Whether it’s a formal dining room, or a breakfast nook in the kitchen, everyone wants a dining room that’s comfortable and complements the joy of eating. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you have good, sufficient lighting with reduced glare. If you have windows, make sure the window coverings allow you to control the light (adjustable blinds are a good option). It may be helpful to have a hanging light with a dimmer over your table.

  • If possible, steer away from a glass tabletop, or one with a very shiny, glossy top; these surfaces cause glare.

  • Make use of contrast in your furniture and table settings. If your chair cushions contrast in color to your chairs, you’ll be able to find them more easily. You may want to have a solid color “table runner” on your table to provide some contrast. Use placemats that contrast with the table, and napkins that contrast with the placemat, so you can locate them. If it contrasts with your placemat or table, a solid white plate is often the best option, allowing you to more readily see the food on your plate.

  •   all white place setting

    In this all white place setting, it’s difficult to distinguish the plate, napkin, and cutlery from the placemat.

      place setting with good color   contrast  

    This place setting uses a plate, cup, and napkin that contrast sharply with the placemat, making each piece easier to see.

  • Keep as much clutter as possible off your table. If you have a flower arrangement, candles, salt, and pepper as a standard part of the table setting, remember to remove them before cleaning the table—or you could even remove them before placing serving dishes on the table.