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  • Paladino

    Framing a series of 16 ornithological prints in mirrored frames completed this dining room with interest and light. Photo courtesy of Allison Paladino.

  • Swaim

    Mix eclectic looks to create a dining room with flair. Ladder-back chairs paired with a table of chic, simple lines and chateau-inspired art offset a contemporary geometric rug. Photo courtesy of Swaim.

  • Dining

    Round tables like this trestle-style table with contemporary round back chairs from Swaim, encourage conversation.

  • Swaim

    Avant-garde chairs with a European influence surround a round, glass table with a bronze base. A buffet in satin walnut and gold detailing complement the look while adding ease to hosting an elegant dinner party. Photo courtesy of Swaim.

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Avant-garde chairs with a European influence surround a round, glass table with a bronze base. A buffet in satin walnut and gold detailing complement the look while adding ease to hosting an elegant dinner party. Photo courtesy of Swaim.


Selecting the Right Dining Chairs

The right dining chairs can add both comfort and design appeal. Andy Swaim, president of Swaim, Inc., suggests considering the following elements when selecting dining chairs: function, frame, finish and fabric.

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  • Easy, Elegant and Ready to Entertain

    Wow your guests with a dining room that's beautiful and inviting.

    by Monica Young

    Forget the staid, demure, overly formal dining rooms of bygone years. Modern dining rooms invite family and friends to “linger longer,” says Dallas-based designer Sharon Flatley.

    How can an ordinary dining room be transformed into a gathering spot? Industry experts offer these floor-to-ceiling tips:


    The Right Rug Anchors the Room

    Palm Beach interior designer Allison Paladino, who has her own contemporary rug line by Stark, believes in warm, inviting spaces. That means beginning with a cozy rug. From antiques to quality reproductions, rugs are ideal for bringing pattern and establishing color for a dining room.

    Paladino suggests using more patterns in the rug than on the upholstery chosen for the chairs. A fan of many styles, her own contemporary rug line resulted from not being able to find sleek, geometric, tailored rugs.

    Not only do rugs soften noise; but they “add warmth and interest,” she notes.


    Walls for Dramatic Flair

    “A very inexpensive way to make the dining room dramatic is with paint,” says designer Sharon Flatley of Dallas-based Flatley Interiors.

    Whether designing for her European clients or those in the United States, Flatley likes the dining room to “pop.” Red makes a strong dining room color choice, especially when dining by candlelight.

    Paladino agrees. She once glazed walls a delectable raspberry and added white linen for a dining room that evoked both high drama and warm appeal.



    Andy Swaim, president of Swaim, Inc., believes dining room furniture should be an eclectic mix of pieces that complement one another. Swaim’s avant-garde style features sleek customized wood finishes, often with gold or silver accents.

    “Round tables, our best sellers, are best for dining rooms if you have the space. A minimum of 15- by 15-foot square room is required for a 72- or 84-inch table,” says Swaim.

    Chairs should provide contrast. Swaim says to consider four elements when it comes to chairs: function, frame, finish and fabric.

    Above all, you want very comfortable chairs that encourage lingering, using the meal as a springboard for conversation.



    Create interest by using your buffet or table for visual displays.

    “Most people have small groupings. They can give a cohesive theme throughout the house. Boxes, spheres or other items can be arranged on the table,” says Flatley.

    Swaim agrees, “Accessorize with collectibles that are personal.”

    Or, opt for a simple arrangement of fresh flowers in a unique or unexpected container.



    Never use the overhead light for dinner parties, Flatley recommends. Lamps on a buffet can add a warm glow while lighted candles add elegant ambience.

    A dining room chandelier, however, is a must.

    Paladino found a French chandelier from Randall Tysinger Antiques that transformed a client’s dining room.

    “(The right chandelier) is like adding a fabulous Harry Winston necklace to a wonderful gown," she says. "Lighting is so important, and you don't have to spend a fortune for high impact in a dining room. You should make sure the scale of their lighting piece is right for the room. A chandelier that is too small for a room is like wearing high water pants.”


    The Common Denominator

    All three experts agree that the common denominator to a great dining room is making it warm, inviting and comfortable for your guests.