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Get your funk on when decorating your dining room

Is your dining room feeling more formal than fun? Perhaps, writes the host of Sarah 101, the second season of which launches on HGTV Canada on Tuesday, you need to re-evaluate the precious real estate occupied by a space that may not be living up to its full, family-friendly potential

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ADD A YOUTHFUL ENERGY Try painting the woodwork in a light, silvery tone, then turning colour theory upside down by going darker in the space above the plate rail. Expand the view by highlighting window frames and recessed door panels with black paint to pull the sightlines through the space.

Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail/stacey brandford The Globe and Mail

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INJECT SOME SPIRIT Instead of playing it safe and serious, go for energetic, lighthearted drapery fabric. Here, embroidered street scenes of line-drawn people have an urban graffiti-style edge that appeals to the younger set and is well suited to a room that’s supposed to encourage frivolity.

Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail/stacey brandford The Globe and Mail

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TAKE A BREAK FROM BROWN In this room, repainting wood chairs and a sideboard in glossy black injects tension into the space, provides a contrast to the light walls and table and ties in the painted details on the windows and doors. Crisp black and white always looks right!

Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail/stacey brandford The Globe and Mail

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BE PRACTICAL AND STYLISH If your mandate is family-friendly dining, try by introducing surfaces that will withstand the wear and tear of the under-5 set. To this end, a vintage laminate table with a simple Parsons design offers durable as well as authentic style at the bargain price of $250.

Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail/stacey brandford The Globe and Mail

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PLAY MULTIPLE CHOICE Instead of committing to a single colour for upholstery, try taking a multihued approach to your dining chairs. Upholstering a set of eight in four bold colours results in a snappy, mix and match look you’ll never tire of.

Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail/stacey brandford The Globe and Mail

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DON’T FORGET THE DETAILS Matching the hardware on furniture such as sideboards with the finish on lamps and light fixtures easily and cost-effectively. Instead of buying new pulls and knobs, the originals on this piece were replated for about $10 each.

Stacey Brandford for The Globe and Mail/stacey brandford The Globe and Mail

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