said. “It gives great texture to the room, and it’s also durable and heat-resistant materials, such as lava, glass and stone.”
Dark wood is the furniture of the past. Consumers are reaching for reclaimed and whitewashed wood to reflect their style.
“Our Emerson collection of reclaimed wood really never goes out of style,” she said. “Because it is naturally aged wood, it has more of a gray or lighter tone. It’s really versatile and pairs well with different chairs, from velvet to industrial.”
Reclaimed wood is often sought for its durability as well.
“If you happen to dent it or scratch it, you don’t have to worry about it as much as a traditional solid wood dining table because it just adds to the table’s aesthetic,” she said.
A more durable trend is the acid-washed brass style of table, which is used in West Elm’s Presley collection.
“It almost has a life of its own,” Dever said.
The table top is a large wood plank that has been wrapped in brass. The raw brass is acid washed and sealed to preserve the patina, which is unique to each piece.
“It’s a work of art,” she said. “And it’s great for the dining room because it won’t stain or scratch.”
Durability has become a defining part of the dining room pieces, she said.
“Wood takes a lot of work to keep up compared to stone, which is why a lot of our clients are gravitating toward materials other than wood,” Dever said. “It’s not formal, and kids can do their artwork or gather around and play games.
Which means that while the dining room has made a comeback, it still serves as a multifunctional space.
“The word ‘dining room’ can mean different things to different people,” Dever said. “In Las Vegas, we have a lot of great rooms that people blend into the dining room. It’s not just a formal place where you host holidays. It’s also where you have your daily life, and people are realizing they want the dining room to reflect the style of the rest of the house, not just be functional.”
China Wheeler and her husband, Jahmar Webb, juggle work, family and fun on their dining room table daily.
“It’s where the kids and I get together, and it’s always cluttered,” Wheeler said. “It’s one of the main spaces in our home. Mail, toys, sweaters, everything piled up in that room on every surface.”
She applied for the Ikea Home Tour makeover and was one of two local families chosen for a room redesign. The team came in and transformed the room from a catch-all to an organized and stylish space. The makeover is featured at hometourseries.com.
“We always start by looking at the function needed in the space,” said Whitney Hutchinson, designer and a member of the Ikea Home Tour squad. “These makeovers make life at home a little better and help them achieve their dreams of having homes that they love.”
A Bjursta extendable table connects to a higher bar table, offering depth to the space as well as functionality. Wheeler can bake her cookies for her new online baking business while her children do their homework and play at the dining table. The Bernhard bar stool with backrest paired with the Volfgang chair are sleek and stylish and slip under the table to be tucked away when not in use.
A Malm desk holds her computer, which stores her beloved cookie recipes. Her children can also be on the computer under mom’s watchful eye while the rest of the family gathers in the living room. A Blames high chair continues the look.
A set of Trofast frames with storage boxes keeps all the kids’ toys perfectly placed far from the floor and table top where they tend to gather. A Trones storage cabinet on the wall provides more storage without adding bulk to the room.
Picture frames and ledges give the room personality and warmth. The Nymo lamp shades add a sophisticated focal point to the otherwise transitional room.
The entire room renovation cost just over $2,200 and combines Wheeler’s love of family with function.
“It’s now a place where we can all get together, and it’s so comfortable,” she said. “It shows off what we love, with all the family photos, and we can have more things in there, and it doesn’t feel cramped.”