Words: Anne Schauffer | Image: Shutterstock

Forthright interior designer Grant Webster of Fahrenheit Design believes when it comes to giving your dining room a new look, “it’s wisest to assess the space and feeling surrounding your proposed upgrade, and if necessary, get some professional advice, before throwing down that credit card. The wrong look can so easily be purchased and installed into an environment for which it is unsuited”. He says that dining rooms are cloaking themselves in a host of different outfits, here are his top four.

Pure and simple

Minimalism is all about removing everything that doesn’t serve a purpose and keeping the space pure and simple. Grant explains, “All you need is a plain table or level surface, with sufficient seating, which could be a built-in or bench seat. Lighting is often reduced to a single fitting or concealed. Dining here is about the food and the company and leads naturally to a sophisticated yet simple palette of tastes, all real and authentic – just like the wine and the single highlighted piece of art on the wall.”

For the free at heart

For those who want something bolder, Baroque may be for you. Grant sees this look as richly over the top. “The Baroque space is host to many a late and raucous dinner party, a space more attractive by night than day. Lots of antiques, velvet cushions, antique and ornate picture frames, many family and friends’ portrait frames, and shining and antiqued accessories and candlesticks clustered under a painting by John Constable or a lesser cousin. This look is created with lots of mismatched furniture and reflective surfaces, the scent of roses, sunflowers and tulips all together, serviette rings and side plates, back plates, and a myriad glasses for the champagne, the wine, the sherry, and the odd brandy.”

Country comfort

If a more homely and approachable look is your thing, cottagey is what you are looking for. Grant explains, “Cottagey was a functional look from around the 1600s to the early 1800s, and shouldn’t be confused with its more sophisticated sibling, the arts-and-crafts look. Here the chairs must be noisy, rickety and the floor surface uneven. Colours are unimportant. Throw out your electric conveniences, forget about Wi-Fi or anything space saving, get a wonky beaten oak table, and some knee blankets to keep your guests warm, since no heater will work with such a look. An old jar with water and some daises will be just the thing to brighten up the space.”

Modern chic

For those who are looking to rejoin the 21st century, there’s the contemporary look. “This look is filled with just the right quantity of desirable fabrics, comfortable and new chairs, and a clean-surface dining table,” says Grant. “The walls are a warm shade of grey, the wallpaper accent could be graphic – stylised strelitzias on a textured background. Metallic (copper this season) cutlery, matt brushed; earthenware place settings, smooth, pastel blue-green; and mustard accent serviettes. The lighting is LED, warm white and quite subtle, accented by tall standing lamps and smaller naked Edison bulb type ones. Curtains are linen, the floors real wood – oiled oak, open grain and natural. The cushions are velvet.”