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Here are some simple ways that you can make the dining room more elegant and functional

Here are some simple ways to make the dining room more elegant and functionalThe kitchen may be the heart of a home, but when it comes to entertaining, a dining room — if one is present in a house — tends to be the prime gathering spot for meals.

Dining rooms may not be top on the list of spaces to renovate, as they tend to be used infrequently. But a dining room makeover may still be a worthy endeavor. Here are some simple ways to make the dining room more elegant and functional.

Clear out the clutter

The first step toward improving a dining room eating area is removing extraneous items from the space. If the dining room table is not used very often, it likely has become a catch-all for other things, such as bills, newspapers, or kids' homework. Rather than using the dining space as a makeshift office or homework station, invest in a rolling cart to store those papers and other items. Simply roll it into a closet or another room when it's time to host a party.

Hang a statement light

Few decorative items add as much drama and ambiance to a dining space as a new overhead light. People hear "chandelier" and think of a bejeweled or crystal design. But various chandelier styles can fit the aesthetic of a home. The light will be a focal point and instantly make the dining area more elegant. Install the light on a dimmer to adjust the illumination to set the mood.

Invest in new linens

Purchase coordinating table linens that will be used for special occasions. A decorative tablecloth or table runner coupled with cloth napkins and placemats helps to set the scene for the dinner party.

Add a piece of artwork

Many modern homeowners have eschewed the China cabinet that once was standard in dining rooms. Rather than a bulky piece of furniture, a large piece of statement-making artwork or framed photos over a more minimalistic buffet table or small service bar is preferable. Choose artwork that complements the colors in the space.

Include a centerpiece

Centerpieces add sophistication to the table and tie into the event. Floral arrangements, a bowl or basket of fruit, pine cones or greens from outdoors, or collectibles like shells in a tall canister can serve as centerpieces.

There are many simple ways to dress up dining spaces and make them more elegant.

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