At GAFF we believe that dining is not just about the food. It is also about the atmosphere, the colours, lighting and furnishings. The places that we eat out at inspire us to want to create a better dining experience in our own homes. Aoife Rhattigan from Restless Design gives us some hints and tips on how to take this inspiration and bring it home so you can always be dinner party ready.
What places have you been too recently that have inspired you?
I live in Grand Canal Dock and my new local is Charlotte Quay. It’s very cool new restaurant by the Bereen brothers. Conor Bereen studied fine art in St. Martins; he was responsible for the interior vision for the restaurant. I love the fresh and original take they have for the space. They even created their own moulds for bespoke 3 dimensional concrete wall tiles which are really swoon worthy for me.
How important are the colours and lighting in a dining area?
Earthy tones are usually a popular choice for dining areas, they feel warm and calm. If we are scientific about it reds and oranges are supposed to be stimulating and increase the appetite.
We use Dulux a lot as they have great varied range. It is also a very accessible product so you know there will be no issues with procuring a particular colour.
What advice can you give us about making the best out of our dining area?
Choose the right size furniture for your room, be realistic about what you can accommodate. Consider the lighting carefully, nobody wants to sit in their own shadow when eating dinner. Have fun with your chairs, this is a great opportunity to bring some of your personality in to the dining area.
Can you tell us what the current trends are in kitchen and dining room design?
Black metals are a definitely a trend on the up. We are seeing a move away from stainless steel kitchen appliances. Harvey Norman has a selection of products in this colour range. Made offer have a very cool dining table with bench style seating. The base is black metal with timber tops. Bench style seating is not for everyone but it is definitely very edgy & urban.
Minimalism with a twist is also a trend I’m loving right now. It’s basically taking a very low key, understated interior and adding one quirky, controversial piece to give it a twist. This could be artwork, lighting or a cool chair.
Do you have any advice on layout and design if you had your dining area in the same room as your kitchen?
The same rules apply really, the size of your furniture is important and correct lighting is essential. Possibly move to bench seating for at least one side of your dining table if space is tight. This will keep your furniture orientated to the wall and out of the way as much as possible. It’s always nice to have a window seat; this could be your bench seat. See below a window bench seat we installed in a recently completed project in the Armada Hotel in County Clare.
In your opinion what would make the ultimate dining experience for a dinner party?
The ultimate dining experience really is good company and great food, than come your interiors as the backdrop to all of that. When decorating your table it’s nice to think outside the box a little. Zara Home is great for tableware accessories. Next and Bo Concept are also favorites of mine to shop in.
What are your top tips and must haves for dining table décor at Christmas?
Nice glasses & jugs always lift a table setting and have fun playful napkins. Top table décor at Christmas has to include Christmas crackers. It’s not Christmas unless you’re wearing terrible paper crowns & reading each other awful Christmas cracker jokes. The last few years I have picked up some great decorations from Dunnes Stores. The Paul Costello Living Collection is lovely if you prefer a more sophisticated aesthetic. The Carolynn Donnelly Eclectic Collection in Dunnes Stores is great for the more quirky individuals.
So you don’t have to be a good cook to have a great dinner party (phew).
Massive thank you to Aoife Rhattigan who is the Creative Director of design house Restless Design, which works to create inspired interiors for businesses, for all of her advice. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for gorgeous pics and interior inspiration.