Popular Styles In Casual Dining Furniture

Casual furnishings are increasingly popular, particularly in the dining areas. Comfortable and stylish decor come in styles to fit every personal taste.

Casual furnishings are forecast to be increasingly popular as people look to create homes that make their families and guests feel comfortable and portray a sense of their own personal style.

Casual furniture is typically built to last and ready to use, with the emphasis on pieces that are comfortable, functional and durable.

No where is this more useful than in the dining area, one of a home's most used places.

At a forum sponsored by the International Furnishings and Design Association to look at the future of design, even competing design media leaders agreed that comfort and style lead descriptions of casual decor in 2005 and beyond.

Casual furniture choices maximize comfort and utility, while eliminating complex details and fussy accessories.

Upholstered chairs and rectangular or softly curved tables are common features that give a dining room a casual vibe. Rounded tables can offer more seating in a smaller space, but rectangular ones offer a better fit for a narrow or linear room.

Neutral colors, such as browns and grays, are associated with casual dining, but the palette also can range from soft pastel shades of pink and yellow through deeper hues of green and blue. The goal is a mellow environment in which to enjoy a meal and time together.

Textured and natural fibers including cotton and wool make it clear a room is meant to be lived in. Wicker, rattan, antiques and recycled pieces create a relaxed and casual atmosphere, as do lighter wood finishes.

Specific decorating styles popular in casual dining designs include

Country - American and French country styles are often based in traditional furniture designs of early American and colonial eras, but they have been given a more rustic feel through a relaxed interpretation of those classic styles.

Cottage - Traditionally, the family cottage was furnished with cast-offs from the family home, so when creating a cottage feel from scratch, furniture is often reused and recycled. Garage sales and flea markets rule the day. Informal and imperfect, the pieces that fill a cottage-style room appear old and loved with signs of wear and tear.

Shabby Chic - Exhibiting a rumpled sophistication, Shabby Chic styles balance elegant elements with time-worn pieces. White is this style's signature color, combined with mixed patterns, architectural details and vintage accessories to create the comfortable aura of grandmother's house.

Ethnic - Casual decor is often created by assembling reminders of where the owners came from and where they've been. Often, this means presenting pieces with an ethnic sensibility, evoking either a family's ancestral past or memories of fond visits and travel. Latin, Asian, African and American Indian styles are popular variations on the ethnic theme.

Retro/vintage - History is destined to repeat itself, and interior design is no different.Styles of the 1920s and 30s, 40s and 50s, and 60s and 70s cyclically return to fashion. Furnishings and accessories reminiscent of 50s diners are a particularly popular variation on the retro look in casual dining.

Themes or collections are also powerful unifying forces in casual decor. A collection of teacups or other china might be displayed in a hutch or a collection of quilts on the wall, showcasing a personal interest. A nautical theme can bring the seaside to your home through furniture, tableware and art, while displays of Americana can function as conversation pieces. Such surroundings wrap a meal in a comfortable mood.

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