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Three Classic Dining Arrangements

Explore how to make every meal a pleasant experience with these three dining arrangements. No matter the placement, a dining table and its accessories must function to make meals enjoyable and allow for loved ones to move around freely. As such, chairs should be placed around 18 inches apart for ample elbow room. Additionally, rugs should extend 18 inches beyond the back legs of the chairs with the dining table in the center.

Use windows as the focal point

For sunshine-filled breakfasts and a view to set the ambiance, move the dining room table next to windows. Casters will make this rearrangement doable if this only works for weekends or special occasions. While Mother Nature may be the best accessory, the right type of window treatments will make your décor shine. Roman shades offer a casual style with minimal fabric. Corniced and woven blinds enhance the color and pattern of a dining set when the sun hits it. These blinds also give off a sense of continuity and provide architectural interest. Swags generate a luxurious feel for traditional dining rooms. If you are seeking an unexpected treatment, consider going asymmetrical or creating depth and a dramatic mood with black curtains. Dashes of pink create a whimsical glamour, while traditional draperies in any color provide privacy and light control.

Invite every loved one

Thanksgiving and other holidays are the perfect reason to invite a large number of guests to celebrate at your home. Don’t worry about having enough space for everyone; placing your dining table in the traditional position at the center of the room is ideal for a formal atmosphere or large groups. To make any shared meal extra memorable, focus on crafting the perfect tablescape. Gorgeous linens will ground your feast and express creativity. If serving a meal with sauces as part of the piece de résistance, consider darker colors and laundering tablecloths as soon as possible. Try patterns such as paisley in seasonal colors for an inviting look on a large or small scale. While florals for spring may not be groundbreaking, you can select unexpected hues, such as gray or Pantone’s Color of the Year, Ultra Violet. Fabrics can include burlap or velvet for any occasion. Think about layering or using a runner to set the right tone for your gathering.

Serve the perfect meal on a grander scale

For a buffet service, push the table right up to the wall. This will leave ample room for traffic in the center of the room. As the host, consider the following etiquette tips to put guests at ease. Serving a bounty of food offers the opportunity to sample a wide variety of dishes. Give guests a tour of the food stations beforehand or while placing dishes on the table. Ensure that there are plenty of tongs, spoons and serving forks to fend off the use of fingers. Encourage guests to place all serving utensils in their original dishes to avoid cross-contamination and allergic reactions. Keep in mind that spills happen. Provide plenty of napkins or paper towels to keep guests from feeling embarrassed. Handle any mess graciously and discretely if it requires more than a few wipes. Announce whether guests can start eating as soon as they are seated or if you would like for everyone to wait until a prayer is said, speech given or guest of honor is seated.


Serve meals in any of these three arrangements to create a memorable feast that were inspired by the September 1958 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine.