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Defining the dining

Kitchen ideas from Food magazine

Make your dining room look delicious with Resene paint and wallpaper.

Custom make your table mats

For most of us, the separate dining room has long gone. We may not be eating off our knees but certainly, our dining experience has become more casual – like a cross between a café experience and the classic farmhouse kitchen style of eating.

Meal times are often the only time we properly catch up with all members of the household, especially if you are a family of working adults and have busy and screen-fixated teens, or younger ones who are off to bed early.

Dining tables that are part of an open-plan space have also become multi-tasking centres – homework stations, an easy surface to pop the laptop or sit and check messages and emails, an arts and crafts space for younger children, or perhaps a place to spread out plans and samples when you’re in the midst of renovating.

Blue walls and crisp white.
Left: A stormy blue wall in Resene Coast defines this dining area and offsets natural elements like the timber table and concrete floor. The floor is protected with Resene Concrete Wax. Right: Resene Coast sets the tone for a traditional dining space, complemented by trims in Resene Albescent White, in an interior created by designer Michael Mansvelt.

It all began with the move towards open-plan living spaces and while some homeowners are choosing to reverse that by creating more intimate separate areas instead of having all of the living in one massive space, the dining table is still more likely to hover somewhere near the kitchen or the living room rather than have its own dedicated room.

Set the scene

It’s an important piece of furniture and its location may be driven more by practicality than aesthetics, but if you don’t want the dining table to look a bit visually lost, there are plenty of ways you can anchor it in a more open space, or give it some character, be it big or small, sleek or chunky:

Dining and lounge
A feature wall in Resene Bermuda Grey shows off the art, and backdrops the dining table in a house designed by architect John Mills.

  • If the dining table sits near a wall, consider making a feature of the wall by painting it in a strong Resene paint colour or covering it with a statement wallpaper from the Resene Wallpaper Collection.
  • Centre a large artwork on the wall behind the table.
  • Make the wall an artwork in itself using paint to create a colourblocked pattern, or paint effect.
  • Add a striking centrepiece to the table – a vase of flowers, a big bowl of fruit, an artful arrangement of ornaments or a casual assemblage of mis-matched vases.
  • Fit a pendant light to hang above the table; bring it down low for more drama.
  • Add wall-washing lights behind the table to make the backdrop appear more interesting and sculptural in the evening.
  • Try a deep stormy colour for a feature wall, or take the colour around a corner to cover two adjoining walls. Deep inky blues, velvety blacks and charcoals, and rich deep greens, such as Resene Indian Ink and Resene Foundry, are trending right now. Strong colours also hold up well under subdued evening lighting.

Dining rooms
Left: Wallpaper in a fun design suits a casual café table setting. This is design GP5935 from the Resene Wallpaper Collection. Team it with a deep blue such as Resene Astronaut. Right: Visually anchor the dining table and physically separate it from the rest of the living space with a feature wall like this one, finished in board and batten timbers and painted in Resene Linen.

Tricking up your table

Colour in the dining room doesn’t have to be limited to the walls. Check out these quick and quirky ideas; all it takes is a few Resene testpots, some simple ‘tools’ available in most kitchens and a little imagination.

Make frond patterns on linen in Resene Kaitoke Green (top right photo). Paint the stem with a paint brush then use a disposable bamboo fork to create fronds. The end of a straw dipped in Resene Snow Drift, and a cut apple dipped in Resene Spring Rain also create good effects.

A cheap pair of candlesticks can be transformed into marble-look stunners with paint. Paint them with two coats of Resene Alabaster, then fill a basin with water. Dip a brush into a tin of oil-based paint in Resene All Black, then touch it to the surface of the water. The paint will disperse but not dilute because it is oil-based. Then place the candlestick gently on the surface of the water and roll it over. Remove and allow to dry.

Create an easy and effective vase cluster for your dining table by masking old bottles and carafes and painting on stripes of colour. The ones pictured are finished in Resene testpots in Resene Cutty Sark, Resene Deep Teal, Resene Kandinsky, Resene Tequila and Resene Wax Flower.


Top tip:

If you’re keen on upcycling an old dining table or chairs by painting them, use Resene Enamacryl (gloss) for the job. It’s a tough, hardwearing waterborne enamel paint that will take the knocks of daily life but is easy to apply and clean up. If you’d prefer a semi-gloss finish, use Resene Lustacryl, or for a chalk style finish use Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen.


Kitchen Decorating Ideas
View more kitchen decorating ideas from Food magazine in the Resene kitchen inspiration gallery.

More ideas

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