De­light­ful din­ing to beat the win­ter chill

Taryn Lam­berti con­sid­ers how to cre­ate cozy win­ter din­ing

Business Day - Home Front - - HOME FRONT -

DUR­ING May, it starts get­ting darker ear­lier and tem­per­a­tures fall quickly af­ter sun­set. It’s a good time of the year to gather around a ta­ble, hope­fully over a curry or casse­role that some­one had the fore­sight to con­jure up.

Sep­a­rate din­ing rooms are a thing of the past. Mod­ern homes tend to have open-plan spa­ces. The din­ing area needs to be airy and com­fort­able with good light­ing — ide­ally with good nat­u­ral light by day.

If there are not enough win­dows to achieve this, con­sider us­ing large mir­rors to re­flect light. At night, you want soft light­ing as harsh light­ing can kill a din­ner party. Can­dles are great for cre­at­ing am­bi­ence and are very flat­ter­ing for your guests. Lamps in the cor­ners are also a lovely way to light the space.

If you have an over­head light, a dim­mer switch is essen­tial. Light­ing is two-thirds of the chal­lenge.

If you have a nice ta­ble that you want to show off, use cloth place mats. Com­bine these with bright jars of short-stemmed flow­ers so that your guests can see over them. Use a mis­match of crock­ery and cut­lery for an in­ter­est­ing look. You can col­lect pretty plates and uten­sils from flea mar­kets and trea­sure troves for this pur­pose.

If you want some­thing more for­mal, go for a long ta­ble cloth, it is al­ways el­e­gant and will give your din­ner party an air of so­phis­ti­ca­tion — think Down­ton Abbey. Cloth nap­kins are a won­der­ful in­ven­tion. They should be gen­er­ous in size — at least 40x40cm — and pure linen is best.

When it comes to chairs, com­fort is cru­cial. The din­ing area needs to be wel­com­ing and re­lax­ing. On that note it is cru­cial that the area is warm in win­ter. You don’t want to be sit­ting around the ta­ble in your coats. A fire­place would be the ul­ti­mate, but if you don’t have one, then maybe con­sider an un­der-car­pet heater to keep the con­ver­sa­tion — and the blood — flow­ing.

Round ta­bles are con­vivial, but they must suit the area. Un­less the space is square, you will prob­a­bly have to set­tle for a rec­tan­gu­lar ta­ble. An ideal con­sid­er­a­tion is to pur­chase a ta­ble with leaves so that you can ex­tend it when you have ex­tra guests.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.