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A little extra TLC might make a dining room into a home's social hub.PBFloyd/iStockphoto

Dining rooms are the guest rooms of the main floor: seldom used and often neglected. I understand why we lavish more money and attention on kitchens and living rooms, but I can’t help but wonder if the dining room could become the social hub of the home with just a little extra TLC. Here are five must-haves to help you take back the dining room in 2020.

Comfortable chairs: Good seating is even more important than the table in my opinion. We’ve moved beyond formal dining sets so no, the chairs don’t have to match the table – in fact, they don’t even have to match each other. You’re asking family and friends to plant their derrières for hours, so look for wide, upholstered seats and no arms for maximum elbow room.

Hardworking sideboard: Closed storage is necessary for stashing your serving pieces, not to mention The Good China. The sideboard’s surface will act as a much-needed overflow area for buffet service, or for moving platters out of the way between first and second helpings. Between dinner parties or family meals, it’s a primo display space for decorative vignettes.

Showstopping chandelier: Go for drama with an oversized pendant that has “ooh and ahh” factor. Whether it’s dripping in crystals or has a modern, multitiered silhouette, this light fixture is the focal point and jewellery of the room – and don’t forget a dimmer to get the mood just right.

Patterned rug: Not only can a rug take your room from basic to beautiful, it also helps ground the table and chairs so they don’t look as if they’re floating in the middle. Be sure to pick a busy pattern to hide inevitable spills and stains, and choose a size that will avoid annoying snags when sitting down and getting up. A classic rule of thumb is for the rug to be two feet bigger than the edge of the table on all sides.

Large-scale art: It could be a painting, photograph or even framed fabric. I think a singular piece looks more elevated than a gallery wall, which is better suited to an entryway or family room. Hang your statement piece over the sideboard and flank it with sconces. Or, install the art on the wall opposite your sideboard to balance out the room.

Here’s to laughter and long, delicious dinners in your newly irresistible space!

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