Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My dining room: rug or no rug?

My dining room is connected and open to the living room. It has a thick ceiling beam (painted brown) which gives nice definition between the two rooms and has a long wall for the buffet. But the long wall is chopped up 2/3 the way down by the door to the kitchen and the back stairway (you can't see it, it's on the other side of the buffet). The other side of the room has the hall leading to the bedrooms 1/3 of the way down to the bathroom (it's turquoise and you can see the zebra shower curtain). So usable actual dining space is very small. And in order to have a functional walkway into the kitchen the table is pushed into the rear right corner. The table is centered on a cute leopard with a black border 5x8 rug, which is also pushed off center and to the rear of the room. I have a great 50's period light fixture which is in the center of the room.

When I have guests over I put in leaves and move the table and chairs more toward the center of the room so both sides of the table are usable (although it is still off center). It leaves just enough room for chairs to be pulled out and for people to squeeze into their seats. My chair pulls out into the kitchen doorway so I can get up and serve. It's a tight fit for everyone.

The room has been bugging me. I don't like that I can't center the table in the room under the light fixture in the traditional dining room set-up.  I don't like how the rug accentuates the fact that the table isn't centered and just appears to be shoved into the corner.

I know traditional decorating wisdom usually has the dining table anchored by a rug, but it just doesn't work in this space. I'm breaking a rule! Without the rug the table now floats in the room, instead of being anchored off center. The lack of rug reduces the perceived off-centeredness (yes, I make up words). I like it better without the rug. It also seems to lighten up the room. The dining room feels more spacious now. You see a little into the living room on the left side. And did you notice? The dining table is now more toward the center of the room. When it was centered on the rug and pulled toward the center of the room the walk way into the kitchen felt narrow. Now it is more narrow but feels bigger without the rug. Funny.

Our dog Sebastian hates not having a rug. It allowed him traction (instead of slippery wood floors) on his figure-eight race around the condo. My son hates that the dog hates it. I'm not convinced that I have to decorate around the dog's pleasure over my design atheistic in this instance.

We already know how my son and the dog votes. What do you think - follow tradition but have an off-centered rug or float the table in the space with no rug? Does it look naked? Let me know your thoughts.

Oh and just to be honest about things, this is how my dining room looked prior to starting this little adventure. The table is a dumping ground for all things entering the house. It's my crafting and ironing area. The packages on the floor were yesterday's Ikea purchases for my son's dorm room. My son's art work from high school is still leaning against the wall waiting to be put away (for the last 2 months). I'm not sure how/why my sewing machine is on the floor. It's usually not this bad.



  1. Rug and what about angling your table?? I did that in small eating space.

  2. I love your dining set! And without the rug. Yes, I did notice it was more centered without the rug. I think the room looks sleek,open and airy without the rug.
    My dining room table looks just like your before pic. It's turned into a work place these days.

  3. No Rug, it looks a lot more open!

  4. OK, don't hate me, but I saw that space, and the rug was the furthest thing from my mind. I think the rug anchoring the table is great, but I think you need the table anchored at the top more than the bottom. So I think you might want to get a swag (this is the best example I could find - http://www.lowes.com/pd_75297-1189-978L_0_?newSearch=true&catalogId=10051&productId=1100123&Ntt=light+swag&N=0&langId=-1&y=0&x=0&Ns=&storeId=10151&Ntk=i_products&ddkey=http:ProductDisplay) to center the light over the table when it's near the wall, and then a bench along the wall so that you can still have the table along the wall, giving you needed space, without it seeming pushed into a corner. Two options for that: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10137903 (LOVE ikea), or if you have someone who can use a jig saw better than I can, a variation on this (maybe using your existing chairs?): http://roomremixblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/diy-mudroomlaundry-room-bench.html. And then you might feel differently about the rug. :) Just some thoughts.
    I LOVE the green with the adjacent blue wall, btw. I'm thinking of putting peacock blue accents in my green kitchen, but can't take the plunge. I can't wait to see how this room develops!

  5. Looks like a perfectly normal dining room to me...everything finds its way to my dining room table for some reason. The reason the light is not centered for a table is because when homes are built, the builders center the lighting with no thought to any furniture placement...just in the center of the empty room....grrr I have the same alignment problem and I'd go for a rug if it was a choice of comfort for you...not the dog or kid!!! Beautiful lively colors here in your photo!!!

  6. Definitely no rug. The area looks so much more spacious without it. Open spaces are great! The dog will cope!
    Donna from Australia

  7. I say no rug! I love your dinning set and the room looks more open without it! Just my humble opinon!:)

  8. I love your blog! Looking forward to the linky party tomorrow. Hey, I live in a small space and you have to throw out all "traditional rules". Go with what you like and feel the best with. And my dining area serves many purposes also. Thanks for sharing. Karie

  9. I really like the idea of angling the table. I had the same problem and my sister came to help me decorate my house. We angled my table and what a difference it made. The light even looked OK. Didn't have to swag the light.

  10. you know i'm obsessed with area rugs, especially in dining rooms but i have to say, no rug definitely works better! you made the right choice in my humble opinion :)