Dining rooms often present one of the trickiest challenges when it comes to redecorating in the Tuscan style. That’s not because the Tuscans don’t love their food and drink! As we’ve previously discussed, the Mediterranean lifestyle—and décor—places a huge emphasis on food and wine. Instead, the problem is a matter of attitude.
Most Americans tend to think of the dining room as a formal space, but Tuscan style is all about the informal. The difficulty in designing a harmonious Tuscan dining room is balancing the formal attitude we have in regard to dining rooms with the inherent informality of Mediterranean-inspired design! But with a few tricks, you can create a gorgeous dining room that is elegant, cozy, and totally Tuscan.
Mismatch furniture: A matching dining room set can be lovely, but a china cabinet, buffet, table, and chairs that all match can quickly make your space feel staid and restrained rather than time-worn and welcoming. If you feel the need to coordinate your Tuscan dining room furniture, opt for pieces in the same wood tones to create a slightly eclectic look that isn’t too matchy-matchy. Even better, combine painted and wrought iron pieces with different stain tints for a dining room that feels like the furnishings were collected over time.
Choose the right table settings: Simple white china is beautiful, but the fragile appearance and delicate nature of fine dinnerware can make guests afraid to touch anything. Don’t make your dining room feel like a museum! Instead, pick sturdy Tuscan earthenware in bright, lively patterns. The vivid colors will create a festive atmosphere while the pottery aspect of your Mediterranean dishes will encourage everyone to grab a plate and dig in! Earthenware can even be used decoratively, so be sure to fill up your china cabinet’s display shelves with bowls and pitchers or hang plates on the wall for just the right splash of color.
Skip the table linens: Nothing says stuffy faster than an overly ornate tablecloth. Leave the rich wood color of your tabletop bare for all to see! Or, if you feel that table linens are a must, skip the brocade and damask patterns and instead choose a more rustic look. Cotton prints or simple linen weaves are both great choices.
The first step in creating the right mood for your Tuscan dining room is simply being aware that Americans tend to consider the dining room a formal space. Break free from rigid formality and use the laid-back feel of the Mediterranean countryside to create a welcoming, informal space in your Tuscan dining room. From an eclectic variety of furniture to bright dinnerware and simple table linens, it doesn’t take much to make your dining room look and feel cozily Tuscan!
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