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Alyssa, by Ashley Furniture

This pretty dining room furniture from Ashley Furniture makes a nice choice for a small dining room or even a dressy kitchen.

So… how to decorate around this dining room? Can the design of the furniture guide color and accessory choices?  Yes!! If we know what to look for.

Our first home decorating clue is all those curves! Curves are especially French, and there are certainly plenty of them here!

First, let’s take a closer loook at the dining chair. Chairs can actually set the entire home decorating direction for a room! So does the Alyssa chair offer any clues about how to plan that room?  Actually, a few…

First, that leg! This is a metal version of the French cabriole leg – that S-shaped French leg that always suggests a refined, elegant and slightly dressy room.

And look at that shiny damask fabric on the chair seat. Damask has inspired many dressy dining room tablecloths and linens… and French ones in particular! Damask is typically paired up with the fancy glassware and the good china, so that’s an important clue too.

Then there’s all that scrolling metal.  You can almost pick out a fleur de lys pattern in the chair back….that popular French design of a lily that’s inspired many a formal, French pattern over the years.

The fluted edge of the top of the chair is very classic. Vertical fluted grooves were first popularized on Greek columns. Seems the French kind a liked that detail too.

The round metal ring above the fancy wood base on the dining table sort of resembles a corona, or the base of a crown. Can’t you just picture that ring crowning any number of French kings who you just know were named Louis.  Keeping the French theme alive, the braided edge of the table resembles the edge of a pie or braided bread…French to be sure!

So, we‘ve established some pretty French details on this dining room… and we know that French tends to mean dressy and refined.   So let’s look at two schemes… one that’s a little on the formal side… one that’s just fun.

First, a very classic, very dressy French option.

The paint colors here are delicate and muted… dusty rose, coral and champagne tones. Artwork and accents should look suitably French – that doesn’t have to mean ornate, but curves, scroll or flowers are a pretty good bet. The chandelier on the right is elegant with all those French-looking crystals, but notice it’s also long and narrow rather than wide  – that’s to keep it in scale with the smaller table. My preference is the single bowl-shaped pendant on the left. It picks up on the scrolled metal, but it’s simpler against all the curves in the  furniture.  Dressy fabrics are in order here – for windows and walls, use simple sheers, a delicate stripe or even a damask pattern that’s lighter or darker than the chair seat. For an elegant, no-fail French effect, run curtains from the floor right to the ceiling.

 A second option is more casual, but equally French.

The paint colors here are natural and organic…. muted greens and yellows that remind us of chardonnay wine and olives.  Artwork could include scenes of the Paris streets – casual shots of store windows, bistro cafes or even French people.  Drawings of French food or wine bottles are good choices… so are French words included on the art. Not to worry if you can’t pronounce them – they just need to add a little French culture and sophistication! Clocks also make a nice accent – especially ones that looks like they might belong in a Paris train station – large, with an antique face and curved numbers. To keep that Paris neighborhood feeling going, use a French lantern rather than a chandelier. Fabrics can be more informal, but still with a bit of a sheen. Draperies could cover the entire window… or just the lower half if you’re up for the French café curtain look.

If this charming table and chairs is the right choice for you… as the French would say… bon appétit!

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Glenwood Pub Table & Barstools, by Ashley Furniture

Instead of the contemporary paint colors usually used with very dark brown furniture finishes, the paint color in this dining room by Ashley Furniture feels casual – perfect for the higher height pub table and bar stools.

Denim blue, khaki and white colors come off as cool and relaxed as a pair of khakis or jeans and a t shirt… sort of like living in a Gap store! But the furniture and area rug feel cool and urban.

The area rug brings all the colors together… the dark brown furniture, the beige  bar stool seats and the blue walls. (The blue paint color is Behr 560E-3Silver Strand is the name, but it’s really a light denim blue).

Who says contemporary and casual can’t mix!