Idea House Dining Room by Margaret Kirkland
Inside Atlanta-based designer Margaret Kirkland's lively-yet-traditional take on one of the most cherished rooms in Southern households.
Welcome to the 50th Anniversary Southern Living Idea House's Dining Room by designer Margaret Kirkland. Now, the room's title may be a mouthful, but it's a fitting name for a room with no shortage of pattern, details, and decorating ideas! "Monochromatic rooms bore me," says Kirkland. So she decorated the dining area with deep corals and bright blues, mixing patterns, pallettes, and textures to create a room buzzing with life. After working for over fifteen years in the industry and completing projects everywhere from New York to Chicago, Kirkland designed our dining room combining timeless pieces with fresh details. Look inside to see how Kirkland puts a uniquely modern spin on some of our favorite classic dining elements.
Classic and Modern
Large abstract paintings by Sally King Benedict balance the ornate French bronze and crystal chandelier, which adds big sparkle to the room. Our favorite touch? The antique platter that hangs above the dining room's entryway, drawing attention up and opening the space.
Formal and Fun
Kirkland lightened the formal mahogany table with playful coral and bright green linens from Julia B. Couture Linens. Layers of salad plates, dinner plates, and chargers make the room dinner-party ready.
This lively bouquet of white roses gives the dining room a fresh garden feel. To hold the flowers, Kirkland uses a classic antique English porcelain tureen that doubles as a vase for certain occasions!
Stunning Place Settings
Mix colorful patterns for place settings that look both elaborate and playful at the same time. We love the green - it pulls in the fresh floral centerpieces. The coral deliberately highlights the room's decorating scheme.
Kirkland chose two different coral fabrics from Cowtan & Tout for added detail. She placed a heavier velvet on the seat for extra durability, and a more delicate, embroidered linen for the chairback.
An intricate, vivd embroidered detail in the perfect shade of blue pops against coral linen on the chair backs.
Sideboard - Not Necessary
Two antique demilune consoles separate floor-to-ceiling-windows and work as serving buffets during parties. Accessorized with lamps and objets, they also look more decorative than purely functional.
Incorporate the Unexpected
This wooden tromp-l'oeil skirted table by Bunny Williams Home adds extra whimsy to the dining room, and gives guests a perfect spot to rest their before-dinner cocktails.
Customized banquettes by Ballard Designs provide comfortable and luxurious seating for predinner drinks. They can also be incorporated as table seating. Guests will never guess that they also double as functional storage spaces.
After finding inspiration in a vintage Southern Living magazine from March of 1989, Kirkland fell in love with the idea of lush statement drapery. She designed pagoda-shaped window valances covered with the floral Cowtan & Tout fabric that matches the curtains hanging below. A deep coral trim on the valance and curtains outlines everything.
Shutters as Doors
The louvered french door detail holds its own against a backdrop of texture, and adds a breeziness to the room's decor.
Three Dimensional Wall Coverings
Kirkland balanced the elegant white embroidered wallpaper above the chair rail with a bolder, latticed fabric below. The dimension adds a real "outdoor quality" to the room, says Kirkland.
Sally King Benedict's abstract portraits add a freshness to the traditional room, keeping it fresh and bold. Her pallette pulls together colors from the entire room.
Trees as Sculpture
This canvas palm tree from Amanda Lindroth Designs pops against a busy wall, and makes the room feel like a little beachy.