Tag Archives: Dining Room


Dinner date

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Dinner date

There is no doubt that entertaining at home has changed. While dreams of wining and dining with a large group of family and friends maybe be put on pause for the time being, a thoughtfully planned, small group dining experience is a great way to socialize. You’ll want to keep everything on an intimate scale, staying within your bubble, with lots of room for everyone to feel comfortably apart.


Here are some easy tips for creating a dining space that is entertaining ready!

Table talk


Whether you choose round, square or rectangular, your dining table should comfortably fit in your space, match your home’s aesthetic and stay on budget. It’s important to measure the table-to-wall distance so that diners can get out of their seats easily. The general rule of thumb is to leave 42 to 48 in. between the table and the walls.

We don’t often think of a tabletop as loud or quiet, but metal and glass tend to amplify noise, whereas wood tends to absorb noise for a more comfortable dining experience. And, the best way to keep guests at the table is with comfortable chairs, so it’s a good idea to test out seating options before you buy.

Layering isn’t just for fashion

To design an entertaining dining experience, think about layers when you’re choosing textiles for the table, the dishware, decor and lighting. The tabletop is the base of your canvas. If it’s beautiful, show it off and consider using chargers rather than placemats. Chargers tend to add a sense of formality, and they’re easier to clean up after use. Use your best dishware and serving ware. I’m a big fan of using the “good” dishes year-round. If you enjoy them on special occasions, why not treat yourself and bring them out more often.


Add multiple lighting styles and brightness to your dining space to help set the mood. Lighting on dimmers is a great way to control lighting. If you have a centre chandelier over the table, keep the light low and add candles on the table. An easy decor trick is to put battery powered LED candles into a large glass vase or add in seasonal items or greenery for an extra special touch.

RASKOG UTILITY CART in grey-green. $39.99. ikea.ca

Tip: One of the most versatile and
stylish items in home decor is
the bar cart. A rolling bar cart
can be your busboy! It can
help you serve courses and
load up dishes when clearing
the table. Just roll the cart into
the kitchen for fast and easy

Enjoy entertaining

Especially during these unprecedented times, you want your guests to feel extra special and pampered. But, don’t get caught up in the formalities of being a host. Prepare as much as you can beforehand. Set your table the night before and pre-make any apps and desserts. That way, you ensure you truly enjoy what entertaining is all about – being together.

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com


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Design 101: Made-To-Measure

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Design 101: Made-To-Measure

This baby bungalow gets a major function and style boost

By Cynthia Soda

Photography By Jason Hartog

It’s (now) safe to say that there’s no place like home for our newlywed clients, whose 1950s bungalow was in desperate need of updates in both style and function. What was once a “well-loved” piece of Toronto real estate is now a fresh, functional home, bursting with colour and personality on the inside.


It’s not about the amount of space you have, but what you do with it that makes the difference. When we attack a design project, we tend to think of each space as a puzzle. As soon as the pieces all fit together, we have the basis to add the fun to the function. With the main floor at a scant 710 square feet, our small space included a front entrance, side entrance and stairwell (with landing), kitchen, living room, dining room, two bedrooms and a main bathroom. Each space was separated into zones of use, which created small rooms that weren’t conducive to the homeowners’ modern living requirements. To add to the challenge, there were architectural elements in place (like the stairwell opening taking up valuable kitchen cupboard space) that provided some opportunities to get creative with design solutions.

“It’s not about the amount of space you have, but what you do with it that makes the difference.”


The main concern was squeezing every functional ounce out of the available space and making it more personal and reflective of their style. Taking down the walls between the kitchen, entrance and main living zones meant not only opening the rooms to optimal light, it also provided the opportunity for a considerably large island (given the square footage) and customized cabinets to house every kitchen utensil and small appliance the couple owned, and then some. Removing the walls between the dining and living area also meant that we were able to incorporate a large sectional, comfortable lounge chair and a cosy dining area with room to grow.


