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Real Estate

Fancy feast

CATHY CASSATA Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 08:00 PM

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Tired of using your dining room for everything but dining? Check out these ideas to add some life to the room while making the most of your space.

Clear some space

"Statistically, people only buy one-and-a-half dining rooms," said Katie Hixon, owner of Katie Hixon Interiors, Inc., in Columbus, Ohio. "The furniture isn't replaced often so most of the time you're working with what you've got."

But instead of using the dining room table for crafts, sewing projects or as a home office, Hixon suggested placing a concealed cabinet or armoire against a bare wall for storage. Then all you need is a table pad made with a vinyl top and insulated base with felt liner.

"This simple addition helps the room become multi-purpose by turning your table into a work station when needed," Hixon noted.

Wow with walls

When paint isn't cutting it, try fabric, sayed Carol DeBear, owner of DeBear Designs, Inc., in Scarsdale, N.Y.

"Adding decorative fabric to your walls adds a lot to the room and you don't have to worry about hanging any fixtures or art," she explained. But if fabric is not your style, Hixon suggested art as an inexpensive way to create a fresh look.

"Rather than investing the time and money into redoing the walls, you could spend less money on a few pieces of artwork and end up with a completely new appearance," she noted.

Remember mirrors too.

"They're a gorgeous way to open up the room and add some sparkle," said DeBear.

Hixon added: "The right mirror is like the right jewelry. It adds the perfect finishing touch to compliment the room."

Spice up centerpieces

Instead of sticking to the same old floral arrangements, DeBear said to place fresh fruit at the center of the dining room table.

"It's a simple and inexpensive way to add some lively colors to the room," she said.

Hixon suggested experimenting with different-sized candles or hurricanes.

"You can use a variety of candle holders, the more unusual the better, to create a new centerpiece for your table or buffet," she said.

Incorporate the ceiling

Before you write off the ceiling, Hixon said think of it as a fifth wall.

"Although most people paint the ceiling white and forget about it, they don't realize that it's a great place to add a lot of interest to the room," she explained. Consider lightly patterned wallpaper or faux paint for elegant accents.

"Once you bring the ceiling into the room, you'll be surprised how much you can do with it," Hixon noted.

Add more light

While most dining rooms have a traditional chandelier, Hixon said adding wall sconces can do wonders.

"They are a nice way to add light to a dining room because you can keep your chandelier dimmed, but still have enough bright light around the perimeter of the room," she said. Plus, she noted that you don't need an electrician to install all sconces since some have decorative metal that plugs into an outlet.

Now that you're ready to bring your dining room back to its original purpose, it's time to plan your next dinner party!

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