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How to create a dining room that will impress

With the popularity of cookery programmes sky high, the urge to have a dinner parties shows no sign of waning. While you may think the focus should be on the quality of your cooking, how can you make sure your dining room also leaves a lasting impression?

Whether it’s for a family Sunday lunch or a celebration dinner party, your dining area should be as dynamic as the food on offer.

“Just as we wouldn’t serve dinner on chipped crockery or wine in cracked glasses, we wouldn’t want to have shabby curtains and faded seat covers,” says Laura Calvert, Merchandise Manager for Plumbs.

The easiest way to achieve a chic look is with matching or coordinating soft furnishings such as seat covers, curtains, blinds and cushions – all of which can be chosen with the help of Plumbs’ Home Consultant.

Decide whether you like a formal or a more relaxed look in order to stamp your personality on your dining area.

“A look I love is when curtains, blinds, seat covers and cushions are co-ordinated sing a variety of textured fabrics,” says Laura. “It gives a really opulent feel to your interior.” 

Of course, dining rooms have changed radically over recent years. No longer a separate room used on high days and holidays, dining tables are now often being incorporated into the heart of the home – the kitchen. This means your kitchen/diner has to look its best at all times because it is always on show.

So how can you achieve an exciting new look in your dining area?

Plumbs offers a full range of loose seat covers which are practical because they can be machine washed or replaced when you fancy a new look. “With the huge choice on offer from Plumbs, you can match seat covers to curtains or try a coordinating look with blinds and cushions to add interest and variation,” says Laura.

If you’re planning to entertain for a special occasion such as Christmas or Easter, Plumbs’ set of loose seat cushions in seasonal colour fabrics such as reds, tartans and checks can give your dining area an instant fresh look to suit the season, says Laura.

If you have fixed cushions in your dining room chairs, Plumbs also offers a full re-upholstery service so your chairs are taken back to the frames, restored and recovered in a new fabric of your choice. With a huge variety of materials and colours to choose from, there is something to suit every style and impress your guests.

“We have a choice of beautiful plain and semi-plain fabrics that complement each other really well,” says Laura. “For real pizzazz, you can also use contrasting colours for a vibrant and contemporary look.”

Another way to add richness to your dining room or entertaining area is to focus on the curtains. In recent years, there has been a move away from pelmet curtains and towards a cleaner, pared down look among Plumbs customers.

“We are seeing a return in popularity of curtain poles and tracks,” says Laura. “Our most popular look at the moment are eyelet curtains with a metallic pole. This is a contemporary, clean look that works really well when the dining area is part of the kitchen.”

There is no need to compromise on luxury with this look because curtains can be teamed with coordinating blinds to dress the window and add layers of colour and texture.

For advice on how Plumbs can help you refresh your dining room or area, contact a Plumbs consultant to give you free advice and quotes.

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What to do with inherited furniture? Give it away, Sell it or Reupholster it?

Most people have fond childhood memories of a piece of furniture a relative once owned, just by seeing and feeling that furniture can bring back emotions. From your Great-Aunties artfully carved dining room chairs perhaps to your Grandmothers antique sofa, even the smell of a piece can evoke a memory.

When the unfortunate time comes you inherit that piece of furniture you are suddenly left with the feeling it will never fit in with the rest of your decor and in this sense inherited pieces of furniture can be a blessing or a burden. Before deciding what to do you first need to consider the following:

    • Is it comfortable?
    • Is it of good quality?
    • Is there a place for it in your home?

If your answer is 'no' to these considerations then you shouldn't burden yourself with sentimental value as you will get no real enjoyment from the piece, which is not what your relative intended. If it isn't of good quality then it may not be a good idea spending money on something that could fall apart.

With a little bit of work however, most furniture can be revitalised with fresh fabrics and custom details to be more comfortable and fit in with your decor.

With exception, all good quality furniture is worth restoring, even if a sofa or chair is decades old. If it has a quality frame it is worth keeping. The quality of a sofa or chair is found within the carcass, this should be made of a hardwood such as Oak or Alder, have good lines and have been kiln dried so that the wood doesn't warp or crack during changes of temperature and humidity. Most people won't be able to know this just by looking at a sofa but there are many experts (Upholsterers) that can give you free advice such as Plumbs.

Re-upholstering can literally transform an old sofa to new, from the springs, filling and foam being replaced to the frame being reinforced if necessary. The shape of the furniture cannot be changed but the piece can be slightly re-styled or made more comfortable using certain techniques. Choosing the right fabric will really make difference to how the piece will look and fit in you home, fabric can deliver a more traditional or contemporary style. These custom details will make your furniture a one off.

You don't necessarily need to go as far as reupholstery, Loose Covers can be equally as impressive at transforming your sofa. If the quality, comfort and style or your inherited furniture is pleasing enough then just by changing the fabric, colour and texture can give you the look you desire.

Dining chair covers can now update most sets to fit in with contemporary or traditional trends, not only can you just re-cover (or reupholster) the seat, loose covers can now fit completely over the chair with skirts that cover right to the floor.

So, if you inherit a piece of furniture remember there are many ways in which you can make it a unique heirloom to cherish for many years.

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