For many, adding colour to an interior can be a scary thing. If you have a small space, it can seem even scarier. Since colours may evoke an emotional response, most tend to worry that they’ll tire or get bored of the colour, or that it won’t be “timeless” and they’ll have to re-do everything in a couple of years. Incorporating a grey-blue and white scheme provided a twist on a neutral canvas that makes the vibrant colour accents pop throughout the space. The blue tone of the cabinet colour is amplified with the blue-glass backsplash providing contrast and balances against the wood tones of the floor and counter stools. A designated space for wine bottles and glasses was also an important feature for our clients, offering an opportunity to integrate glass uppers, adding a bit of sparkle to the kitchen.


The main bathroom maintained its existing footprint, which included a narrow vanity and sink, but the custom-designed cabinets maximized the amount of cubic footage and storage capacity for toiletries and extra linens. The conversation-starting, black-andwhite hexagon floor tile is a casual nod to the era of the home, and provides the basis to incorporate yet another opportunity for colour.

While it is true that styles are constantly evolving, it is important to design with function and form in mind. When styles change, or your tastes evolve, you can buy new cushion covers, swap out the rug, the accessories (even have your cabinets re-painted) but as long as the layout works, you will always have a home that is equal parts stylish and functional, no matter the square footage.


CUSTOM CABINETRY: Designed by Sodapop design, built by Colclo Custom Woodworking; LIGHT FIXTURES: Wayfair; FLOORS: Maple Sandstone; PAINT: Cabinets Chantilly Lace & Flint, WALLS: Wickham Gray, Benjamin Moore

Cynthia Soda is owner, principal interior designer of Soda Pop Design Inc., a multi-disciplinary interior design firm providing complete custom renovation and design services for residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA. Soda Pop Design Inc. focuses on merging the client’s lifestyle, personality and architecture to create customized, liveable luxury. sodapopdesign.ca Instagram: @ csodapop, Twitter: @sodapopdesign


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Active Home : One-Colour Decorating

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Active Home : One-Colour Decorating

For some people, choosing a colour palette when designing a new room can cause them to break out in hives. For others, it’s the best part of decorating. Your colour choices are something that you’re going to have to live with for awhile, so you want them to be pleasing on all levels.

If you find yourself in the stressful category, I have a simple solution – choose just one colour. It’s one of the easiest ways to design a room, and get a polished, designer look without having to colour coordinate.

Although I call it one-colour decorating, there is a second element – white. With only one colour in a room, the absence of colour actually acts as a colour to the eye. So if you choose shades of green, you’re going to pair it with white, or blue with white, or even black with white – you get the picture.

“The coloured items need to be the same depth of intensity in order to achieve a graphic look.” – Cobi Ladner

To orchestrate this concept, there are a few tricks. The coloured items need to be the same depth of intensity in order to achieve a graphic look. They can be different shades, but they need to be of equal strength. Using different tones of one colour in a room is another great look, but it creates a softer, tonal ambiance than what I’m describing.

One of the most versatile things about one-colour decorating, is that it allows you the opportunity to add an accent colour for special occasions or changing seasons with the addition of fresh flowers, fruit or textiles. For example, you could add a lime green throw, along with a bowl of green apples to a blue and white room for summer. And then come fall, you could swap it out for an orange throw and a pot of orange mums.

This look is conducive to any space, but it works well in bath and powder rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, halls, porches and sunrooms. I find that many clients prefer a softer look, with more textiles and tonal values, when it comes to their bedrooms and living rooms. However, that’s not to say that you can’t use this graphic influence in any room – there are no rights and wrongs when it comes to decorating.

Unless you choose a very pale colour, the look that is achieved from one-colour decorating is lively, polished, sharp and fun. When you layer colours, the objective is to create a more restful, serene environment. Designers use this technique to add punch to a room, and you’ll notice that they’ll often showcase this idea when working with hard surfaces that are found in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways.

Add a one-two punch to a ho-hum room in your house by using white as the backdrop, and then adding your favourite colour.


Cobi Ladner is the Editorial Director of RENO & DECOR magazine, and the owner of Cobistyle.


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