By Ruthie Sommers

Published on February 27, 2016

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PROBLEM: A boring rectangular dining room with windows on one side.

SOLUTION: Designer and mistress of reinvention Ruthie Sommers finds ingenious ways to maximize what you’ve got.

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Photography by RUTHIE SOMMERS

IF YOU’RE A SERIOUS COOK

A wide 3′ x 7′ table means there’s room for two generous wing chairs to anchor each end; a set of six side chairs fits neatly along the length. A pair of demi-lune accent tables topped with mirrors provides depth and a calming symmetry that’s pleasingly offset by a potted topiary tree in the corner. 

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

IF YOU’RE A SERIOUS COOK, cont’d

This formal yet comfortable arrangement practically demands long, leisurely meals that linger well past dessert. (See more of this home here.)

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Photography by RUTHIE SOMMERS

IF YOU’RE A PARTY THROWER

The pair of 42″ round drop-leaf tables allows two small groups to sit facing each other. A mirrored chest and a large buffet store linens and tableware; during meals, they hold food and drink, or can be laid with platters so guests can self-serve. When you’re not entertaining, fold one table in half and move it against the wall, to avoid the feel of an underpopulated restaurant.

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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

IF YOU’RE A PARTY THROWER, cont’d

Round tables facilitate conversation—and lively dinner parties. (Plus, they make it easy to squeeze in extra guests.) (See more of this home here.) 

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Photography by RUTHIE SOMMERS

IF YOU’RE A QUIET TYPE

Bracketed by a dining-height banquette and a comfy seat, a 3′ oval pedestal table creates an eating spot for four—or five when the stool is pulled alongside. Across the room, a narrow 4 1/2′ library table flanked by armchairs is a serene reading area that can be used for dining when friends stop by. 

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Photography by WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ

IF YOU’RE A QUIET TYPE, cont’d

If you find yourself not using your dining room that often, try rethinking its function. This scheme is great for casual dinners and lazy weekends over coffee and the paper. (See more of this home here.)