Well folks, I thought the time was right for a little dining room update since exciting things have been happening on that front: I’ve got new dining room chairs! Hurray!
Here they are in all their glory—this is the view you now get when entering the dining room from the foyer:
As you know, since I started this project way back in March, I’ve been ruminating on various options for dining chairs and finally landed on the Clarice skirted chair in “Jade White” fabric from Hooker Furniture. It’s from their Sanctuary Collection. (Yes, I think I might have been slightly influenced by the collection name—it feels very soothing and zen. Who doesn’t want their home to be their haven?)
Anyway, here’s the photo from the Hooker website that pretty much had me at “hello”:
Don’t go thinking I chose my chairs on impulse, though. I took my good old time making a decision because I really wanted to get it right. I had several criteria that helped guide my choice:
Firstly, I wanted comfort. Ultimately, I would like my dining room to be a place where my family and friends can be comfortably seated at the table while enjoying leisurely meals and good conversation. I wanted chairs that offered some padding and support, so an upholstered chair seemed like the natural choice. I love the fact that my chairs are generously padded and offer firm support, but they still look neat and streamlined. Here’s a close-up of the comfy seat cushion and back:
I also really like that the seat backs are at a slight angle—much more comfortable than having to sit bolt upright in a straight-backed chair:
My second criterion for chair-choosing: I wanted a simple style that would help the room feel calm and serene. I intentionally chose a skirted chair to help “quiet” the room. When you don’t have a ton a furniture in your house, adding fabric and texture—as I’ve done with the addition of a new rug, curtains, and now chairs—makes a room feel less empty and echo-y.
The skirted chairs help “quiet” the room in a visual sense too. My big concern with adding a lot of new pieces to a relatively small space? I was worried that with six chairs and a Duncan Phyfe-style table, my dining room would seem too “leggy.” I recently read an interview in House Beautiful with a designer who advocated using skirted furniture to help keep a room more visually calm. I really think she has something there—and since I plan to add my grandmother’s mahogany dining table and a sideboard or server somewhere down the line, the skirted chair (rather than a chair with exposed legs) will help keep things cohesive-looking and will allow me to avoid the scenario of having too many different wood finishes going on in one room.
As some of you may remember, I toyed with the idea of choosing a print, rather than a solid, for these chairs. I’m so glad now that I didn’t. I think seeing a print repeated on six large chairs in my smallish dining room would have been too much. I probably would have developed a facial tic being subjected to that much pattern. And besides, as one of my esteemed design advisors noted, “Prints tend to date more easily.” I think the neutral fabric will stand the test of time. I don’t think I will tire of it quickly, and I can always shake things up by adding pattern, etc., with accent pieces and accessories. The solid backdrop, I think, is more versatile and gives me more options.
Another added benefit of the chair skirts: I’m loving the juxtaposition of the crisp chair fabric (I love those neat corner pleats!) and the chunkier texture of the jute rug. (Pay no mind to the creases on the chair skirts—these photos were taken literally just after the chairs emerged from their packing boxes. Like anyone, they were a little rumpled after their long journey! Rest assured that those creases in the fabric are starting to smooth out nicely…)
Another factor guiding my decision: I thought that a “transitional” piece of furniture was really the way to go. I wanted something that felt fresh and contemporary, but that would still mesh well with some of the more traditional and formal elements of the room, like this portrait, for instance (not the carbon monoxide detector plugged in below it, however. That will likely be relocated in the near future).
Here’s another shot of the chairs taken from the entry from the kitchen:
I feel as though I’ve taken a significant step in realizing my original design concept for this room. With the addition of these new chairs (plus the fresh coat of paint, the rug, and new window treatments), the dining room is really starting to come together. And I think it’s beginning to take on that peaceful and serene feeling that I had hoped to ultimately achieve when I embarked upon this project. Here is a quick recap of my original inspiration photos for comparison:
And just so I can feel a sense of accomplishment with the progress I’ve made thus far, here’s a “before” shot of the dining room taken earlier this year (I’m so glad those dated curtains are gone!):
And here again is the current “After” photo:
Granted, there is still work to be done here: I need to hang my new artwork, and paint and rearrange the interior of the built-in display cabinet. And there are still pieces to be added: the aforementioned mahogany dining table, which will help provide a little contrast—I realize things are looking maybe a tad too monochromatic, and I definitely don’t want it to get boring. And, as noted earlier, I’m hoping to eventually add a sideboard since I could really use additional storage in this room. I’m also toying with the idea of installing a slightly larger chandelier and maybe relocating the current one to a different spot in the house. And the list goes on…
But wouldn’t you agree—this is pretty big progress, no?
Hey, dining room: You’ve come a long way, baby.