Ask A Designer: How To Create A Sunny Dining Area

In this Ask A Designer column, Valérie Morisset shares her advice for sprucing up a tired dining area.

Question: I just bought a beautiful condo in Old Montreal. I’d like to have a dining area next to the window, a round table with four chairs and drapery panels instead of the blind. The previous owner had a television over the mantel, but I’d prefer a mirror for more modern Parisian style. Any suggestions?  Claudia, Montreal

Answer: You definitely have a great space to work with! To brighten up the room, start by painting your walls a soft, creamy white like Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White. Look for a tulip-shaped dining table with a black base.

(Source: Saarien Round Dining Table in Rosewood & Black, starting at $2,775,

For a bistro feel, surround it with four Hoffmann side chairs similar to the ones in the Inspiration room designed by Joel Bray (above).

(Source: Hoffmann Side Chair in Black, $530,

Your existing rug is very nice; try placing it parallel to the mantel. Consider installing a pendant fixture above the dining table to cast a warm glow. The Nolan pendant in vintage brass and dark bronze would add a contemporary touch.

(Source: Large Nolan Pendant by Arteriors Home, approx. $1,965,

And hanging a mirror in lieu of the television is a great idea. For a Parisian vibe, I suggest an oversized version with a polished brass frame. Have it hung so it rests on the mantel and looks like it’s leaning.

(Source: Todd Mirror in Polished Brass Metal, price available upon request,

French pinch-pleat panels in a gorgeous yellow silk would be an elegant upgrade from your current blind.

(Source: Ultrasuede Green Fabric in Canary, pricing available upon request,

Choose a black drapery rod with simple finials for a classic look.

(Source: Umbra Curtain Rod Set in Black Steel, $60,

As a final touch, set a clear vase on the table and fill it with seasonal branches.

(Source: Glass Bottle Vase, $60,

Enjoy your new dining area!

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to

Author: Valérie Morisset


Maxime Desbiens (Portrait); Valerie Wilcox (Inspiration)


House & Home May 2020


Joel Bray (Inspiration); Research by Natacha Nasset

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How To Style Luxe Chairs In Your Family Home

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Take a moment and look at the spaces in your home. Where do you spend the most time with your family?

Whether you’re lounging in the living room for a movie night or soaking up the sun in your own outdoor oasis, the perfect chair is the one piece that can tie any of these rooms together, and is definitely worth the splurge. A comfortable, luxe chair can easily transform any room while adding a touch of your own style. While you’re at home, you may consider reviving certain spaces to make the most of the extra family time you have and prepare these spaces for future get-togethers. offers high-quality, luxury furniture and accessories that you can shop from the comfort of your home.

We’ve curated four luxe chairs, each offering a distinct style to compliment your space. Browse through our curated looks, featuring chairs and complimentary pieces from, and be inspired by four beautifully unique spaces you can enjoy year-round with your loved ones.

Evere II Lounge Chair, Aanjar Coffee Table, Karaoli V Area Rug, Josie Floor Lamp.

If there’s one place we find ourselves each day, it’s certainly the living room. This space should be functional for your family without compromising effortless style. We’ve curated a luxe spot that has it all – this olive lounge chair is perfect for curling up with a good book, while the glam, circular table provides enough space for drinks, the latest coffee table books and family photos.

Tip: Try matching a colorful chair with complementary metal accents and dark, grounded pieces for a dramatic, yet personal space you’ll love to spend time in with your family.

Jendral Outdoor Accent Chair, Lagoon Floral Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug, Evening Retreat Lines Stool, Arnita Stainless Steel Tapered Lantern.

With summer quickly approaching, your outdoor space is about to become the hot spot for you and your loved ones to spend time together. Whether you have a balcony or poolside area, elevating your outdoor living will help you make the most of the warmer months. This classic chair gives you the option to play up a bold look or keep things neutral. Versatility and durability are great benefits to these chairs – use them for lounging or dining and without worry about wearing them out.

Tip: This rug is available in both a circular and rectangular shape, making it a great option no matter the layout of your space. Plus, neutral accents are perfect for optimal function and style!

Halma Dining Chair, Perrault Light Chandelier, Moccia Marble Dining Table, Avia Bar Cart.

Sitting down to enjoy a meal with your family is perhaps the most important part of the day – catch up with everyone, FaceTime friends and family, and enjoy a home cooked meal! Elevate the experience by adding striking items to the dining room that everyone will love. These chairs exude sleek comfort, so your family will want to stay to chat long after dessert is served. Plus, they offer the flexibility to stick with a subtle grey palette, or incorporate glam pieces thanks to the bronze legs.

Tip: If you want to keep big pieces neutral in this space, then go for a modern chandelier and statement bar cart to create an impact in the new hotspot in your home!

Nihei Accent Chair, Portree II Floor Lamp, Intervolve Decorative Cushion, Beacon Street Mirror.

