The Idealist

Get The Look: Relaxed dining for winter suppers

As the days grow shorter and gloom descends, gathering for a meal at the end of the day, whether with family or friends, becomes a source of comfort and warmth. Make sure your dining area is ready to provide the cosy for hearty winter suppers to linger over.

Tables & Chairs

If you have the space, start with a really great table, sturdy and substantial enough to accommodate family service (where plates of food are left on the table for everyone to take as much as they like).

This refectory style table in oak seats up to 12 with an extension and works well with mid century modern, Scandanavian and contemporary interiors. £995 Pair it with a matching bench on one side and champagne-coloured upholstered chairs on the other for a more intimate and relaxed take on dinner seating. £350 / £315

For a rustic bistro look, start with this oak and whitewash farm table. £1235

Your guests, especially the younger ones, will enjoy settling into a cushy settee for supper. It’s more laid back than individual dining chairs and can add considerable charm as well.

We love this Tetrad Harris tweed settee with button details. £1599 For a bolder statement, use this saffron two-seater on one side, and a few comfy velvet dining chairs in contrasting colours on the other. £450 / £95

Tableware

Set your winter supper table with dishes that are casual, sturdy and colourful. This faience Citron earthenware series from Maisons du monde will add a sunny hit to the dinner service. £50

For something a bit more earthy and dramatic, consider this dark graphite stoneware series from Portugal – off set with gold, copper or bronze flatware and accessories for maximum gleam. £95

Accessories in organic materials can also add to the textural and atmospheric warmth of your table. We’re thinking punctuating items such as this solid teak hand hewn bowl, for example, or several of these hand glazed serving platters. £95 / £30

Turn on the Heat

In a dining room, decorative elements that utilize light, reflection and heat will go a long way to establishing a cosy ambiance. A fireplace would be nice – but realistically, few of us have one in our home, never mind dining room. This freestanding Imagin bioethanol fireplace could change all that. Amazingly, it’s portable and requires no complicated ducts or flues. £430

You can get that same soothing effect of dancing flames by carefully choosing light fixtures and decorative elements that amplify and refract light. We love these black and yellow pendant lights hung in a series over the dinner table. They’re contemporary yet cast an old fashioned glow. £95

Add Accessories

This wall installation does something similar while providing a talking point and casting a soft pink glow (the most flattering kind for the human face) over your guests. Great in rooms with a pale colour scheme, we see it hanging over a sturdy sideboard, such as this quietly stunning chalky grey piece from Loaf. £93/ £825

Mirrors are also a wonderful way to spread warmth and light over the proceedings. Especially when combined with candlelight. This sunburst mirror would look great in a dining room with its convex glass and antiqued gold rays. £161

Cooking hearty meals to share with family and friends is a great strategy for making it through the dark and slushy days and nights of winter with a warm feeling inside. You don’t need a dedicated dining room for relaxed winter suppers – whatever you’re working with can be dressed up with ambient light sources, cosy materials and and a eye on comfort.

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All photos courtesy of respective brands.

  • Joan is an interior design project planner and freelance writer from Boston Massachusetts who lives with her husband and two bulldog terriers outside Wellfleet on Cape Cod.

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