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Unless you dine in style every night, your dining room may be one of the more underutilised rooms in your house. That said, with the right dining room furniture and accessories, there isn't a better room for formal entertaining. Dining table and chairs aside, other furniture — such as a sideboard, china cabinet and wine rack — can add more storage and function to the space. The finer details, such as lighting, crockery, cutlery and table linen can be used to bring your style and personalty to the dining room. As you renovate your dining room, these tips might help in making this a more practical, colourful and vibrant space for entertaining.

Picking the right dining table and chairs.

Dining room furniture is a major purchase - it's such a big piece of furniture that this is an investment that merits great consideration. As well as reflecting your style, it should be practical and functional; how many people do you expect to seat? A large dining table might be worth it if lots of family and friends live nearby, while a smaller table might fit better with your space and social life. For the option of variable seating, an extendable dining table could allow you to accommodate both large and small parties. If sleek is your style, then glass dining tables are hard to beat for polish, while oak furniture is ideal for a traditional dining room; alternatively, mismatched dining chairs can lend a bohemian feel to a wooden dining table for a shabby chic look.

Making entertaining easy with a sideboard.

To save you and your guests for going to and fro between the kitchen and dining room, a sideboard or buffet table for holding food dishes could be a convenient addition to your dining area. When not in use for dining, sideboards could also make a perfect display area for decorations such as candles, vases and picture frames.

Creating your own home bar.

Few features at a party are guaranteed crowd-pleasers like a well-stocked bar, and a dinner party is no exception. Even if a built-in bar isn't an option, a hostess trolley filled with all the right barware and trimmings including a cocktail shaker, ice bucket, glasses and, of course, drinks, can achieve the same effect - and is portable, to boot.

Dressing up your dining room with table linens.

Table linens are a multi-tasking dining room accessory - as well as being functional and stylish, they're also a courteous addition. A matching set of tablecloths, napkins and placemats will both protect your table and your guests from spills, and are essential for making an elegant table setting. Table linens are also a way to set a festive tone - a table can be transformed for Christmas, a children's party or any other special occasion with the use of table runners, napkin rings and serviettes.

Ensuring that your dinnerware fits the bill.

A versatile set of dinnerware that is suited to any occasion is almost as important a dining room investment as the table and chairs. If you own more than one set of dinnerware for formal and casual use, it's important ensure that your fancier dinnerware is stored carefully - a china cabinet in the dining room will keep them both safe and accessible. As well as a range of dining crockery such as dinner plates and side plates, complementary dishes and serveware such as finger bowls, serving bowls, platters and trays can make great additions to a party host's crockery collection.
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