This traditional accent chair is a timeless staple worth investing in for your home office, basement or library – offering a luxe look with optimal comfort. Enjoy time for yourself with a glass of wine and seamlessly transition into game night with the family in this effortlessly stylish room that is perfectly yours. Paired with neutral tones, your space will be the epitome of classy and cozy.

Tip: Subtle patterns on the throw pillows and mirror add texture and depth to the room, without straying too far from the traditional vibe you’ve created.

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House & Home

In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her ideas for making an awkward living-dining room more polished.

Jennifer KoperQuestion: The angled wall in my living room has me stumped, and I’m not sure what to put on my bare walls. Could you help me with furniture and lighting? T.M., Dawson Creek, B.C.

ask a designer awkward living-dining-room

Answer: You’re on the right track with your deep wall color, but the bare walls make the room fall a bit flat. A wonderful way to add architectural interest and texture to a space is to invest in built-in bookcases. Consider having shallow, wraparound built-ins made for both long living room walls, as well as the angled wall. Paint the bookcases the same dark hue and fill the shelves with books, art and decorative objets. Be sure to vary the “fullness” of each shelf to avoid a look that’s packed too tight. Treating all three walls the same way will also help disguise the awkward angle.

ask a designer living-dining room

Next, update your sofa with a contemporary charcoal-colored version with subtle texture. The tone-on-tone effect of the sofa, walls and bookcases will create a snug, cocooned feeling. Consider choosing a sofa that’s slightly less deep than your current one to gain back some of the space that will be taken up by the new bookcases.

ask a designer sofa

(Source: Kimberly Sofa in Midnight by Distinctly Home, $1,599,

I recommend swapping out your love seat for two luxurious club chairs in a channelled black leather.

ask a designer chair

(Source: Schuler Club Chair, $999,

Then, add a smoked glass coffee table for a modern touch; the glass, although tinted, will make the table feel lighter.

ask a designer coffee table

(Source: Verre Square Coffee Table in Grey, $599,

A round wooden accent table placed between the club chairs and a nubby wool rug underfoot will bring in a touch of warmth.

ask a designer rug side table

(Source: Trill Round Wood Side Table, $499,

ask a designer rug

(Source: Hand-Woven Chunky Woolen Cable Rug in Off-White by NuLoom, $444,

In your adjoining dining area, replace the exposed bulb fixture with a more streamlined shaded version that will cast a softer glow. Its classic style will also temper the more modern pieces in the living area.

ask a designer light fixture

(Source: Piaf 39 Inch 4 Light Chandelier by Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort, $1,467,

This mix of textures and styles will add plenty of interest to your space and give you a cozy but dynamic room, perfect for relaxing or entertaining.

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to

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Ask A Designer: How To Wake Up A Tired Dining Room

ask a designer dining room

In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her ideas for refreshing a dining room without changing the furniture.

Jennifer KoperQuestion: I’d like to pull my dining room together and give it some style, but I want to keep my furniture. Where do I start? — B.B., Montreal

ask a designer dining room before

Answer: The good news is that you can definitely make this room feel fresh and beautiful while keeping your existing dining set. Take inspiration from the lovely room designed by M+M Interior Design (below) — the hand-painted mural is the perfect backdrop for classic furniture.

ask a designer dining room after

Add a similar energy to your space by installing romantic wallpaper with a botanical motif. Then, paint the ceiling a watery blue — like Behr’s Flowing Breeze (N480 – 2) — to pick up on the tones in the wallpaper and give the room another subtle hit of color.

ask a designer dining room wallpaper

(Source: Peony Tree wallpaper in Aqua by Sarah Richardson Design, approx. $234.91 per roll,

Next, remove the vase of branches and chairs flanking the sideboard to give your table and chairs some breathing room. If you have a match for the white upholstered chair, consider using them at the ends of your table. Otherwise, invest in two new upholstered end chairs to break up the set and add an element of softness.

ask a designer dining room linen chair

(Source: Slipcovered Host Chair, price available upon request,

Update your lighting by installing a pair of classic brass lantern sconces and add sparkle by replacing your ceiling fixture with a traditional chandelier.

ask a designer dining room lantern

(Source: Camden lantern sconce in Natural Brass by Regina Andrew Lighting, $496,

ask a designer dining room chandelier

(Source: The Valentina chandelier by Feiss, $1,187,

Then, switch out your art above the sideboard for a tall mirror that will bounce light around and add brightness to the space.

ask a designer dining room mirror

(Source: Dauphine mirror in Antique Silver Leaf, price available upon request,

Finally, bring in texture and coziness with a basketweave-style sisal rug. Make sure it’s large enough so that the chairs fit onto it when they’re pulled out. A great way to get a custom-size rug is to start with your preferred dimensions of broadloom and have a band added around the edge.

ask a designer dining room basketweave rug

(Source: Basketweave rug in Pewter, price available upon request, available through Signature by Shelley Alexanian)

With these changes, your dining room will feel refreshed and polished.

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to

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