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The dining room is a place to gather for good food and conversation. But between meals, it can also become a free-for-all drop zone for random clutter. In this series, we’re approaching each room in the house by identifying what sparks joy there, to borrow a term from famed tidying expert Marie Kondo. Here, we look at ways of clearing the clutter and creating a warm and welcoming dining room.


Dining Room 1: Rebel House LLC, original photo on Houzz


Envision what you want your dining room to be. Would you like to make it a more comfortable spot for enjoying everyday dinners or a special space just for larger gatherings? Or perhaps you’re happy eating at the kitchen table and would rather reinvent this space as a study or craft area? Take some time to honestly reflect on what you want from your dining room before forging ahead.


Dining Room 2: Akin Design Studio, original photo on Houzz


Take action: Keeping in mind how you’d like to use the room, slowly go through it and remove any items that don’t move you forward toward that vision. If you find yourself keeping items “just in case,” challenge yourself to be really honest about whether you’re likely to use these things — or whether you’re just keeping them because it seems easier than letting them go.


Dining Room 3: Rande Leaman Interior Design, original photo on Houzz


Set the stage for peaceful meals. Part of creating a serene atmosphere is about reducing clutter, but it’s also about knowing what to keep. A clean, cleared table set with fresh linens, a vase of flowers, comfortable seats, good lighting, art or photos you love — these are some of the simple things that work together to create a harmonious dining experience.

Take action: Choose your favorite dishes, linens and other tabletop accessories and bring them front and center. If you want to encourage more family dinners in the formal dining room, consider keeping a tray stocked with table-setting essentials, so it will be easy to put them together at the last minute.


Dining Room 4: Sara Bengur Interiors, original photo on Houzz


Tap into the colors and details you love. Whether you want to use your dining room for a different purpose between meals or just want to incorporate more of your personal style, bringing in the colors, textures and details you love will help personalize the space — and make it more tempting to use.


Take action: From big projects to small additions, the choices you make when it comes to style and color can have a huge impact on how your dining room looks and feels.

? Paint the walls a rich, saturated hue you love.

? Fill shelves with your favorite books.

? Incorporate a special art piece, pottery or basket.

? Swap out the overhead light fixture for one you love.


Dining Room 5: designPOST Interiors, original photo on Houzz


Protect your refreshed space between meals. A big, blank dining table is an open invitation to deposit armloads of clutter. A freshly made table, on the other hand, acts like clutter repellant. If you’re not using your formal dining room for meals, the same principle holds true: Instead of setting the table for dinner, keep it neatly arranged with a few open coffee table books and a vase with freshly cut branches.


Dining Room 6: Larina Kase Interior Design, original photo on Houzz


Take action: To avoid re-cluttering your dining room, consider how you can “set” the table between meals.

? Keep a runner or tablecloth on the table.

? Place a vase of fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit in the center.

? Keep a tray stocked with cloth napkins, flatware and plates on the table.


Related: Organize Your Kitchenware With One of These Baker’s Racks