I think the greatest challenge in decorating a new home is ensuring that the pieces you've picked - whether it's furniture or decorative objects - work together. I read somewhere that a few, quirky antique pieces can work well in a modern decorative scheme, but that too much can look like a mish-mash, and this is something we have been careful to consider when putting together our dining room.
Before we moved in, the dining room was ... bare. The previous owners had moved overseas for over a year before deciding to sell their house, but left quite a lot of their furniture behind. The walls had been painted in a sort of yellowing cream, and the decorative scheme seemed to be wood, wood, and more wood, which didn't seem to make the best use of the bright, airy feel of this room.
As soon as we completed, we hired decorators to come in and give everything a lick of fresh, brilliant white paint. We figured that it was a good starting point and, that if we didn't like it or decided that it was too boring, that we could always re-paint it in a different color later down the line or put in some funky wallpaper (the guest bedrooms and the master bedroom are painted in light grey and blue). But the important thing was to freshen it up - a lot.
Having owned a glass-top table in the past (albeit a simple, little round one from IKEA), we knew that we liked the spaciousness a glass table affords. The fact that our dining room opens out into the garden made us certain of our choice, since the light reflects off the table during the day, giving the illusion that the room is bigger than it is. Originally, we'd seen a table by Calligaris in Heal's that we really liked and almost bought, but I happened to find a near-match on Wayfair.co.uk for a fraction of the price. I've always been obsessed with the idea of putting a rug under the dining table (we had one in our home when I was growing up), so we found a durable, but neutral rug from IKEA, which we wouldn't mind accidentally dropping tomato sauce on!
We'll probably replace the chairs at some point (which I literally found on the side of the road near our old flat in Angel), but for now, they work.
The soft furnishings/decorative objects were the hardest parts to get "right" in this room! Neither John nor I are interior design experts, but when we bought this house, I was armed with a new subscription to Living Etc. (a birthday present from my boss) and I must have bought a new issue of 25 Beautiful Homes every time we went to Homebase! I also had an unhealthy addiction to Pinterest. So I knew that we wanted to make the wall a feature wall - we just couldn't decide whether to use art or mirrors.
Again, mirrors give the illusion of a bigger room, and because the dining room is open and light, we decided to use a mirror here instead of making it into a gallery wall. Originally, I'd wanted a mirror just like this (but smaller) from West Elm for the guest bedroom. When this one from Next.co.uk arrived, it was huge. Way too big for the guest room. So we tried it in the dining room and ... it seemed to work! I was worried that the geometric shape would look a little too much like a portal to another dimension in a sci-fi movie, but lots of people have asked me where I bought it from when they've seen it, so I'm taking that as a good sign!
The sideboard is a very recent purchase from ... our local garden centre, Lancasters! We love a few of the antique furniture pieces that they stock, and John spotted the potential in this sideboard right away (even though I didn't), which has since replaced our small IKEA drinks cabinet. It's also perfect for storing Scrabble and Apples to Apples, which is fun to pull out after dinner when we've got guests!
We really wanted to make our home as cozy and relaxing as possible, without it looking frumpy or dull. It's been a challenge finding our "style", but as we've carefully shopped for furniture and art, I've learned to relax a little bit and remember that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to interior style.